In The Press


Backpacking is a lure in the worldwide web of travel

Travel Editor CAROL LAZAR suggest backpacking is the ideal way for your people with plenty of enthusiasm but not much money to travel

For young travelers, backpacking is definitely the way to go. Today, there is a worldwide network of backpackers' associations geared to help young folk setting out to explore their own or other countries with plenty of enthusiasm and limited budgets.

One of the best ways to inform yourself about what's available is to get onto the Internet and do a search. Type in the relevant words “backpacker travel” or “youth travel” - or whatever it is you want information about.

If you are traveling to a specific country, then do a search on backpacking in that country. You will pick up all sorts of useful information, from hostel accommodation to cheap ways of getting around to discounts for backpackers, ect.

Several countries are readily geared up for backpackers – Australia and New Zealand for instance. The Australians have done extensive research and discovered that backpackers visiting their country stayed far longer and generated as much tourism revenue, if not more, as did the five-star, up market travelers who visited for just a few day.

The Australians then mounted a campaign to encourage backpackers to visit their country. Countrywide, facilities were increased and upgraded and today, backpackers visiting Australia will find themselves welcomed wherever they travel. They will also find a pretty high standard of accommodation and other facilities available at competitive prices.

In South Africa , local tourist authorities are slowly waking up to the fact that backpackers are keen travelers, they stay for lengthy periods and they need to eat, sleep and feed themselves. They are, over a length of time, considerable spenders.

For young South Africa , especially those form disadvantaged backgrounds; backpacking is an ideal way to get around. Besides being affordable, it enables youngsters to meet other travelers from all over the world.

Year ago, I backpacked my way through Africa . At the time, I thought I was extremely adventurous because, for political reasons, we were not terribly welcome in a few countries.

I remember signing a visitors book at some museum in Tanzania , writing my name and then boldly (I thought) writing: from South Africa ” after it. “You bloody stupid idiot,” said my two traveling companions, both Kiwis, “You'll probably be arrested”.

Happily, now as South Africans we are the flavor of the month wherever we go.

Some useful numbers for aspiring backpackers are:

Youth Hostel South Africa , phone: 021-427-7721, e-mail: and website:

SASTS – Working Adventurers: phone 011-880-5414, e-mail:

Overseas Visitors Club, phone: 011-726-1331, 012-346-6972, and website:

Baz bus, the hop-on, hop-off backpackers' bus that take you all over South Africa dropping you at your hostel's doors, phone: 021-439-2323, e-mail: and website:

Useful websites: backpackers_natio nwide.htm

Finally, on Google (or any search engine) type in “backpackers South Africa ” and you will find hundreds of websites popping up- all of internet.


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