Greatbatch Guesthouse & Backpackers is more accurately termed a guesthouse than a hostel, but it has the advantage being one of the few locations in Kimberley offering spotlessly clean, pleasant yet affordable backpacker accommodation and deserves to be better known. The owners are friendly and helpful yet unobtrusive, the character of the establishment is quiet, and it appeals to a wide range of age groups.
Greatbatch Guesthouse & Backpackers is a large family home including spacious guesthouse accommodation and two multi-bed dorms with shared bathrooms but no campsites. It is named for a well-known local architect who designed and lived in it, and is situated in a pleasant residential area close to the McGregor Museum, although a car or taxi is advisable to reach many of Kimberley’s other attractions, such as the Big Hole. There is ample secure parking on the property, and access is via a guest-operated remote control entry system. It is easy to find by private vehicle, and management are willing to arrange pick-ups from the airport and train and bus stations.
Rooms and Bathrooms
There are a number of what are referred to as “luxury” guest bedrooms with private bathrooms and self-catering kitchens. In addition, there are two multi-bed, mixed-sex dorms sharing two showers and two toilets, thereby causing congestion at peak periods. The two shower rooms are small, cannot be locked, and do not have space for hanging up clothes. There are room locks, and this is one of only three properties with dorm lockers that we encountered in South Africa. Guests are expected to provide their own padlocks, but at least one of the lockers does not lock properly. There are workers living permanently in one of the dorms.
The backpackers’ kitchen and dining room is also the family kitchen and is very pleasant, clean, tidy, and well equipped, including stove and microwave oven. Nevertheless, the family adopts a low profile, and backpackers do not have the feeling of being under surveillance. The cupboards are meticulously labeled, and servants are helpful in clarifying the geography of the kitchen (which refrigerator shelf to use) for newcomers and will even wash dishes and utensils if guests forget to do so. There are comfortable common areas within the main building including a dining area for those guests ordering meals prepared by guesthouse staff, and there is an internet computer, use of which is slightly more expensive than the Internet café in the city center but with much longer opening hours. There is no book exchange. There is a lot of outdoor seating, which is nevertheless sheltered from the rain, and a good swimming pool.
Even if inexpensive backpacker accommodation were more plentiful in Kimberley, and taking into account the fact that it does not have the cheapest dormitory accommodation in South Africa, Greatbatch Guesthouse & Backpackers is still a good choice for someone in search of a quiet, clean, yet reasonably conveniently located and adequately equipped place to stay and is recommended.
by John Steedman
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
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