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“An unfortunate disappointment”

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Africa's Zoo Lodge Backpackers
Lilongwe, Malawi
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“An unfortunate disappointment”
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Myself and my partner stayed here at the end of 2011 for about a week and we were quite disappointed. I had booked the accommodation from the UK online and unfortunately didn't think to read any reviews on the place before booking. When I did read them before we went there I was sorry to find that there were quite a few bad ones regarding the manager drinking and uncleanliness of the place.

I was sorry again to find that this was much the same when we stayed. Upon arrival we were greeted well enough, given any information needed and chatted to the manager/owner for a bit which was nice. The room however was not great, we had booked a double room but were given a twin of which the bedding did not seem very clean at all. We were then moved into a double room on the second or third night where we should have been initially which was much the same. The bed was not comfortable and the room not very clean at all. Bathroom was not great either.

One night when we got home later on in the evening there was a huge party going on at the bar on the premises. The management staff were all very drunk which was disgraceful, and the music so loud that we couldn't get to sleep and went on into the early hours in the morning.

When we decided to extend our stay in Joburg we chose to book to stay at another local backpackers down the road as we couldn't bear the thought of staying here any longer.

I would not recommend this place to anyone to stay at and certainly would not stay here again.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank FroiseCAmy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2013

Dear Fellow Travellers
Please take this seriously!!!
We are currently trying to get the R7000 we paid for this accommodation. We had paid for 12 days in total for 5 people. On arrival, the beds weren’t made, there was no electricity, the house was extremely filthy. About 8 drunk men in the premises(friends of the owner).We did nt stay there and we feared for our health and safety. The owner avoided us when we called him on several occasions and we paid an announced visit eventually. He is a large, very racist and aggressive Afrikaans man who pushed us off his premises and wanted to crush my phone when i tried to take pictures of the place- and refused blatantly to refund us. Needless to say he has received the sum of R7000 free of charge. Please please please do not book this accommodation.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tumi26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Johannesburg hotels

Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2011

While the location is pretty nice for Johannesburg (within walking distance of the mall, Gautrain station, and bus), the backpackers itself is pretty dismal. There was no heat and the windows didn't close all the way, leading to nights sleeping under 5 duvets and still freezing! The rooms and bathrooms weren't filthy, but I wouldn't call them clean either. Kitchen was a mess, and I always felt very nervous using the crockery and utensils. The owner was constantly drunk and screaming, acting like a disgusting idiot. I was incredibly turned off the my number of long-term residents, mostly local men working in construction and the like, that were living in the hostel. As a young female travelling alone, I was made to feel very uncomfortable and occasionally feared for my safety

Room Tip: Spurge on the double rooms. It is the same price as a lot of dorms accommodation in CPT.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank knrose29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2010

I've booked and paid a deposit with my credit card in order to stay at Africa's Zoo Lodge Backpackers in June 2010. That was months ago now. However, it was a mistake and I lost the deposit. That's all fine and part of the conditions.

But so is this: "In the event of a no show, your card will be charged for the first nights accommodation total"

Therefore I have on six separate occasions now, no less, (I know, d'oh...six times? Do you think they are going to reply the fith or sixth time? ;) cancelled the booking and asked for a confirmation. Which I haven't received. In fact they haven't even bothered to reply. Event though I've emailed both them and even their webmaster.

I know, if they do charge for the first day, I can complain to VISA and get the money back. But still, it'll be a hassle.

So I guess, judging from my experience, I would say be sure you want to stay there before you book.

Stayed February 2010, traveled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank Finndk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zoo L, Owner at Africa's Zoo Lodge Backpackers, responded to this review, October 15, 2013
Well Finndk, Do you know what rip off means. Please detail exactly what was ripped off.( IN YOUR CASE NOTHING.) I find your review the kind of knee jerk reaction that a little spoilt child will make when he does not get his way.

Firstly, you never booked directly with the lodge but with Hostelworld. You paid Hostelworld a deposit which is their 10% commission for facilitating the booking. You have neither paid Africa's Zoo Lodge Backpackers nor directly made the booking with the lodge. You cancelled with Hostelworld and they sent you a cancellation notice confirming the cancellation of your booking. End of story

But, you are obviously very insecure and very tight fisted because you then read a condition from Hostelworld: - "In the event of a no show, your card will be charged for the first nights accommodation total"
You were sent a mail detailing that you cancelled the booking with hostelworld, but still kept sending e-mails.

Your review is totally worthless and just the ramblings of a spoilt little child throwing a tantrum for the following reasons.

