Hostel Wilderness - Fairy Knowe Backpackers



The Review

Hostel Wilderness - Fairy Knowe Backpackers has long been on the backpackers trail along the Garden Route and is a good place to stay in the greenery of Wilderness.

The Location

Wilderness is just over sixty kilometers east of Mossel Bay and just under fifty kilometers west of Knysna, but because of its location on the north side of the river, Fairy Knowe isn't straightforward to get to if you don't have your own transport or are not using the door-to-door Baz Bus. There are occasional minibuses from George (usually early in the morning) or Knysna, which will drop in town from where you have a two-kilometer walk to Fairy Knowe. The big bus companies stop four kilometers out on the eastern edge of town, giving you a long walk back to town, then the two kilometers from there. You can save yourself about two kilometers by taking Anchorage Road off the highway, then turning immediately right along the railway tracks. The tracks bridge the river and take you right to Fairy Knowe after a kilometer and it is a very nice walk.

Rooms and Bathrooms

Well set-up for backpackers, Fairy Knowe has a number of double and family rooms, plus three dorms in the old house, a little uphill from reception. The dorms are clean and there's plenty of room. There are a couple of small safes but no lockers. The upstairs dorms catch the breeze and the mattresses are comfortable but the duvets a bit thin. The one toilet and shower upstairs is clean and hot water is available twenty-four hours and there is a similar one downstairs.

Common Spaces

The small common kitchen is in the old house where the dorms are and is pretty well equipped. The free tea and coffee station is down the hill by reception and the owner does not like anything taken from here to the old house. There are a few chairs outside the old house on the landing with nice views over the river. There is free Wi-Fi, but only around the reception and bar area where there is an internet station and TV room. A small tuck shop is also provided here.

The bar has a number of sofas, a pool table, table football, and TV screen. It is open to the public until 2 a.m. and has a reputation for being a bit rowdy. Luckily most of the accommodation is away up the hill. Between the bar and reception is the tea station with a dining table used for breakfast and dinner. There are also tables and chairs scattered under the trees about the garden. Breakfasts, lunch, and dinner are provided on a paid-for basis and you must order well in advance by signing the board.


Fairy Knowe is in a beautiful location with many hikes and paddles to be had. There are two waterfalls and the forested hills to walk in and the beach is a twenty-minute walk away. This is a good place to base yourself for a few days, as there are plenty of things to do and it's fairly peaceful during the day when most guests are out. There have been issues with behavior in the bar at closing time; it happened when we stayed, but most guests sleep well away from it. There are volunteering opportunities here also, so you could linger longer than anticipated.
by Londonroad Staff Reviewer
Photos taken by the reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Fairy Knowe Backpackers
Internet and TV Room
Tea Station and Dining Area
Tuck Shop
Old House
Guests' Kitchen


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Hostel Wilderness - Fairy Knowe Backpackers" at 1 Dumbleton Road.)


1 Dumbleton Road, Wilderness, Western Cape, South Africa
-33.991852, 22.600382 (accuracy not guaranteed)
+27 (0)44 877 1285
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How is Hostel Wilderness - Fairy Knowe Backpackers rated on other websites?

  Cleanliness Location Atmosphere Overall
(84 ratings)
(7 ratings)
Not listed on HostelsClub.
HI Hostels
(1 ratings)
Not listed on
77% Guest Reviews

New Owners so beware
Booked under the old ownership and rang 4 days before to confirm. New owners had no record but said they could accommodate us with a slight change to booking. Arrived and was then told they had no room. Annoying to say the least, but owner seemed uninterested and said he couldn't remember if he had spoken to me. I have used many backpackers in the past and when things go wrong they are usually more than helpful, sadly not here.
Throughout the travel circuit in South Africa, especially the ever-popular Garden Route, HI - Wilderness - Fairy Knowe Backpackers Hostel is enthusiastically mentioned by travelers who have been there, and although it can accommodate quite a large number of guests, especially if one brings a tent, it manages not to be too impersonal and is notable for its leafy surroundings. The Location Fairy Knowe Backpackers occupies a spacious, leafy property close to the Touws River and not far from the beach. There is plenty of scope for activities such as hiking in the nearby Wilderness National Park as well as canoeing and horse-riding. The Baz backpackers’ bus stops here, but otherwise private transportation is recommended. The hostel is easy to find when arriving by private motor vehicle, and there is ample free parking within the grounds. Rooms and Bathrooms The mixed-sex dormitories are located upstairs within what was originally the farmhouse, which has extensive views of the nearby Wilderness National Park, the downstairs accommodation being occupied by the kitchen and shared mixed-sex bathrooms. In addition, there are other buildings offering private accommodation dotted throughout the property, and there are further shared mixed-sex bathrooms close to the bar area, which is where the campsites are located. The bar area can be noisy at times, but this is only a problem for campers but not dorm occupants due to the distance of the old farmhouse from the bar area. However, silence is usually established by around 11 p.m. The dorms are not usually locked, but there are lockers, and management will store valuables on request. There is space to change in the shower area, and there are hooks for clothes and soap dishes. Common Spaces The kitchen in the old farmhouse is reasonably well equipped with plenty of storage for guests’ food, and there is a dining area outside. The old farmhouse has a veranda with comfortable seating, and there is a lounge adjacent to the office/reception area, which also has a pay-as-you-go Internet computer and a small library and book exchange. There is a well-stocked, thatched bar and restaurant surrounded by trees with a large amount of comfortable seating and a pool table. The property is clean and bright and appeals to a variety of age groups. Those who like to party and enjoy loud music can do so in the bar area without disturbing the occupants of the old farmhouse, where there are plenty of opportunities for quiet conversation. Smoking is not usually a problem. Summary Fairy Knowe Backpackers is a deservedly popular stop on a pleasant section of the Garden Route providing a range of moderately priced amenities and is therefore warmly recommended.
John Steedman
Top out of ten We Stayed At
This place is a treasure, the bush pub is fun, beers cold, and paragliding out of this world. Worth a visit!
Drew Mitchell
  Beautiful place. I will always remember the strong smell of waxed wooden floor and the nice smell of fresh clean linen. The walk to the village along the lagoon is ever so romantic. The breakfast they served looked fantastic. I really have to go back there.
  A stunning setting and friendly staff made this a great stop over from the trials of the Baz Bus. The views in early morning from our room were breathtaking and made up for the rather basic showers. wonderful place to relax and unwind made our stay in SA all the more enjoyable.
Steve and Catherine
  Admitedly we were in a bad mood when we checked in here, having just left the best Backpackers on Earth and the best people on Earth along with it, but the staff were unfriendly and the kitchen had no facilities. We pitched our tent under a huge yellow wood and stayed there most of the night. The buildings were wonderful and it was full of potential, so maybe we were just too tired and grumpy to appreciate it.
  Landi is fabulous, and she made our stay there excellent. We only wanted to go for two nights, and we stayed five.
Candy and Rob
  Just remembering this hostel, wishing I was sitting in the big round chair relaxing, and walking down the boardwalk. I've visited Fairy Knowe twice, the first time in 2000 and then 2002. Always will have a place in my heart...
Tom Herzfeld

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