The Hostelz.com Review - Genuine, independent review you can trust.
German-owned The Pink Papaya is a rustic, dinky little house in a secure, gated compound, right opposite the Manica governor’s residence on Rua Pigivide a ten-minute walk from the town centre and five minutes from the main bus station.
Chimoio is the most westerly, big Mozambique town on the road to/from Zimbabwe and the only one with bona fide backpacker accommodation. As it's located a convenient ninety minutes or so from the border, it is a handy stopover on the way deeper into Mozambique and provides all the amenities such as international ATMs, internet cafes, and easy bus connections.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The Pink Papaya has a family room (one double, plus two single beds), a double room, and a ten-bed dorm. All beds have mosquito nets and there is plenty of room for luggage and bedside tables are provided. The dorm has a little veranda with chairs for sitting out on, overlooking a small pen for the guesthouse chickens and guinea pigs (not on the menu!). There are plenty of power points in each room, but visiting in winter, we could have done with more than just a single blanket. All the bed linen is freshly washed and ironed. The mattresses are firm and comfortable, though. All rooms share a single toilet and shower room. The shower is instant and the toilet is bucket-flushed.
In addition to the aforementioned dorm veranda, there is another sitting/dining area in the ramshackle back garden, complete with caravan and there are a few books around for exchange. There is a small kitchen with some basic cooking facilities for guests, including a kettle and a two-hob electric cooker. A few beers, soft drinks, and water are sold from the fridge. There are several noticeboards scattered around with leaflets and recommendations of other accommodation around Mozambique and beyond and there are two guest comment books filled with travelers’ thoughts and suggestions.
This is very much an old-fashioned-style backpacker place. It’s rustic and no frills, but with a nice intimacy and charm. There is no Wi--Fi or DSTV that seem almost to be the staples of the more modern places, so you make your own entertainment here. There is a security guard on duty at night and it’s handy for those 3 or 4 a.m. departures by bus that seem to be the norm in Mozambique. There’s not a lot of competition in this part of Mozambique, but The Pink Papaya will not disappoint if you overnight here.
Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Published on 2016-10-16
Verified Reviews by our Community
Friendly, safe, and affordable
there are now new owners of the pink papaya, a german couple, anja and freido, they are equally as pink as helen who opened up the papaya. you will find them to be very helpful and friendly -- just like the kind of hostel you would would find on the original backpackers path back in the days when backpacking started. they still offer trips to gorongosa national park and other nearby beauty spots. the quinta de frontiera trip in the penhalonga mountains is a very special and romantic place to see.
helena and willy
A great rest in between transport
Warning -- the pictures must be a bit dated as they do not prepare you for the pinkness of The Pink Papaya. The CD player to the toilet paper is pink. Our room was a little rundown, but over all a nice place with clean rooms. I did not stay long in Chimoio and from the looks of the town I did not want to, but this was the perfect place to get a good night's stay before starting on transport the next day. It is close to Internet, only a few blocks from the bus depot, and the night watch man will walk you down and make sure you get on your bus safely. They give a map to help you find things in the area. The staff was great and we had a great dinner of spaghetti. Clifford was very helpful. When we could not find a bus to Tete the next day he went down and bought the tickets for us!
We have stayed for nearly one week (November 2006) at the Pink Papaya and are very satisfied with the hospitality of Helen. We recommend coming visitors to stay more than one day, to be able to visit the near cheese farm, the forest retreat lodge outside Chimoio and go with Helen to Gorongosa National park and sleep one night in the park. The Pink Papaya is situated in a very quiet area and you will meet a lot of interesting local people while drinking a beer.
I stayed at The Pink Papaya Forest Retreat (Catandica Ranch) last week and can honestly say, having lived in Mozambique for three years, that this is my fave place to relax and enjoy the peaceful ambience and natural surrounding beauty. You can simply chill with a book and feel like the only person in the world or just sit by the river and gaze at the variety of birds and butterflies that pass your way. Helen and Scruff are a fab couple and great hosts -- kind, helpful, and a real laugh! This huge farm has some really interesting origins as Scruff, who was a farmer in Zimbabwe for many years, will tell you. With the current situation in Zimbabwe, Scruff found himself moving to Mozambique to restart his business and is working extremely hard to develop the business which will provide employment for even more local people. The prices too are fantastic, just $5 for camping, $10 in the dormitory and $15 for the en-suite chalets. (Prices are per person per night).
I love Pink Papaya. Helen is such a lovely hostess with tons of interesting stories of life in Mozambique. And she does an amazing forest retreat up to a farm in Catandica, which is one of my favorite places in the world. I have stayed there about four or five times and feel so refreshed and invigorated everytime (guess that's why I keep going back). The cozy chalets, gorgeous scenery, and hanging out around the campfire at night -- well, you can't beat it! I'm only sad that I live in Bolivia now and can't get back there anytime soon.
Helen knows just what a weary backpackers-bus-battered backside needs after a long ordeal on a Moz bus. Chimoio is also in my honest opinion the second nicest town in Moz. (Inhambane is a little nicer). Stock up at the Shoprite before heading further south or north. Take advantage of one of the day trips for an insight into how most of Moz lives (it's quite humbling really).
This is a really homely and friendly place to stay. The trips that Helen organizes are well worth doing and staying an extra day for (it also breaks the long journey up from the other destinations). We would highly recommend the overnight farm stay for a truly authentic night in the bush in Africa.
Ben and Karen (NZ)
This is a new hostel, honestly is going to be a new hostel. Helen, an English ex-backpacker who moved to Mozambique, hosts backpackers in her house turned to hostel whilst waiting for the final approval from the local authorities to open a proper backpackers place. Since there are only two rooms so far where she can accommodate people, make sure you phone her to see if she has any place left (on a bed or on a mattress on the floor).
The "hostel" is in a beautiful old colonial house just 10 minutes away from the bus and train station at the corner of Rua de Pigivide and Rua 3 de Febreiro. There's no sign on the door yet, but if you call Helen she'll come pick you up so that you won't have any problem finding the house.
Chimoio is not known as the most exciting or fun of Mozambican cities, but meeting Helen can cure you of this misconception. She'll show you around the surrounding countryside, introduce you to the local farmers or Zim ex-pats, and if you're lucky, get you an invitation to their "mansions" or a free ride to Zimbabwe, Malawi, or northern Mozambique.
This is a small and friendly hostel. The house is old colonial style with a homely feel about it, has a BBQ in the garden for backpackers and to cook on and sit round the fire afterwards with a cold drink etc! it also has a well equipped self catering kitchen to cook and a hot shower, bar and and safe parking.
traditionally, people just passed through chimoio on route to the coast, to Zimbabwe or Malawi, but now there is lots to do in chimoio if you want a change from the beach scene.
Trips to Penhalonga or Chimanimani Mountains to hiking and enjoy a beautiful landscape with waterfalls, an old botanical garden, simply wonderful...
trips to gorongosa national park which is recently been reopened. trips are at backpacker rates andare cheeper if there are 2 or 5 people.
trips to the forest retreat on a farm 100kms north of chimoio. stay on a newly opened zimbabwean run farm. hear abouyt the plight of the zim farmers etc. great walks around the area and canoeing on a river with abundant birdlife and butterflies.
chimoio tour, see the beautiful colonial architecture from the days of the portugese, hear how chimoio originated, visit mozambiques only cheese factory and buy tasty gouda cheese for your bus journeys. stop at an art gallery, see the old mans head rock. 250mtn each.
all these trips can be organised through helen at the pink papaya
and please be aware ....everything is painted pink!!
Location and Contact
Rua Pigivide, Casa 795, Chimoio,
Pink Papaya hostel (Backpackers) is listed on the following booking sites: