Karoo Backpakers

Reviewing backpackers can provide for interesting reading material. A few around Cape Town surely are of an alternative kind, offering all sorts of extras guests never thought were part of the bargain. I have seen a few things elsewhere as well, as far afield as an island in the Pacific. Backpackers always impressed for every wrong reason imaginable.  I mentioned this to many people and, in so doing, was challenged to review Karoo Backpackers in Beaufort West.

Reluctantly, I accepted and left my lovely stay at Steenbokkie Private Game Reserve which is situated about 8km (five miles) outside of Beaufort West. Steenbokkie made such an impression on me that I am starting a blog for them, as a few blog posts simply would not suffice in conveying what we have found there. I am also going to return to Steenbokkie to refine my impressions, get a second opinion from myself for the reader.

But we are at Karoo Backpackers now, which is where we arrived on Saturday afternoon, November 26, 2016. We were greeted by the youthful, ever-smiling Siyabonga, a most helpful young gentleman whose mother tongue is isiXhosa.

A pleasant surprise awaited us at Karoo Backapckers

Karoo Backpackers, Clyde House, 25 Donkin Street, Beaufort West Tel +27 23 415 3226

Siyabonga welcomed us and assisted us with our luggage after showing us around and letting us complete the guest register.  He then showed us our room, gave a short introduction to basic house rules and then showed us the lounge area, kitchen and leisure area in the back yard, with built-in braai facilities.

Siyabonga agreed to pose for a photo
Oregon Pine floors & doors, imbuia furniture and a couch for lazier souls.

There also is a shelf with books to read, a dining table and

satellite television

Fully equipped kitchen with honesty bar and even ice cream on sale
Braai area in backyard

We spent our first night in a dorm room, which we as fifty-plussers found quite pleasant as we were soon joined by two travellers, a young gentleman called Ricky and his cousin Francis.  Almost immediately, we struck up conversation and was relieved that the young folks weren’t offended by having Jurassic reviewers in their midst. Soon, we had something to eat on the balcony from where there are great views of Donkin Street.

Lovely views from balcony

Victorian wrought-iron added to the rustic ambiance

Crispy white linen on sturdy dorm bunk beds. Each bed is well equipped with

bedside table and power outlets for laptops, smartphones, camera’s and tablets.

Smoking is not allowed inside the building.

Ricky & Francis ready to depart, with Siyabonga looking on

We were invited to make coffee which was enjoyed from huge mugs, which promptly were called Pin Cushion Mugs by a very anonymous coffeeholic.

At around 11pm, we all retired to individual beds and slept well, despite countless trucks using their Jacobs Engine Brake systems down the slight decline. None of us could recall being woken by traffic on the busy Donkin Street.

Resting in a super clean room, with no sign of dust anywhere, using pure white linen, afforded us a good night’s rest.  All bathrooms are as clean and well maintained, over and above being really spacious.

Sunday dawned upon us and, a bit too soon, the two pleasant youngsters took to the road, as they had another five hours’ driving ahead of them. We are smarter as we travel via ShosholozaMeyl long distance express train, saving money, relaxing as we go and arriving fresh at our destination.

My wife and I were then relocated to a double room downstairs, with its own private entrance from a side street but also direct access from the backpacker side.

First impressions last and also this room appeared clean and tastefully decorated. It also is well equipped and the electric fan has a convenient remote control. It has its own satellite decoder and television set as well as comfortable writing desk cum dining table for two, a bar fridge and tea-coffee making facilities. As in the main kitchen, bottled water is used for human consumption as the spring water in this region tend to be brackish.

Karoo Backpackers has so far been a most pleasant surprise. The cleanliness, efficiency and friendliness of staff, the ambiance and Victorian setting did impress, as did its affordability.  I would give it the thumbs-up as an overnight stay, even a few more nights to discover the beautiful town of Beaufort West will still be an enjoyable stay.

Yet another room that I came across has a spacious en-suite bathroom and four dorm bunks, used especially by families with small children.

Verdict: a safe, clean and affordable option for the weary traveller. Cheap is not nasty at all and other backpackers could live up to the standard set by Karoo Backpackers, our new benchmark in this category.

Beaufort West Tourism is also housed in the same premises and this is convenient as guests can get excellent travel advice from accredited tour guides. An extensive library of travel information is freely available to all.

We were pleasantly surprised by the Karoo Backpackers in Beaufort West.

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