Home Is Where The Heart Is
Karma Backpackers is situated in the town of Kestell, midway between Johannesburg and Durban, and on the doorstep of the Drakensberg Mountains. We have a reputation for comfortable accommodation in a homely, relaxed environment. Our location at the centre of the main backpackers route makes us the ideal stopover for hiking the Drakensberg and exploring Lesotho, and our small-town hospitality makes for a beautifully out-of-the-ordinary, memorable experience.
We are a small, intimate backpackers catering to a maximum of 17 guests. Our accommodation consists of 3 double bedrooms, a family room sleeping four and a separate dorm which sleeps six. We're in a house with large bedrooms (5 x 6 metres), a lounge/dining room and a large kitchen. After a long day's hike, you'll appreciate our bathtub, and the outside dorm has its own showers and toilet facilities. The sprung timber floors, wood-burning stoves in the lounge and kitchen, and old-fashioned hot water bottles in the beds on cold winter nights contribute to our cozy atmosphere. On warm summer days our guests can barbecue on our patio or sit and chat in one of our garden's little hideaways.
The main attractions in the area are the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains and in particular, the thrilling day trip to the top of Tugela Falls - Africa's highest waterfall, with a dizzying 948 metre drop into the famous Amphitheatre. It's a must-see on your tour of South Africa, and we are the nearest backpackers to the start of the hike. There are several other Drakensberg hikes, ranging from 45 minute walks through the wonderful scenery of Golden Gate Highlands National Park, to the 12-day Grand Traverse in the capable hands of Zee - South Africa's top woman Mountain Guide. Seeing some of the tens of thousands of San rock paintings in the area, cross-border trips into the mountain kingdom of Lesotho and visits to the charming tourist town of Clarens are also on the menu.
Your hosts are Vera Ann and Lucio, who established the backpackers in 2004. Bilbo and Ruby (our Staffordshire Terriers) and Pixel, our uncomplicated cat, complete our family. Vera Ann is well known in foodie circles for her creative, award-winning homemade jams, a selection of which is always available for you to taste or to have for breakfast - free! Coffee, tea, milk and sugar are also free. Vegetarian breakfasts with muffins, pancakes, homemade yoghurt, stewed fruit and toast are available. For lunch and dinner, our self-catering kitchen is very well equipped, and in season you can help yourself to vegetables from our garden and fruit from our orchard. There are also several supermarkets in Kestell if you need to stock up on groceries. If you prefer to eat out, there is a historic pub in town and several restaurants within driving distance, including our favourite - Demelash Ethiopian Restaurant in Phuthaditjhaba, which is both entirely authentic and reasonably priced, with some of the best coffee in Africa!
Scientists say that all humanity originated in Africa, while backpackers from around the World say that coming to Karma feels like coming home. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not - but regardless, we're looking forward to meeting you!