1) You have never stayed or even been to at Africa's Zoo Lodge Backpackers. (How can you comment on location, Service, Value, Cleanliness, Sleep quality or our rooms???)

2) You have never seen the lodge inside or out or our gardens. (How can you comment on Swimming Pool or our fitness centre?)

You would have had to give us the lowest rating for all the above mentioned categories to get a review total that you gave the lodge.

You are nothing but a vindictive spoilt brat. I will be getting in contact with your mother to wash your mouth out and give you a good spanking.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wimbeldon
1 review
Reviewed June 2, 2009

Thank you Tim Derek and Mike for a wonderful stay at your Lodge. The Kruger walking Safari and the Delta and Vic Falls where awesome. Friday night Braai (BBQ) where the best. I found Zoo Lodge to be very centrally located with taxis and bus routes avaiable on the road outside the lodge. Thanks again and keep it up.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Mr_D_Wimbeldon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2008

Unfortunately we incurred constant problems staying at this hostel. To summarise the following happened

- We constantly waiting for the manager to give us details off our tour after arranging a time to meet him but he failed to turn up. On one instance after 1.15 hour of waiting we went to find him and found him getting drunk in the bar

- We arranged for the hostel to book us a safari tour weeks prior to our arrival. After being picked up by our tour guide we realised we were on a different tour than requested. We couldn't understand how this happened as we booked the tour weeks in advance, paid a deposit and even had to change our flights to accommodate the availability on the tour. Our tour guide informed us that we had been booked on the tour at 9pm the night before departure. We were really angry, as no one had told us of the change and this wasn't the tour we wanted to do. The hostel informed us after we returned back from the tour that it was the tour operator fault not theirs but what upset was that someone should of told us of the change as they knew it was a different tour when they told us our pick up time. We also couldn't understand why we lost our places when we had paid a 50% deposit to our hostel 2 weeks prior to our arrival.

- We booked a taxi to the airport on our last day with the hostel. The hostel failed to book a taxi so we were left waiting for 40 mins while they tried to sort out alternative transport.

-We found it very difficult to get information about the area or find the staff to even let us out of the building as there was no way of getting their attention e.g a bell.

- We found our room quite basic but the pool and garden area were nice

These issues made our stay quite stressful, although we really enjoyed our tour our first day was spoilt trying to sort out what was going on.

  • Liked — Leaving
  • Disliked — Staff
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank CheeseNoodle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
1 review
Reviewed May 28, 2007

After staying at Zoo Lodge in November 2005 and returning this year in March, the improvements at this backpacker are awesome!

Inside its tidy and clean and there is new bed linen in all the rooms including the dorms. The new manager is friendly, enthusiaistic and helpful and there's also a new stove, a new washing machine, a new microwave, satelitte TV has been installed and the new gym is just brilliant!

Security has also been upgraded and even though this was not a poblem before, one feels safe and one's belongings are secure.

I was also reminded how central and convenient Zoo Lodge is. Its close to all the major routes and highways and getting around is quick and easy. Public transport and mini bus taxis pass the lodge on a regular basis and there is also sufficient parking on the property if you're driving.

The suburb of Rosebank is a 10 minute walk and it offers everything you may need - inexpensive restuarants, cinemas, cafe's, pubs, a major supermaket, several banks, pharmacies and travel agents. An underground station is currently being built, so getting to and from the airport will also be a breeze in the near future.

Dont miss the Fiday night braai (barbeque) either! Ostrich, prawns, chicken, steak, boerewors, garlic bread, fresh salads and its free!

I look forward to staying at Zoo Lodge again and would recommend it to anyone visiting or passing through Johannesburg.

  • Liked — Staff and convenience.
  • Disliked — Friday barbeque was oly on Fridays
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank robthesafa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Africa's Zoo Lodge Backpackers

Property: Africa's Zoo Lodge Backpackers
Address: 233a Jan Smuts Avenue | Parktown North, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Johannesburg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #38 of 115 Specialty Lodging in Johannesburg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Zoo Lodge is the safest, friendliest backpacker in Jo'burg. We offer clean, comfortable accommodation for the budget traveler. We are located in the lush Northern Suburbs, 7km from the city centre and one of the safest suburbs in Jo'burg. The bus and train stations are only ten minutes away by car for those wishing to travel on. Jan Smuts Avenue is the main transport route running north-south through Jo'burg with buses that stop on our doorstep. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Africa`s Zoo Lodge Backpackers & Guesthouse Hotel Johannesburg
Africa`s Zoo Lodge Backpackers And Guesthouse

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