Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer M. Sullivan
Address: Vincent, Chintsa (Cintsa), Eastern Cape, South Africa
Hostel Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers - Chintsa is listed on the following booking sites:Hostel Buccaneers Lodge & Backpackers - Chintsa at Hostelworld Not listed at Booking.com Not listed at HostelsClub
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!!
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!!
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.
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.
the best on the planet. stayed. came back. and stayed for six months. recommending buccs is an understatment -- go to be a part of the price family, party in the bar, eat nancy's extraordinary meals, and walk the beach for hours. cannot wait to return for christmas!
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Safe Deposit Box
Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons
Airport Pickup (R350.- pp)
Breakfast (R20.- - R80.-)
Dinner (R75.- - R110.-)
24 Hour Security
Credit Card Payments
Power Point/Sockets in Rooms
Lockers in Rooms
Wi-Fi in Rooms
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
Maximum Stay: Unlimited
Minimum Stay: 1 night
Open Dates: All Year
Reception Hours: 7.30am-10pm
Size: Large (60-100 beds)