Hostel Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers - Chintsa, Chintsa

215 Reviews
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Hostel Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers - Chintsa Reviews

Hostel Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers - Chintsa draws a diverse crowd of backpackers, family holiday-makers, and South Africans exploring their own country or on vacation. Its a social place where its easy to meet people and allow days to pass without noticing. Theres access to the beach, a pool, horse trails, a small dam that's lovely for catching the sunset, a surf school, and daily activities to keep guests busy. The hostel is clean and buildings are well maintained.

The Location

Sprawled across a sloping hillside, Buccaneers is a large property in Chintsa; it's a brief walk along the beach to the holiday homes of East Chintsa. Its reached by a dirt road manageable by a two-wheel-drive vehicle. The Baz Bus stops at Buccaneers and the road to the hostel is well marked for those driving. A small market, bottle shop, restaurant, bar, and ATM are located in East Chintsa, approximately a fifteen-minute walk along the beach from Buccaneers. For those driving, larger shops are within a twenty-minute drive. The property is secluded and private and thus very safe.

Rooms and Bathrooms

All rooms, including dorms, have balconies or outdoor areas overlooking the Indian Ocean. Dorms are spacious and have a combination of bunk beds and singles, and bathroom facilities are en suite or very close by. There are no lockers or individual lights. Limited electrical outlets are available in the dorms but more can be found in the common lounge near reception. Rooms are cleaned daily and linens are changed between guests. The bathrooms provide a few hooks outside the shower for a towel or clothing and within the shower toiletries must rest on the floor. Bathroom floors tend to be covered in sand and dirt but are cleaned regularly.

Common Spaces

Beside reception is a communal kitchen and lounge area with couches and tables. A covered veranda runs the length of the building and looks down to the ocean. The kitchen is well-equipped with dishes and utensils and has multiple sinks. Outdoor braai areas are located near the campgrounds and outside some of the private rooms and one of the dorms. A bar with pool table and TV is a flight of stairs down from reception and has both indoor and outdoor seating areas. It stays open well into the night if guests are still drinking.

A pool toward the bottom of the hill is home to most daytime socializing with a ping-pong table, bar, and restaurant; a volleyball court; and ample space to spread out in the sun or shade or to string up a hammock. Free activities with a box of wine and plenty of cups are offered here late in the day. Dinner is served buffet-style with a different theme each night of the week. Long tables encourage socializing and a few smaller tables allow families or small groups a bit of privacy should they prefer it.


Many of the South African guests at Buccaneers return year after year with friends or families. Travelers are warmly welcomed and backpackers slide easily into the social scene. Parties dont rage nightly, but at least a small gathering is common at the bar every evening. The campground is in a quiet area near the pool but dorms are close to the bar and reception. Private rooms are scattered around the grounds. Reception can help with onward travel arrangements; Wi-Fi is not free.

M. Sullivan
Entrance to reception reception indoor common area kitchen volleyball court with campground in background pool with daytime bar in background 3 beds in an 8 bed dorm 4 beds of an 8 bed dorm

Perfect place to recharge the Paradise batteries

I grew up in KwaZuluNatal. The Wildcoast was my beach playground. Ten years after immigrating to the USA, I returned to South Africa to bury my mother. Bucs provided the perfect place to ground my grief and to reconnect with the earth, sand, salt water, sky, trees and plants of my ancestry. The natural setting is exquisite, the hosts are fun loving yet sensitive to individual guest needs, and very very conscious of their connection to the community: beauty, awareness and art is everywhere. The joy in the atmosphere speaks volumes. This little piece of planet earth seems very happy with the custodianship cards it has drawn this time around, expressing this in birdsong and blooming growth. Bees buzz between flowers, geckos scuttle on walls, frogs hop under leaves. Nature is bountiful and abundantly at play in the fields of spring's renewal here. Set on 8 acres of verdant East Cape coastal vegetation on the banks of the lagoon, nestled just behind dunes from the ocean, Bucs is accessed by a somewhat challenging, winding, bumpy, potholed last few kilometers. Hey, you didn't think it was all going to be a smooth ride to Paradise did you? Once there, it is difficult to comprehend the vast number of rooms, cottages, tents and and facilities which could accommodate 80 to 100 people in high season, so artfully are they tucked away between the lush vegetation which appears wild and abandoned on first sight. A closer look however reveals a master gardener's hand and eye. There are massed plantings of mostly indigenous species while dramatic use is made of exotics in just the right places. Thorn trees are carefully and unobtrusively pruned into arches and swoops, making tunnels and pathways. Vegetation has been nurtured to provide privacy screens, bougainvillea tumbles in drama all cerise froth against blue walls. Elsewhere the linear graphic lines of banana frond and euphorbia make for pleasing variety. Birds in full throated song bring each day to light. Hornbills lurch from tree top to tree top. Hadedahs pierce the soft earth. The colours throughout the place speak of an artist's eye -- carefully chosen shades of blue, greens, pink, red and yellow meander through the maze of buildings. Frida Kahlo goes Africa. It comes as no surprise that at least one family member has a fine art degree from no less an illustrious institution than Rhodes University during the period when the incomparable Professor Robert Brooks was at the helm (who just happened, coincidentally, to have been my marvelous mostly supine host in Port Elizabeth leg of this journey). The dining room in the main house, used for breakfasts and occasional evening feasts, is a gallery of South African artists, mostly with strong East Cape roots. There are canoes on the lagoon for guests to use freely as they wish.. As I relax into my salt water retreat, I feel my old South African courage and independence of spirit rise from that back corner of my being where the USA nanny society has squelched it. I cannot help noticing the difference from anxious North America with all its rules and indemnities, cautions and caveats. The only admonition here is to bring the paddles back. Ah yes! this is how I grew up -- taking responsibility for myself. Thank you Bucs, for reconnecting me to my roots! If walking the beach and the bush paths doesn't suffice, there are other activities guests can indulge in. Most of these activities incur an extra charge which, in the scheme of world economics, is pocket money and real good value for money. There are daily beach rides or cultural excursions to a local Xhosa village, mountain bikes and game drives to a local private nature reserve. If one has a week or two of disposable time one can get involved with volunteering in the community, help with computer literacy in the local school, contribute to horse or wildlife rehabilitation, assist with other social projects. Ching! Ching! more good karma points all around. Share the love, peeps! Evenings in the Skebenga bar are noisy. The weekend I stayed, an excellent djembe drummer, Richard Siphiwo, fresh from a 3 month European tour, was the classy featured act. During the day guests could book private djembe classes with him. For the rest he mingled freely with the backpackers giving pale foreign women a hard time about not being able to get their tongues around the clicks in the Xhosa language. Of course with a steady flow of guests each new "victim" reacted afresh as if they were the first honored with this local lesson. For me watching, it got old after a while, this acting out of power and control over compliant, slightly dazed and confused women. In the evenings though all is forgiven as he certainly got the beat on. Falling asleep to contemporary djembe drumming foregrounding the crash and roar of surf, under canvas and African skies -- a priceless experience. I chose to stay in a safari tent even though,a day or so into my stay, heavy rain and driving wind causes some major flooding. I could have moved to dry accommodation at no extra cost. Staff and the owners were very anxious that I be comfortable but also respectful of my wishes to tailor my Bucs experience as I wished. There is free tea and coffee in a communal kitchen and lounge where the tv is almost perpetually tuned to some sport channel and Xhosa staff can be found lounging and chattering between tasks. All day the entire Bucs establishment is bustling with armies of these people going about their business of reception, cleaning, gardening, maintaining, guiding, entertaining, bartending, cooking, eating, smoking, interacting with guests. At night there is at least one security guard trudging the rounds. The place felt exceptionally safe. Having grown up in one of the most violent societies in the world, I pride myself on having a pretty finely tuned, intuitive safety sensor. I spent the whole time at Bucs with all my belongings in an unlocked tent, undisturbed by unwanted human hand,. Rain and wind were the only intruder. For guests who are anxious, the rooms have lock with either keys or code entry systems. There is also a big safe at reception so one can relax into being there, instead of worrying about stuff. What a relief! My only suggestion would be that, with all their environmental awareness, the Bucs administration think about making cigarette smoke free zones and doing something about raising the awareness in guests that tossing cigarette butts everywhere is really bad practice. Smoking is way too prevalent everywhere, in my not so humble opinion. It is not pleasant to be sitting on a bench overlooking a spectacular view and have a member of staff light up a cigarette six inches from one's nose. Some of the lack of consideration on the part of some of the passing through guests really horrified me. Dead soldiers of beer bottles strewn about everywhere in the early mornings, unwashed pots, dirty dishes and used coffee mugs in the lounge and kitchen. Come on backpackers of the world -- clean up after yourselves! Have a bit of respect and learn to leave no trace even in dorm and hostel situations. Or go back to the paving Paradise and putting up parking lots attitudes on your own continents. Just don't do it here where Paradise still prevails. Viva Buccaneers Backpackers, Viva!!

Age 55 | USA (expat South African)

Almost perfect

Visited in April 2012. Nice place, great relaxed atmosphere, right on the beach. Food was actually really good, which is unusual for hostels (it was Mexican night, and I'm from Texas but even I was impressed). Staff very friendly and helpful. There are really fun group activities every night, like drum lessons taught by a hilarious guy who really knows his stuff. My only complaint was when I got into the room (I stayed in the dorm) ... it smelled pretty moldy. But otherwise everything was great.


What an absolute treat

What an absolute treat to stay here! Friendly people and even some good advice at some or other hour that is now quite hazy! The staff is hugely competent and willing to help. The bar is a must and the activities are well organized and great fun! Overall, it was an absolute pleasure to stay here and I am so coming back as soon as I can!!

Werner Honing
South African

Very nice.

Very nice place and nice staff. But customers are too much alcoholics.



They have a free shuttle that picks up from East London! It was a fair price for internet, no more expensive than the surrounding "competition" and the fastest I had come across on the wild coast. The hostel is bloody organised! They did my baz bus bookings for me and my hostels, even helped people book flights and buses other than the baz bus -- all for free and with a smile. And I had some of the best pizzas and tramezzinis at that pool bar! Activities are not canceled at the last minute, by the way. Guests are told to come at night time before 9 p.m. to check. Me mates and I stayed in that place for two solid weeks! We rated it

an "A." This is a family business that has been going on for more than fifteen years and a staff that does not treat you like a bank, but one that treats you like a good mate! Man I love that place, it literally felt like home to me, I made some pretty good mates there.


Best hostel we stayed at.

This is without a doubt the best hostel we stayed at. Buccaneers isn't just a hostel, it's a way of life. It's situated in a lovely mountainside over looking the best views. If you manage to get up for breakfast early the view of sunrise is a must see. We stayed in both a double and a dorm room and both were perfect. Don't expect to be bored here, there is so much to do and a lot of it is free. One minute you'll be visiting a local school and the next the neighbouring elephants. Just go. We traveled the world and it was our number one.

Sheila and Ollie

The Buccaneers Backpackers Cintsa hostel is popular as it is right next to a beach with its own direct access, and there are views of the sea from most rooms as well as the bar. It is unlike most hostels in that the rooms are spread out over the hillside, but this adds to the beach getaway feel. It even has a beauty therapy room when the beautician is around.

Buccaneers is down a long bumpy road, and the only way to get there is by self-drive or Baz Bus which stops here. The village of Cintsa is a 10 minute walk away on the other side of the beach, and has few amenities - a general store selling food and magazines, a cafe, and a touristy beach shop. There is little else around, but the hostel provides daily free activities, such as volleyball competitions, and also a weekly trip to a local school to see the children sing.

The dorms are in self-contained units, each with two bedrooms with two bunk beds in each, a shower room and an open plan kitchen and sitting room. The bed linen may not always be fresh or they may be torn but cleaners come each day and there are notes stating that guest should notify them of any problems so they can rectify it. The shower room has a clean shower with a WC and sink and is functional. The units have a small patio out the front overlooking the beach, and it is fairly secure with each person having a key to the front door of the unit.

Having the lounge sitting area in each dorm unit can be a nice place to escape but not that social. There is, however, a bar/restaurant/pool table/seating area as the main communal space. The hostel serves good food nightly in this area and somebody announces the following day's free activity. Above this is the reception area, where activities can be booked such as horse riding along the beach and surf lessons - although this may be cancelled on the morning if not enough people are booked on. The hostel also has free bodyboards and kayaks for the lagoon on the beach. In this reception area is a shop selling locally made curios, a book exchange, and two computers for fairly expensive internet access. Behind this is a TV room with sofas and a self-catering kitchen area. There is also a swimming pool with bar on the complex although this is rarely manned.

Being that this is spread out over a hillside and is so popular, this place is fairly well managed. It would be better if there were no minimum numbers for activities so that a guest can do what they expect to do instead of an activity being cancelled at the last minute, and ideally provisions for when the beauty therapist and activity guides aren't around. It is a great beach escape, but there is little else to do other than be by the beach so could get a little boring for those who prefer towns and sightseeing.

Helen Resuggan

More reviews...


Most travelers will have undoubtedly heard of Buccaneers long before they make it to Chintsa. Many consider it the best backpackers in South Africa. The backpackers is spread out over 25 acres of semitropical coastal forest and overlooks the most beautiful unspoiled beach and bay.

Buccaneers is known for its great choices - and this goes for our accommodation as well. If you're a couple wanting something really special, our new suites and en-suites are a great choice; with the best views in the house, simple bright decor, beautiful sea views and lovely private sun decks. We have whole cottages available for rent which are perfect for families and groups of friends, budget double or twin rooms which all come with access to shared kitchen, living areas, bathrooms and which open onto lovely bougainvillea covered patios. Our double and twin safari tents offer a very good budget option for couples. Supplied with beds and bedding and within easy distance of the bathrooms and kitchen, they take all the effort out of camping! We also cater for those travelling on a shoe-string with our dorms and forest camp-site.

Buccaneers offers a lively bar which has certainly seen some great revelry in its time. Our stunning tropical pool is a buzzy spot in the summer months when a gorgeous poolside cafe offers freshly made pizzas, salads, tremezinis, cold beers and cool drinks to wash it all down with.

Every evening there is a delicious dinner available at the backpackers - home-made, hearty portions, kind on the pocket and always a vegetarian option available, these meals are a fantastic opportunity to sit down, relax and get to know your fellow guests.

Every day there is a free activity organised for guests from volleyball to sun-downers on the giant sand dunes and treasure hunts - all involve a free glass of wine to help break the ice with the rest of the gang!

Buccaneers is a haven of tranquility and natural delights - quiet beach walks or canoe trips up the Chintsa river and a secret bird hide on our own dam. You can also get your kick of adrenaline with local adventure tour operator African Heartland Journeys who run surf schools, beach horse trails, big 5 game drives, mountain bike rides, cultural tours and even volunteer experiences - all bookable through the reception at Buccaneers.

Buccaneers is Fair Trade Tourism certified.

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Location and Contact




Address: Vincent, Chintsa (Cintsa), Eastern Cape, South Africa

Hostel Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers - Chintsa is listed on the following booking sites:

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Website Hostel Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers - Chintsa Chintsa
Phone Number: +27 (0)82 657 9127
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Family-Friendly Hostel

Party Hostel

Quiet Rest

Solo Traveller


Luggage Storage


Safe Deposit Box

Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Airport Pickup (R350.- pp)

Breakfast (R20.- - R80.-)

Dinner (R75.- - R110.-)

24 Hour Security


BBQ Grill


Book Collection/Exchange

Cable TV

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Entirely Non-Smoking


Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Outdoor Seating

Pool Table

Power Point/Sockets in Rooms

Swimming Pool


Table Tennis

Yoga Classes

Lockers in Rooms


Wheelchair Accessible

Wi-Fi in Rooms

Service Animals


Genders: Males & Females

Max. Age: All Ages

Min. Age with Parent (dorms): 18

Min. Age with Parent (private room): All Ages

Min. Age without Parent: 18

Checkout: 10:00 (10 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Maximum Stay: Unlimited

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 7.30am-10pm

Size: Large (60-100 beds)


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