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“A haven in heaven”

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Amapondo Backpackers Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 9, 2013

Firstly, Port St. Johns. If you're looking for the most beautiful landscape in South Africa then look no further. Port St. Johns is picturesque with its rolling hills, thick vegetation and spectacular views of the Mzimvubu river winding itself into the Indian Ocean. Not to mention the hustling town, ever present wildlife and genuinely friendly locals.

Amapondo. Nestled afoot the hills with nothing but beauty surrounding it, makes for a perfect setting - a stones throw from the beach. Amapondo is a place of tranquility with regular activities provided such as hikes, meditation sessions, sundowners, et cetera. Let the sun set and tranquility may just turn into debauchery with a DJ here and vodka shot there. They have it all.

A backpackers can only be as good as the staff running it and herein lies the secret. The ever helpful staff create the atmosphere that will leave you with Pondo fever and the desire to return.

Great filter coffee, fresh fruit smoothies and an inspired kitchen put the cherry on top.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Brett S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amapondo, Owner at Amapondo Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 15, 2013

I didn't realize you had your honeymoon here at Amapondo! Wow, what a great place to share this experience. If anyone else would like to have their honeymoon here, we would love to book you into one of our self-contained Cottages up on the hill. Turtle Cove is a double story cottage that sleeps four, and boasts an awesome view, has a bath tub that extends out into the forest, and a beautiful balcony with braai (BBQ) facilities. Crystal Cottage also sleeps four, and is uniquely shaped like a Crystal, being hexagonal in design, with a huge glass front sliding doors that open it right up into nature. And both Shakti and Shiva, two identical cottages, are ideal for couples, both lovely and convenient in design. We would also love to host weddings. My wife and I got married on the beach and had such a wonderful experience. We can even incorporate some of the local traditional Pondo and Xhosa culture, music and tradition.

I am glad you enjoyed our activities. In addition to The Gap, the Blowhole, Bululo waterfall, and 3rd Beach, we also offer hikes to Silaka Nature Reserve, up to Mthumbane Village for a Traditional Pondo meal with a local family, treks up to to the top of Mount Sullivan , mountain biking trips, horse trails, canoe trips down the Ntafufu River, and Sundowners up to Mount Thesiger. And for the more adventurous, we also offer 2 to 4 day trips to Magwa Falls, Angel Falls, and Waterfall Bluff where you can stay in a local village and enjoy the serenity and magic of the real WILD AFRICA.

Hope to see you here again soon.

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154 - 160 of 213 reviews

Reviewed January 8, 2013

It was my second time visiting Amapondo after spending honeymoon there in 2011. My first visit was amazing and I knew it would be difficult to top it the second time round. Amapondo did not disappoint one bit. There are too many activities to fit into a one week visit, which makes it a worth while for going a second time or just stay longer. Highlights are The Gap and Blow-holes, The waterfalls, 3rd Beach and The wild-coast hiking trail to Coffee bay.

We made a lot of friends and memories.

I would recommend Amopondo to ANYONE. Any age, background, financial status etc.

The Transkei and Amapondo just takes you back to the simple things in life. Exactly what you need when on holiday.

Amapondo will definitely see me again and again and again

  • Stayed: December 2012
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Thank JohnnyLak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amapondo, Owner at Amapondo Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 15, 2013

Thanks for the wonderful review. Its great to hear all the positive things you said about Port St Johns, which is such an interesting little town. Port St. Johns boasts some of the most beautiful natural scenary in the country, and I just love the entrance road that lies along the Great Mzimvubu River that flows through the spectacular gorge known as the "Gates of St Johns" into the River Mouth. These "Gates of Port St Johns" are formed by two impressively high sandstone mountain peaks that lie on either side of the beautiful Mzimvubu River. Did you know that as Leonardo DiCaprio lay dying in the last scene of the film Blood Diamond, he wasn't actually in Sierra Leone. He was actually lying on a rock on top of Mount Thesiger, the Sandstone peak on the right hand side of the river as you drive in. At Amapondo we offer Sundowner trips up to the old landing strip on top of the mountain where we love to take photos of our guests lying on that very same rock!

Port St Johns has a fascinating history too. It was established in the 1880s by the British after negotiations with local Pondo chiefs for the rights to use the river banks and the surrounding area. The river mouth was used as a port for many years until the 1940's when silt deposits built up causing the river to become too shallow for vessels.

Port St. Johns is known as the centre of tourism on the Wild Coast, and is fondly called the "Jewel of the Wildcoast". We love to show off all this beautiful nature, the lovely beaches, and all the interesting wildlife. Just this morning I had monkeys playing all around my bedroom.

Life at Amapondo is certainly an adventure, and after this busy season I am extremely proud of all our wonderful staff that made everyone so comfortable, cooked such yummy food, made delicious coffees, smoothies and milkshakes, arranged such good activities, entertained and interacted with our guests.

We hope to see you again not too distant in the future.

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Reviewed January 4, 2013

The place itself could be a lot better, but several things definitely need a makeover, i.e. the bathrooms, the dorms, the hammocks and especially the kitchen (which was a mess). It's just a normal process that after a few years you have to replace certain things. To be fair, it's not entirely the staff's fault, because the guests don't tidy up their stuff all the time.
However, the hostel itself has a good vibe, a nice bar/common area and is located just two min from a wonderful beach. With a few renovations the place could be a 5 star backpackers.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank EyelessView
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amapondo, Owner at Amapondo Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2013

Thanks for your honest review and also the great points you made about the vibe here at Amapondo. My wife and I have recently bought Amapondo (4 months ago), and we are aware of all the maintenance issues. We have already tackled a lot of these and made some improvements, but I know that there is a lot still to be done. We are working hard and spending lots of money to fix the place up, and special attention is being focused on our bathrooms, the dorms, the hammocks, the backpacker communal kitchen, as well as painting here and there, our parking area, and lots lots more. We even plan to put in a swimming pool this year and turn Amapondo into the 5-star Backpackers you allure to.

I am so grateful for our wonderful staff and managers who have been such a great support throughout this busy season. I am also impressed with the great guests that brought, and continue to bring such positive energy here, and help to create the amazing vibe that Amapondo is known for.

Thanks once again for your review and positive criticism. Amapondo is striving onward and upward and I am sure that when you return, you will be very pleasantly surprised.

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Reviewed December 31, 2012 via mobile

Highly recommend ensuite cabin at the back if you are a family/want a quieter stay, gorgeous views from there too.
Bar food fresh and very good, welcoming stafff, very hang-outable.
We'll stay again if passing that way.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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1  Thank ZolaPola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

The staff is really friendly and help you with every problem you have.you have a stunning view from the bar and they offer really good activities. Its just a few minutes walk to the beach and to bars and restaurants. I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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Thank kristinkatharina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AmapondoBackpackers, Owner at Amapondo Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded October 7, 2012

Thanks for coming and we hope to see you again in the near future...

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Reviewed September 19, 2012

We were a group of 6 that stayed at Amapondo for 2 nights. And we enjoyed it so much. It was very peaceful and a great environment to relax.

It was the start of our holiday before we did the 5 day hike to Coffeebay.

The staff was very friendly and showed us some of the local attractions. The dog(Nandi) was our guide to the waterfall.

Relaxing in the Hammock while reading a book, while overlooking 2nd peace felt like a peace of heaven.

There are also plenty of kitchen utilities. We made food the one night.

I will recommend it to other travelers.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Corne v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2012

Absolutely brilliant spot! Outstanding natural beauty combined with a friendly and warm welcome makes for a near perfect backpacking experience. This place is perfect for a few days of total chillout. Went for a night and ended staying for 3! Maybe not the cleanliest of places, but if you manage to put that aside, there's nothing to keep you from enjoying the atmosphere and recharging your batteries.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Pekka T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AmapondoBackpackers, Owner at Amapondo Backpackers Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded September 19, 2012

Hi, thanks for your comments and I am glad you had a good time here. You mentioned that Amapondo may not have been that clean whilst you were here. I have recently bought the business and it did go through a period where there was a lack of care for finer details. This resulted from a change of ownership and staff etc. However, as the new owner, I can assure you that my wife and I are striving to improve the business and bring it back to life. After only a month here we have had a lot of comments about how great (and clean) the place is looking. And whats more - the atmosphere still carries that special Amapondo Vibe. You are very welcome to come back and have another blast here with us....

Neil

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Additional Information about Amapondo Backpackers Lodge

Address: Second Beach Road | Wildcoast, Port St Johns 5120, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Port St Johns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Port St Johns
Price Range: $10 - $45 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Amapondo Backpackers Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amapondo is Ama-azing. Amapondo is nestled on a hill on the verge of a tropical rain forest and only 2 minutes walk from a beautiful beach. Head down to sunbathe or plunge in the clear warm waters of the deep rock pools nearby. The African-themed rooms and deluxe private self-catering cottages all have their own unique design and style. The quirkily designed cottages have incredible views, are really comfortable and come at a price that you'll find hard to match. Turtle Cove has one of the best views on the Wild Coast from its upstairs bubble bath, whilst Crystal House, with its glass frontage, offers classic panoramic ocean views. Whether you want a quiet, relaxing break in your own piece of paradise, a base from which you can explore the natural beauty of the area, an adventure on one of their many tours, close interactions with locals, genuine cultural experiences, yoga lessons, a deep tissue massage, or a thumping all-out party at their buzzy bar, you'll find it at Amapondo. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amapondo Hotel Port St Johns

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