While Africa’s five-star lodges may get all the international press, there are hundreds of amazing budget-friendly backpackers scattered across the continent – from rustic bush camps to stylish boutique hostels in cities. Here’s our round up of Africa’s best backpackers to inspire you for your next trip.
Best beach backpackers in Africa
Coffee Shack – Eastern Cape, South Africa
On a beautiful stretch of the Wild Coast, Coffee Shack is laidback beach backpacking at its best. Rondavels are basic but comfortable, the meals at the restaurant are delicious and hearty, the parties are legendary and best of all – it’s a few minutes’ walk from a picture-perfect golden sand beach where you can swim or do surf lessons with an instructor from the backpackers. There are loads of other activities on offer as well – local village tours, overnight village stays, hikes to Hole in the Wall and cliff jumping.
Promised Land Lodge – Zanzibar, Tanzania
Set in a big tropical garden facing the sea, Promised Land offers eight Zanzibar-style bungalows with ocean views, a beach bar and a restaurant with spicy Zanzibari dishes. The backpackers lodge makes the most of a beautiful stretch of white sand with hammocks, comfy beach beds and a fire pit for evening bonfires. Your budget-friendly tropical island getaway doesn’t get much better than this!
Best bush backpackers in Africa
Croc Valley Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
While not strictly a backpackers, this rustic camp makes it into the list because of its great campsite and affordable chalets. Situated just outside of South Luangwa National Park, Croc Valley Camp has a fantastic location on the banks of the Luangwa River. The campsites are set on lush grounds, shaded by mahogany trees. It’s easy to chill out at the camp, which features a hippo-friendly swimming pool in the river and hammocks to while away hot afternoons in, but Croc Valley also offers activities in the national park, from game drives to walking safaris.
Best adventure backpackers in Africa
Livingstone Backpackers – Livingstone, Zambia
In the middle of the small town of Livingstone, on the edge of Victoria Falls, this new backpackers is all about adrenaline fun. Their activity desk will arrange everything from white water rafting and bungee jumping to microlight and helicopter flights over the falls, elephant rides, lion, rhino and cheetah walks, horse riding and even safari trips into the nearby Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Best mountain backpackers in Africa
Amphitheatre Backpackers – KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
In an amazing location in the foothills of the northern Drakensberg mountain range, Amphitheatre Backpackers is all about making the best of the outdoors, with loads of activities on offer such as rock climbing, tours of neighbouring Lesotho and guided hikes to Tugela Falls – Africa’s higest waterfall – and to the summit of Cathedral Peak. After your days of adventuring, it’s a treat to relax back at the backpackers, with its pool and river for swimming, a Jacuzzi, sauna and a funky bar that often hosts live music.
Best city backpackers in Africa
The B.I.G Backpackers – Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town’s top rated boutique backpackers is located in Green Point – close to the ocean and the city centre. With a range of stylish rooms with minimalist decor, a free continental breakfast, a swimming pool, two kitchens, an area for having braais (South African barbecues). It scores top marks for being friendly, cosy and for feeling like a home away from home.
Riad Massin – Marrakech, Morocco
A 19th-century riad (guesthouse) found alongside the ramparts of the old city of Marrakech, Riad Massin is in a perfect location to explore the historical city’s sights. It’s romantic and stylish, with a courtyard to relax in and a roof terrace for views over the Red City.
Best sustainable backpackers in Africa
Bulungula – Eastern Cape, South Africa
The 10 rondavels located on a totally undeveloped stretch of the beautiful Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape run on solar power and feature compost toilets. Bulungula is co-owned and managed by members of the nearby village, and guests are encouraged to spend time in the village getting to know the community by joining in activities such as beer brewing. Bulungula is an amazing example of community-based tourism and sustainability and offers a chance for travellers to get a taste of rural South African life.