Santos Express Train Lodge


Get back on track!
Twin Compartment
Great place to hang out!
16 bed dorm
Literally on the Beach
Breakfast with a view!
Deck dining!


The Review

Mossel Bay is all about the beach and Santos Express Train Lodge has the perfect location, right on the beach.

The Location

Mossel Bay is just under four hundred kilometers east of Cape Town on the Garden Route, the well-established tourist trail along the South African coast. Santos Express Train Lodge sits right on the beach in Santos Bay.

Rooms and Bathrooms

This is actually a reclaimed express train and the rooms are in the carriages. There are many doubles, twins, and family rooms, all quite small as they are built to fit in train compartments. The sixteen-bed dorm has a walkway down the middle with the bunks along the windows. The carriage is carpeted and clean, and we slept very well on the comfortable mattresses. There are lockers provided, but bring your own lock. However, there is only one toilet and one shower for the whole dorm. The carriages with the cheaper rooms also have the same problem with not enough bathrooms -- there really needs to be at least one ablutions carriage. Another issue is that the windows do not have curtains. Although the streetside windows are frosted for privacy, the beachside ones are not. The outside lights pour into the carriage all night, and at dawn, the daylight lights the carriage from very early. This could give some people trouble sleeping, as it's never really dark.

Common Spaces

There are no common spaces for guests only. There is a public restaurant and bar. These also have an outside terrace and there is a "beer deck" just outside reception. An internet terminal sits just inside reception and there is free Wi-Fi, but it's not available in the rooms. The signal only reaches the reception area and the restaurant. There is an ATM inside reception also. For drivers, there is plenty of parking space alongside the carriages. The accommodation carriages are fenced from the public with access via your key fob and key, for which there is a refundable deposit to pay.


Clearly, novelty value gives this place good business, but there are issues here, some of them mentioned above. There are no self-catering facilities (a staple of South African hostels) and the lounging area is basically the public beach! That said, it's very clean and pretty comfortable in the dorm, though it could get a bit stuffy in the hot summer. The food in the restaurant is very good, but a little expensive for backpackers. The town centre is a fifteen-minute walk away where there are a lot of other options, though. Free breakfast is provided for private-room guests. Dorm guests must pay for breakfast. If you want convenience over anything else, then this place is great being right by the beach. Otherwise, it's ok for one night. It is very popular, particularly during the December/January domestic tourist season, so you'll need to book ahead.
by Londonroad Staff Reviewer


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Santos Express Train Lodge" at Munro Street.)


Munro Street, Santos Beach, Mossel Bay (Mosselbaai), Western Cape, South Africa
-34.178435, 22.138073 (accuracy not guaranteed)
+27 839007797
+27 865157779
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(235 ratings)
(13 ratings)
(212 ratings)
(3 ratings)
83% Guest Reviews

All in all very good
Very friendly staff and a very cool place to stay. No bad things to say except for the wifi not reaching the room.
Age 28, Finland
Advertises as safe-with a guard and cameras, yet our car was robbed and the camera is not functional and did not capture anything. When discussing the issue, staff was extremely aggressive, rude, and condescending. Worst customer service I have ever experienced, felt extremely attacked and belittled by staff following being robbed on their property! Beyond this our train compartment held 16 people that had to share a single bathroom, step on sleeping strangers to get into their bed, no hallway space to get through, and with one outlet in the entire room. Restaurant food very poor. I am extremely regretful to have stayed here and do not recommend it to anyone under any circumstances.
Age 20, USA
Not what I expected
Very old. Really could do with a slight revamp -- like the duvets need replacing and it wouldn't take much to improve the toilet and shower areas. It's not dirty -- just old. Cheap. Expect this to be more comfy and convenient than camping. I'd say it's below a hostel and way below a B&B. They don't even have plug sockets in the cabins. I'd recommend it to those that really want to save their pennies -- but then they should take their own bedding and minimal luggage -- nowhere to unpack it.
  A great place to stay for a couple of nights. Beds are comfy, staff are friendly and it is RIGHT on the beach.
  I'm surprised this is listed as a B&B — I'd call it a backpackers any day. Go there expecting a B&B and you may be disappointed. Go there expecting a backpackers and you'll probably enjoy it — we did! The cabins are tiny and the beds are a bit on the short side, but the views are lovely, the atmosphere is casual and the food available in the dining car is a good value. A fun place for a short stay.
XV Pilot
  Go to Santos Express Backpackers!!! It is a real train that is "parked" right at the beach! The cabins are tiny tiny tiny so be sure there are just two people in a room. All cabins are facing the sea and it's fun for one or two nights.

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