Thobeka Backpackers Lodge


hammock at reception
reception lounge
outside view for room
at entrance
in front of a room
Family with shower and toilet



(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Thobeka Backpackers Lodge" at 2 Kosi Bay Road, Kosi Bay/Manguzi.)


2 Kosi Bay Road, Kosi Bay/Manguzi, Kosi Bay, South Africa
-26.960515, 32.779212 (accuracy not guaranteed)
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You get what you pay for at a backpacker
The accommodation is rustic and functional. Thobeka is in a rural setting under a canopy of beautiful trees with boardwalks linking the various facilities. It is close to Manguzi town but requires driving to get to the lakes, beach and marine reserve for which permits are required. My experience, judging by the number of expensive cars in the carpark, is that people choose this accommodation to save a few Rands (not knowing what it is) and then expect 5 star accommodation and service. The owner and her assistant are wonderful people who go to great lengths to ensure that guests have a wonderful stay and almost everyone does. Those who don't have themselves to blame due to their unrealistic expectations and unreasonable demands. Its a constant battle keeping wildlife outside in the wild and when filthy guests do not respect the rules and fail to place their rubbish in the plastic bags in the bins provided the result is obvious. The birdlife is wonderful for those who take the time to listen and watch. All tourist activities are priced according to demand in this area but relative to most places I have traveled in the world, it is inexpensive. If you have a complaint, discuss it directly with the owner so that it can be immediately addressed. Eviction is a last resort and done for very good reason but unfortunately, not done enough. Thobeka is what it is -- a backpacker! And for a backpacker, it is lovely.
(New Zealand)
Filthy, Terrible, and a Complete RIPOFF -- Please do not go there
The so called accommodation and facilities at Thobeka Lodge is extremely filthy, unhygienic for human dwelling. This accommodation is more for rats that live and breed there. This is a complete rip off. Many of the visitors there are foreign and they are lead to believe that we live in such terrible conditions in SA. They are also held to ransom as they are stuck there and have no means to get out to find better suitable accommodation. One should rather sleep on the beach than to pay for a "bed" at this place. I am sure that the owner is skilled at luring innocent people to this place and then ripping them off. She is extremely rude and arrogant to the guests and does not care for their well being. She is a complete B * * * H. She should go back to her own country and stop stealing from innocent people. I really wish that the local authorities would shut down her operation and lock her up for theft & fraud.
(South African)
Rats in bed, rude owner, and far from the beach
My parents had booked a double room while me, my brother and my sister had booked a bunk bed each. Going to bed, I pulled down the mosquito net and lifted the duvet to tuck my legs under it. At this point, I saw a rat running towards the foot of the bed. As I jumped out of bed and removed the duvet completely, I found rat babies asleep at the foot of the bed. Me and my siblings were offered another room by the owner, but as the walls of that room were of the same kind as of the room with the bunk beds (rats could enter), we felt too uncomfortable and slept in the car. The next day, to our surprise, the owner of the backpackers' demanded that we pay for "camping on her premises". Given that we had found rats in bed the night before, making us so uncomfortable that we rather slept in the car (very unpleasant), we found this demand highly unreasonable. As we refused to pay, the owner reacted by patronizing my father (amongst other things, she called him "my boy"), and claimed that we were "people coming from the city expecting things to be like they are there". If we should have expected finding rats in bed and then paying for sleeping three grown-ups in a car, then yes she is right. We did not expect that. Since the accommodation is in the middle of the forest, 2 km from the closest proper road, we could safely have moved the car outside the backpacker premises -- had we only known that she was intending to charge us. Speaking of location, the photos in the backpacker booklet "Alternative Route" (which is distributed at BazBus stops) gives the impression that Thobeka Backpackers is located on or very close to the beach. This is misleading. One needs a car to get from the backpacker's to the beach gate (yes, it costs money to enter), and if one does not have a 4x4 one must then walk for 30-45 minutes to get to the actual beach.
Poor business ethics at Thobeka Lodge
We booked a campsite for 8 days at a cost of just under R4000 as the lodge was full over xmas period. We were told that there are 2 fully equipped kitchens. When we got there, I was threatened to be evicted, as she is not making any money out of us, because we are using the kitchen. I was shouted at 2x for using a hairdrier for 3 min. My son was threatened to be evicted as he took a Foreign client out with him for a day. Thobeka lures foreign tourists and then capitalise on them being stranded at the resort without a 4x4. They charge R225 pp to drop you off at Kosi Bay mouth with a snorkel. You can drive there, get a permit for R30 and walk down, or organise a lift at R75 per person from the lodge there. A turtle tour through Thobeka cost R400 pp. The Park at Sodwana offers guided turtle tours at R120 per person. If you exit Thobeka lodge, turn right for 500 meters, drive towards the kosi bay lodge -- you can park your car in the shade and walk 500 meters through the most beautiful forest to the 3rd of the four Kosi lakes. No cost involved. You can drive to the border post -- 8km. Get your own visa if you are not from SA and get a taxi to take you to Ponta da Ouro. This excursion is costing around R400 as well through Thobeka. Please make sure that you investigate the Kosi bay attractions and price options before you go to Thobeka. There is nothing to do and nowhere to go other than their excursions.
(South African)
Very unfriendly with poor service.
My friend and I made a booking at the backpackers. After a few days the owner sent us an email requesting us to pay upfront. I contacted him and told him that we were willing to pay a deposit but not the full amount. He then complained that he doesn't want people to "stuff up his business." He also proceeded to tell us we were not allowed to bring a four-by-four vehicle as he does not want us giving the international guests free lifts nor telling them them that the beach was in walking distance. The reason he gave was that he makes makes people pay for the lifts only he may provide. I told him that as a fellow businessmen in the hospitality industry I felt that that was unethical. Before I could pay the deposit I received a phone call telling me that we were not welcome as he does not want anyone interfering with his business. He said that he had had a slow year and this was his chance to make more money off the guests. I have had many poor encounters and experiences in my eight-odd years backpacking in three different continents, but never have I experienced such blatant exploitation. As a fellow South African in the hospitality industry I feel embarrassed that tourists whom we depend on are mistreated in such a fashion. This Gentleman, if I may call him that, gives us all a bad name.
(South Africa)

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