The barman at the hide out bar in CurioCity Backpackers, one of the cool Gauteng tourism offerings you may not know about. (Photo: iStock)
When you want to meet new people but also travel on the cheap, backpackers have long been a cornerstone of budget holidays for the young and adventurous.
South Africa itself has quite a big backpacker culture, and you don't have to be a foreigner to hop your way from dorm to dorm. When you're the only local in a backpackers full of foreigners, you instantly become the most popular person there.
So grab your bohemian pants you picked up in Thailand, the backpack that's twice your size and travel your country through these cool backpackers.
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Curiocity Backpackers, Durban
Centrally located in the heart of the city, if you're looking for a proper SA jol and meeting new people, Curiocity knows how to get everyone pumped for their time in Durbz.
Monzi Safaris Backpackers, St Lucia
A good headquarters to explore iSimangaliso from, Monzi also has a sweet pool setup perfect for relaxing next to after some cruising on the lake for hippos.
Khotso Lodge and Horse Trails, Drakensberg
If you live for horse-riding, this is one of the best spots to explore the Drakensberg by horseback, with stunning views of majestic mountains.
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Once Youth Hotel, Cape Town
Situated in the vibey Kloof Street, this city-slicker paradise is perfect for those weekend escapes.
Backpacker's Paradise & Joyrides, Oudtshoorn
Disappear into the Karoo at this quaint backpackers where a lekker braai and cold beer will keep the heat away.
One of the most beautiful towns in the Western Cape, this rustic lodge is perfect for budget travellers looking to take on the hiking trails.
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Santos Express, Mossel Bay
If you're looking for something a little quirky, you can stay in a stationary train with lovely views of the ocean.
Near the famous waterfall of the same name, you can also organise through them a hot air balloon ride over the Kalahari.
Platberg Harrismith Backpackers
Either a headquarters for hikers or a nice stopover on the route between Durban and Johannesburg, this little backpackers is ideally situated to check out the town on foot.
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Tube 'n Axe, Storms River
You stay surrounded by a lush garden, and a great base to explore Tsitsikamma from with their tubing adventures down the river.
Away with the Fairies, Hogsback
Disappear into a magical forest realm at this secretive backpackers, where you can take a bath overlooking some mysterious mountains.
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Nestled in the middle of the Wild Coast, Mdumbi is perched high above an expansive beach, perfect for full moon bonfires and night swimming.
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One of the most famous backpackers on the Wild Coast, you'll never be bored staying here where activities are on offer every day.
Lebo's Soweto Backpackers
This township experience is most famous for their bike tours through Orlando West, and makes for a typical South African trip bringing money to the community.
SEE: A holiday in Soweto?
Brown Sugar Backpackers
This backpackers in Johannesburg looks a little like an out-of-place castle, but it has a fascinating history as it was once known as the 'Mafia-mansion' where wild parties raged on into the night.
Its Anners, Dinokeng
If you want something a little wilder, Its Anners is situated in a game reserve where you'll see lions, hyenas, giraffes and other rowdy African wildlife.
Hazyview Adventure Backpackers
This region in Mpumalanga has no shortage of adventure activities to keep you busy, especially gliding down the Sabie River or trekking to the Blyde River Canyon.
Elephant Walk Guesthouse, Phalaborwa
If you want an affordable base to explore Kruger National Park from, this backpackers is just two minutes away from an entrance gate and a cool stopover on the way to Mozambique.
Oxwagon Lodge, Hartbeespoort Dam
Another quirky stay, you can either stay in a private room in an original Voortrekker ox-wagon that's been restored, or stay in a double-decker bus dormitory with bunk beds.
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