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The Spot Backpackers is one of a number of small, cozy backpacker hostels on South Africa's South Coast, the stretch of coastline between Durban and Port Shepstone. The Spot is nearest to Port Shepstone.
Around one hundred twenty kilometers southeast of Durban and eight kilometers northeast of Port Shepstone, on a long, crescent beach of some seven kilometers, The Spot Backpackers is located in the Shepstone suburb of Umtentweni and is a favorite among the surfing fraternity. It sits just off the R102 coastal road that runs parallel, and very close to the N2 highway. The railway, which passes through Umtentweni, is no longer in use for passenger traffic, unfortunately. The Spot Backpackers sits right on the beach -- close enough to hear the crashing waves as you drift off at night.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The Spot has two dorms, two double rooms, and an en suite double cabin. The blue and red dorms each have six beds and are spacious. Choose your bed carefully, as the mattresses are of varying quality, from thin, saggy foam ones to thick, new, firm ones. The bunk themselves are sturdy wooden constructions, but have no ladder to the top bunk. The top bunks are therefore quite low and leave very little headroom for the lower bunks. There is plenty of floor space but no lockers or storage space for luggage. The doubles in the main house are clean and comfortable, sharing ablutions; there is one wooden chalet in the large garden, which is en suite. The bathrooms are clean, but there are no hooks for your clothes while showering.
Accessed via the back garden, you enter the property through the bar, which is also the reception. This snug room also has a pool table and also converts to table tennis, and the little TV and sitting room is next door with two comfy couches and all the satellite channels available. The free Wi-Fi is accessible only around the reception and bar area, but the signal is pretty strong. The large garden has a big firepit for the really cold winter nights and there is a gate that leads directly down to the beach just a few meters away. Outside the dorm building, there is also a sitting area on the landing with a couple of rather old, tatty cushioned chairs. The guests' kitchen has a kettle, toaster, microwave, four-hob electric cooker, and two fridges for self-caterers, and there is free tea and coffee all day, but no free breakfast here. No food is served here, but there are a couple of restaurants close by.
The Spot Backpackers is a cozy little place that gives easy access both for those with wheels and for those using public transport, to both Durban and Port Shepstone. There's quite a lot of info on things to do around the South Coast here, and The Spot gives access to places like the Oribi Gorge, Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve, Aliwal Shoals, and Mbumbazi Nature Reserve, if you have your own transport. The crashing waves of Umtentweni beach will entice the surfers and Aliwal Shoals is just a short drive away for divers, so this is a handy base.
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Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Published on 2018-07-05
Verified Reviews by our Community
The Spot Backpackers is a small hostel located a little over an hour's drive from Durban, and just outside of Port Shepstone. The hostel has a very homey feel to it, since it seems to be an old home that was transformed into a hostel. The place isn't too big, but it does have a view of the Indian Ocean, and a wonderful breeze that rolls over the top of the waves. The place can accommodate backpackers, overlanders, campers, and has private rooms as well. There is a huge parking lot just outside the hostel's gate, but once inside the gate parking can be a bit of an issue. Another advantage of The Spot Backpackers is that it is on the baz bus circuit, so it is easy to access.
The backpackers is located in a small town just outside of Port Shepstone with not a lot going on. There is a grocery store located nearby, and since the hostel doesn't serve any food it is easy enough to stock up on food and provisions to cook your own food in the hostel's kitchen.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The rooms at the hostel are quite small and simple, but with an ocean view, who wants to spend time inside a room anyway? There are a couple bathrooms with showers, although the bathroom that is off the laundry room is a bit messy and cluttered. For those with their own tent, there is a decent-sized yard with grass for people that want to pitch their own shelter.
The common spaces at the hostel are ample, offering guests the opportunity to sit in the living room, outside by the bar/ping-pong table, out in the yard around some picnic tables (some covered for rain), and even by the fence with a view of the ocean. The hostel also has a few outdoor fire pits with extra chairs for when it gets chilly at night. The kitchen is a decent size, but once one or two groups start cooking it will get a bit crowded. On the bright side the hostel has free Wi-Fi!
For those who are passing through, The Spot Backpackers is a good place to spend the night before waking up and hitting the road again. It's got a good view of the beach, and easy access for swimming, but unless you happen to like the group of travelers that are staying at the hostel at any given moment, there is not a whole lot to do in the surrounding area.
The Spot Backpackers hostel has its own private access to the beach and offers free surf boards and boats for the river a five minute walk along the beach. There is not much in Umtentweni, but the sea and river activities, closeness to Oribi Gorge and being right on the beach make this a great Spot!
This hostel is directly off the beach and is reached by a quiet back road. It is a Baz Bus stop and has off road parking behind a padlocked gate, but the nearest bus and train station is a few miles away in Port Shepstone. There is a restaurant / bar at the bottom of the road, approximately a five minute walk away, but little else. A walk to the Spar will take around half an hour in each direction. However, its isolation makes it a good beach hideaway, with its back garden overlooking the sea and with a gate giving direct access to the beach.
There is a dorm in the main building next to the kitchen which can be noisy as it is used as access and has a window opening to the bar and there is an ensuite off this room. This is where the book exchange is. Outside in a separate block are two more newer dorms, each with three bunks, and the room leads off its own shower area - a small room with a sink and with a toilet and shower cubicle. The bedroom is basic but large and functional, and is generally clean apart from the sand which may come in with the guest.
Outside is a covered bar and pool table area attached to the main building. Inside is a small lounge with TV and video selection and a computer with internet access. Off here is a good sized kitchen with equipment and some storage space. The hostel can get busy at weekends with a good party feel going, and is more quiet in the week. The garden is large and is where tents can be put up. There is a bonfire area and a large table with benches. There is also another picnic table at the bottom of the garden, some hammocks, and a bench overlooking the sea.
This hostel is a good beach getaway, but is not as luxurious as some beach hostels are. It is more geared for surfers or as a base for visiting the Gorge, although own transport is required as the hostel does not offer a travel centre. Without transport, it could get boring for those who are not into doing only beach activities.
There might be backpackers that should get more stars for the kitchen equipment and the overall design -- but the incredibly beautiful location and especially everybody who is working there (dogs included) makes your stay there unforgettable. You come as a guest and you leave as a friend. I haven't seen any better place in SA!
Sadia...you rock!!! The best holiday spot ever! good vibe!! One doesnt feel like a tourist... they make you feel right at home!! good new years party! and good company! All in all a 15 out of 10!!! Just the place to go for a relaxing holiday! Recommended to all eople to try out!
This place is amazing!!! It's located right on the beach with the most friendly helpful and accommodating staff ever!
Pool table, surfboards to borrow and a barbecue (Brai) area, too!
While staying there (in the cabin that overlooks the beach) we often woke up to see humpback whales out in the sea jumping on their backs! It's a hot look!
I would DEFINITELY come and stay there again and recommend if you're in the area that you stay here!!!
This is the kind of hostel in which you inevitably stay longer than you orginally planned. Cool atmosphere, cool location, cool spot!
The Spot Backpackers Reviews from the Web
Liked: the location Disliked: the shower
Liked: directly at the beach, double cabin with sea view was very nice Disliked: showers for budget doubles and dorm
Liked: Close to the beach Disliked: The '4-bed dorm' is actually just bunk beds in the lounge, people walking through all the time, and you can't lock your stuff away.
Liked: It is about 20 seconds from the beach. Disliked: The dorms / showers / bathrooms are not particularly clean. There is no public transport to any of the local activities, except for calling a cab. There is nothing in walking distance except for a grocery store and OK restaurant. Those are about 2km away. The local bar hangout had a strange vibe too. It feels more like a local bar than a hostel.
Liked: It's just on the beach Disliked: Nothing
Liked: good surf and good staff Disliked: no use of kayaks and to secluded
Liked: All, was a beatiful place, very funny and nice people.
I liked a lot. Disliked: NOthing
Liked: Brilliant location, it's situated right on the beach.Staff were really friendly and helpful!!!Rooms were clean, but they were also small and did get quite hot.Overall had we had a really nice time staying at The Spot. Disliked: Lucy left no negative feedback.
Early risers can enjoy a surf or swim in the warm Indian Ocean or watch the sunrise. The rest can roll out of bed, grab a late breakfast and wonder on to the beach. Lazy days drift by soaking up the sunshine or relaxing in a hammock with a good book. If you feel like some action, boost your adrenaline with the highest gorge swing in the world or go shark diving with no cage! Challenge the staff to a game of pool or table tennis or party the night away at the jovial pub. Or take life slowly and veg out for a while watching a movie or sitting around the bonfire chatting to new found friends. Delicious home-cooked meals are available or your can spoil yourself at the many excellent restaurants nearby.
It is said that when the Aloes bloom in winter, the annual sardine run along the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is close at hand. Be on standby during May to July and the chances are good that you will experience one of Natures truly incredible phenomenon. Millions of silvery little fish shoal close inshore as they move north, accompanied by dolphin, whales, sharks and game fish. Nothing is small scale, numbers defy belief, and the frenetic activity of thousands of diving Seagulls produces a spectacle that you will want to tell your grandchildren about. Humans caught up in the magic of the moment, defy the odds and rush into the water to catch some of the fishy bonanza. Located right on the beach where many a shoal has come ashore in the past, THE SPOT is probably the best place to be when the fish arrive. And, after an eventful day, what better than a fish braai (barbeque) South African style, a few cold beers and some story swapping around the fire, with the anticipation of what tomorrow will bring.
ACTIVITIES Free river kayaks up the Mmtentweni river Oribi Gorge Wild 5 has the world’s highest gorge swing in the world, abseiling, hiking and white water rafting Lake Eland Nature Reserve Shark diving at Protea Banks – Advanced divers only Deep sea fishing Whale and dolphin watching Excellent dive courses Shark net tours Surf lessons – best surf conditions in winter Motor bike tours to Wild Coast and Lesotho
Location and Contact
Coming South from Port Shepstone:
Take R102 north from Port Shepstone. Cross over Umzimkulu Bridge. Once over bridge, turn right at second set of traffic lights. Take the second left and the immediate left again into Ambleside Road. Drive to the end of Ambleside Road and the entrance to the Spot is on the right hand side.
Coming North from Durban:
Take Umtentweni off ramp from N2 Toll road. Pay R5,50 at tollbooth and turn left. Follow the road until you get to a set of traffic lights, drive straight through. Take the second left and the immediate left again into Ambleside Road. Drive to the end of Ambleside Road and the entrance to the Spot is on the right hand side
23 Ambleside Road, Umtentweni, Port Shepstone,
KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
The Spot Backpackers is listed on the following booking sites: