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“Great setting, even better hosts” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Karma Backpackers

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Karma Backpackers
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great setting, even better hosts”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 5, 2013

Lucio is an absolute delight of a host. I arrived at 2am unannounced after getting a much later start from Port Elizabeth than I had intended - but ringing the doorbell, Lucio was delighted to let me in and spent an hour the next morning telling me where to go, what to do, etc. with the rest of my day. Great guy. Plus they make some very inexpensive and inventively-mixed jams and preserves that are definitely worth the purchase. Good for backpackers looking for hostel accommodations as well as private rooms.

The hostel itself is quite spacious and has a very lovely garden. A little difficult to find if you don't know where you're going or if its dark, so look at a map beforehand. I'd imagine most who stay at Karma are there mainly to do the Ampitheatre hike (this is the nearest hostel, the hike itself starts exactly an hour's drive away), but worth the detour if you're passing through the area as well.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jack K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KarmaBackpackers, Owner at Karma Backpackers, responded to this review, June 7, 2013
Thank you for your kind words we always appreciate it when visitors enjoy our backpackers.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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99 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Nederland
Level Contributor
43 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2013

It is such a lovely place to stay! The rooms are big, the shared bathroom is clean. It has a spacious living room and a big kitchen with all the kitchen tools you could wish for. The fridge is filled with really yummy home made jam that has won several prizes!

Vera Ann and Lucio make you feel like being home. They are very knowledgeable and helped us getting to the starting point of our hike through the Drakensberg and even picked us up all the way south. Amazing! We got delayed at the Lesotho border post because our entry stamp was lacking, it took us longer and we were late, which luckily turned out to be no problem.
It all sounds so easy, but getting to the starting point is not that easy: the last few kilometers to the Sentinel car park is a unpaved road in a quite bad condition, but we received an e-mail beforehand that their Land Rover would 'fearlessly take us all the way to the car park'. And it did! :)

It felt like being home. The last morning we left early and although we had settled everything the night before, they were there to say goodbye.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank fjorden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KarmaBackpackers, Owner at Karma Backpackers, responded to this review, June 7, 2013
It was a pleasure helping you start your great trek, and fetching you at the end and seeing photos and hearing all about your trip walking the grand traverse.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2013

Karma Backpacers truly is a lovely place to stay and good for your Karma. Rooms are fresh and clean, the kitchen and living room are cozy and homey, the garden is beautiful and the location is convenient for trips to Phuthaditjhaba, Northern Drakensbergen and Lesotho or as a stop-over if you are headed to Johannesburg. Lucio is very welcoming and helpfull and his home-made jams are excellent!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank wesleyvisser85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 17, 2013

This backpackers was wonderful, the owner, Vera, makes the best bread and marmalade, and you can have it for breakfast. All the people there are very caring and friendly, she helped us with all we needed including internet and tips for hikes. It was such an amazing stay. We also had a double room and it was HUGE, great to have some space once in a while:) Overall, it was one of the Top 3 places Ive been to while having been in SA for 4 months- just wonderful!

Room Tip: Double rooms are very big, a recommendation.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Karina_Erh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2013

I stayed at Karma Backpackers a month ago but as I travel around Africa, I think of how wonderful it was here, so I want to write a review. 

Vera Ann wax so incredibly welcoming, friendly and helpful. I was hiking to the Amphitheater the next day and she gave me so much helpful advice, including maps and timing. If you want to do this hike, this is the closest backpackers by about 1.5 hours (despite the name of Amphitheater Backpackers). The entrance to the Amphitheater hike is not through Royal Natal National Park.  Vera Ann will be able go explain this to you. 

The backpackers is really clean and comfortable, it feels like you are staying in the someone's house. The fridge is full of really yummy homemade jam and there is fresh bread baked everyday. I honestly couldn't ask for any more! To top it off, Vera woke up at 5am to bid me farewell, despite me having already paid my bills. 

This place is a gem and if I am in the area, I will definitely be back!!!

Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank Returnt0sender
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Munich, Germany
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 13, 2013

Warm welcome, nice rooms, good kitchen for self cooking, VERY friendly hosts, AMAZING breakfast (home made bread, muffins and jams). All in all, it was very easy to feel at home and relax and an excellent point from which to reach the Drakensbergen for some wonderful hiking.

VA, thanks for a nice stay!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Pieter d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wijchen, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2013

Karma felt like being back home during our 4 weeks road trip trough SA. The hostel has a lovely vegetable garden from which you can take whatever you want! The kitchen always has a smell of fresh backed muffins in the morning and of course Vera Anns' lovely jams during the day. The Sentinal Peak hike is just a short hour drive away and really worth wile doing. the Lesotho trip only costs 350ZAR pp. and the experience and scenery you get for that price is amazing. Vera Ann gave us very good advice about the region and options we had. We will definitely recommend this place to all the people which plan to visit the Drakensberg.

Pieter en Inge

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Ingeborg T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Karma Backpackers

Property: Karma Backpackers
Address: 2 Piet Retief Street, Kestell 9860, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Free State > Kestell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Kestell
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A charming Backpacker Lodge in the small village of Kestell, with very friendly hosts. We are the closest backpackers to the famous Amphitheatre/Tugela Falls hike, with Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the tourist town of Clarens and San rock paintings also within easy driving distance. Additionally, this is an ideal base from which to explore Lesotho. Award-winning homemade jams, yoghurts & other goodies are for sale. We offer accommodation in large double rooms & in dorms for up to 17 people. Our kitchen is fully equipped for self-catering, and a light breakfast is an optional extra. Country-style restaurant & pub nearby. We have a lovely outdoor barbeque area and a coffee-gazebo. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Karma Backpackers South Africa/Kestell, Free State

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