In The Press

 

Backpackers make touring southern Africa easy

Last weekend I attended the AGM in Mpumalanga of an association known as the BTSA (Backpacker Tourism South Africa) in which backpacker owners, overlanders and adventure activity companies in South Africa have joined forces to market the SA backpacking industry to the international sector. During the past two years the BTSA has exhibited at international travel shows in London, Sydney and Auckland, and has set up the website.ww.btsa.co.za detailing members and regional information about backpacking in southern Africa. The backpacking industry has grown exponentially in the last few years and is closing in on the backpacking Mecca’s of Australia, New Zea Land and Europe. One often thinks that backpackers only exist in major cities but there are far more hostels around today in wonderfully remote areas such as the mountains of Lesotho, in kraals on the Wild Coast and rondavels in KwaZulu Natal. Last year I was lucky enough to spend a few nights at a backpackers in Lesotho highlands called Malealea Lodge where I pony-trekked into the mountains and visited a few Basotho villages along the way. The value-for-money offered by staying at backpackers lodges in South Africa is amazing and most dorm beds range between R60 and R80 a night or R150 to R250 for double rooms.

The friendliness and camaraderie that backpacking offers ensures a care-free holiday for international travelers and South Africans. The myth that backpackers are grubbing places full of dirty travelers is an outdated view. As the competition intensifies and regulations are put in place, many South African backpackers are now considered world class.

During the AGM I stayed at the beautiful Sabie Backpackers in Sabie, where not only did I meet some of the friendliest and funniest people ever, relaxing in their heated pool, but I had the opportunity to visit beautiful places in Mpumalanga such as the Mac Mac Falls, Pilgrim’s Rest, Blyde River Canyon and Graskop, for Harries delicious pancakes. I also managed to spend a relaxing day on a game drive with Baz Bus in the Kruger National Park. Baz Bus offers a hop-on-hop-off transport service in southern African which serves many backpackers and allows travelers the freedom to get from place to place at discounted prices. One of the best things about staying at a backpackers lodge in South Africa are all the activities that are on offer. One can go paragliding, abseiling, climbing, hiking, swimming, diving, shark-watching and dune-surfing – the list is endless. If you would like to more information about backpacking in our beautiful country check out the BTSA website or contact any backpackers for rates and information. Also check out SASTS Working Adventures on www.sasts.org.za or 418 3797.

 
 
 
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