The Hostelz.com Review - Genuine, independent review you can trust.
Observatory (or "Obs" to its residents) is a southern suburb of Cape Town, but is blessed with more than half a dozen backpackers hostels all within about two hundred meters of each other -- The Green Elephant Backpackers is one of the most popular with a mix of tourists and locals.
Observatory is very easily reached by metro from Cape Town center and by the many minibuses that drive along Main Road from the center on to Wynberg and points further south. The Green Elephant is located on a quiet side street, just a few minutes’ walk from both of these transport options. Be aware, that the building has no painted sign, only a tiny card on the front gate, so make sure you have the address before arriving.
Rooms and Bathrooms
This two-story house has a number of six-bed dorms (one exclusively for women), and a mix of double and twins. One of the doubles is en suite, but all the other rooms share bathrooms. The rooms are clean and nicely decorated and lockers are provided in the dorms, which you use with your own padlock. The mattresses and duvets are comfortable, but there is an issue with noise if you are in the dorm by the reception and front door. The wooden floorboards also creak a bit, so bring earplugs. The bathrooms are clean and well maintained and there is hot water. There is a bit of a scramble in the mornings for the showers, as there are only three.
The first thing you encounter on entering the gate is the bar in the front garden. It's a snug spot for a relaxed drink and has a large flat-screen TV. The plunge pool was out of action when we visited, due to water restrictions, but this is an extra that the other hostels in the area don't have. Just inside the front door of the house is an internet room; this is also a common room, but most use it for the computer terminal, and the free Wi-Fi is best accessed here. Upstairs, there is also a small TV room with comfy sofas and a balcony for overlooking Cape Town. The large kitchen has a microwave, toaster, water boiler, gas stove, and a number of fridges. The free breakfast is served here on the large dining table, consisting of cereals, toast, spreads, cheese, sausage, and salad, as well as tea and coffee, which are also available all day for guests.
This is a very social hostel and good value for money. It's within easy reach of the center of town and is in a quiet location in the shadow of Devil's Peak, visible as you walk up the road towards the hostel. Observatory's bars and restaurants on Main Street are just five minutes' walk away. The staff can book you on tours around the city and give advice on the area, as the hostel and its management have been in Observatory many years. Try to get a bed upstairs to avoid the noise of the comings and goings of other guests on the ground floor.
Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Published on 2018-05-22
Verified Reviews by our Community
I spent two weeks at GE and i found it lovely 'cause i had everything i wanted. Bet on GE.
I spent one month at the Green Elephant, after bouncing around Cape Town looking for a safe, affordable place to stay. I absolutely loved living at the GE. The staff work hard to develop a sense of community around the hostel, but you can take or leave it as you please. The space is kept extremely clean and I always felt secure. I would definitely recommend the GE! Hi DEFA!
The Green Elephant Backpackers Reviews from the Web
amazing! you guys, I am waiting for the return
Liked: Close to great cafes. Didn't like: Note that this hostel caters to workers as well as travellers. In our dorm, we had people getting up at 5am every morning to get to work. On our last night, the guy getting up turned on the light and made lots of noise - such a pain. If you value your sleep, perhaps best to get a private room.
My third stay et the Green Ele. It is still well-run, friendly, and a good choice for social backpackers wanting to stay in Obz.
Liked: We felt at home from the first day on. Observatory has all you need:bars,supermarkets,restaurants. This hostel makes you want to stay longer!minibuses transport you easy enough into the city centre. Staff is always knowledgable, helpful, in a good mood and happy to chat. Long term residents give good advice, too. Security also satisfies, there are private lockers etc. Good wi-fi, laid-back common rooms and sea-view from the terrace. Enjoy :) Didn't like: The 'green room' dorm needs more windows, but all other rooms have plenty of fresh air!
Liked: As first time backpackers we were not really sure what to expect from a hostel, the Green Elephent was a pleasant surprise. The staff there are friendly and cannot do enough for you. Howard the owner helped me change a tyre on the rental car and Edwina was always there to rescue me at the drinks machine. She had the knack or maybe it just liked the pretty girls ;-). The cleanliness of our room and cleaning service was on par with any hotel I've stayed at, the security too. The all you can eat pizza night on a Thursday is a bargain and must for all that stay there. It was a very pleasant base for us to stay at, the staff made us very welcome, thank you. Didn't like: Nothing worth mentioning
Amazing staff and a social hostel to meet other travelers, students, and locals. Plenty of common space - internet lounge, large communal kitchen, tv room, balcony braai, front pool and bar. Great place to visit and hangout, even if not staying at the Green Elephant.
Liked: GREAT STAFF, CLOSE TO TRANSPORTATION AND FOOD. SOME LOCAL BARS 6 BLOCKS AWAY. Didn't like: NOTHING
Planted firmly in Obs, surrounded by vibey bars and restaurants, Green Elephant will
boost your green karma. Everything is recycled, from beer bottles to grey water, and
the Ele supports various charities for disadvantaged people in the local community. So
you can have the best time, and save the planet doing it.
Wake up, have a solar heated shower then mosey to the Sun Room for a continental
brekkie. Then pack your saddle bags with their scrumptious pad kos* and hitch a ride
on this king of the urban jungle. Try a budget tour to Cape Point or a museum crawl
starting at Groote Schuur Hospital where the world’s first successful heart transplant
was performed. Stop at the noon gun bang on time. Walk or cycle on Devil’s Peak but
be sure to dismount for a sunset cruise captained by Ele’s skippers. Party the night
away at Indabar Bar. Jump in a gas-heated jacuzzi or the pool with some new people,
blog about it at the internet café, then rustle up a midnight feast in the kitchen. If you
need your beauty sleep, crash in one of the private rooms or en suites next door.
Location and Contact
• Directions from Cape Town International Airport : N2, take Exit 7, Main Rd. Turn right to Observatory, drive through 3 sets of traffic lights ( after 1 km ) turn right Milton Road to number 57. • Directions from N1 : Take M5 Muizenberg turnoff towards N2. Go along Black River Parkway until you reach N2, Cape Town turnoff. Then on N2 towards town take Exit 7, Main Rd. Turn right to Observatory, drive through 3 sets of traffic lights ( after 1 km ) turn right into Milton Road to number 57. • Airport Shuttle: We offer airport shuttles at a special rate of R180 per 1, 2 or 3 guests.
57 Milton Road, Observatory, Cape Town,
Western Cape, South Africa
The Green Elephant Backpackers is listed on the following booking sites: