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Sondzela Backpackers

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Description & Photos

Hostelz.com's Review
The Location

Sondzela Backpackers has a unique location in the Mlilwane Wildlife Reserve, about a fifteen-minute drive from Mbabane on the road between Mbabane and Manzini. As this is a wildlife reserve, there are no services available other than those in the hostel itself. To visit Mbabane it takes about a twenty-minute walk to the bus stop. A hostel shuttle meets the Bazbus backpacker bus and this shuttle also does a drop-off and pick-up to Mbabane each morning and evening.

Rooms and Bathrooms

There are single rooms, double rooms, and dorm rooms available. The rooms are spacious and the hostel provides clean bed linen. Bathrooms are separate from the dorm rooms and are big and clean. Hot water is always available. Valuables can be stored in reception as there are no security lockers in the rooms.

Private rondawels are also available. It is also possible to camp. The hostel is fenced off from the wildlife reserve, but the odd warthog or ostrich does find its way into the hostel garden.

Common Spaces

There is an outdoor swimming pool. In the main building, there is a common area with some couches where travelers can relax and watch DSTV. There are two games areas with pool tables and ping-pong tables and other games.

The kitchen is small but is available for guests' use. Each evening there is a meal prepared by the hostel staff for a small charge and often includes local Swazi specialties. This is served around a nightly campfire. A good, cheap breakfast is also available in the mornings. The hostel also accepts South African rand currency.

There is a small shop in the hostel where guests can purchase snacks and refreshments including beer. There is lots of information available on local tourist activities in Swaziland, South Africa, and Mozambique. The staff can offer advice on activities, transport, and on visas to Mozambique.


This is a great hostel -- with a unique location, it is a great way to spend a day, walking around the wildlife sanctuary taking pictures of the roaming zebra, impala, wildebeest, warthog, and ostrich. Crocs and hippos are also in the park, so you have to be careful near water areas.

by RayJ
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
November 2008

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
How is Sondzela Backpackers rated on other websites?
Not listed on HostelBookers.
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Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   The BEST you can find The best backpacker's place you can find. Great location in the middle of nise Reserve with many animals and nice track around nature.  , age 50, Canada ()
3   Quite and beautiful surroundings It was a nice quiet place, which was just what we needed in the middle of our three week trip across southern Africa. The staff left the premises by 6pm and we arrived just after 6pm so it was interesting upon arrival. We had a small run-in with a fellow guest that could have been better dealt with if staff were present. Once we met the staff they were nice.  , age 27, USA ()
2   Dirty and unfriendly staff. We stopped in at Sondzela looking for a place to sleep over for the night, although the setting was great, we found the place dirty and swarming with house flies, there must have been thousands inside and out, after being shown the rooms also swarming with flies we decided not to stay over, it was then that the receptionist suddenly insisted that we had to pay a R35 park entrance fee each! We had only been there less than 10 minutes and nobody informed us of this charge when we entered the park only when we wanted to leave, not even the main park gate mentioned this! No thanks, this place won't see me again!  , RSA ()
5   You must go there I loved it there,if you like the outdoors and wildlife its a must. Friendly staff, clean accommodation, monkeys on the door step in the morning and a family of warthog just wandering around. The views are amazing as well, I cant wait to go back.  , english ()
5   Very pleasant This is a great place to relax, with a well-staffed, well-maintained site, with something of a spacious farmhouse feel. With the game reserve a few steps away, you certainly won't feel claustrophobic. Definitely recommended.  , South Africa ()
5   Friendly Staff, Clean, Safe, and tasty traditional cooked meals. If you love being in nature, Sondzela is the place to be in Swaziland. The hostel is in a superb setting (Milwane wildlife sanctuary). As a woman I wondered into the wild on my own and felt absolutely safe. It's clean, dorm is spacious and very safe. Will recommend to anyone traveling to Swaziland.  , South African ()
4  Absolutely amazing. A "must see" for backpackers in Southern Africa. Great staff, lovely food cooked on the fire, nice prices. Also great for families with children. A place I would definitely visit again.  ()
5  Loved it! The accommodations are fabulous. There were almost always enough beds. Great food, great location, great price!  ()

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