Trekker’s Hostel Highlights: a Fond Farewell to Wildside Backpackers, Knysna


How I wish this was a review, rather than a farewell to an awesome stop. Wildside Backpackers was set in the prime spot, literally on the beach. Days were spent relaxing in the sun, snorkeling in the rock pools and surfing the waves.

Unfortunately, it seems that the lease was up and the owners were unable to keep this fabulous place open. Hopefully they will find a new location and start again!

Let me tell you a little more about one of my all-time fav hostels

You stand watching the sun set over the ocean, marvelling at the nature reserve and lagoon to your right and the endless surfing beach to your left. You track beach sand into the hostel’s common room and are met with the sound of the dinner bell and the mouthwatering aroma of home-style cooking. That evening you party the night away at the famous – or rather infamous – bar, and enjoy a game or two of pool. There is no TV or internet to be had, just the sun, sea and fresh air, and good company.

The dorms were comfy – anything but stuffy. In the morning the most difficult choice you faced was either having a shower or going for a swim – or why not both? The daily shuttle took you into Knysna to pick up supplies or explore this quaint town.

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Many backpackers decide to stay right in the town, thinking Knysna’s a great spot. However, over the years this wonderful place has become something of a tourist trap, and I was always relieved to know that Wildside was just around the corner. It was a far friendlier and much more relaxed place to stay. Now, however, it is no more – thanks, it seems, to “progress” and greed.

If any of you have stayed at this hostel or, as is my hope, know of its relocation, please add your comments and memories. I would love to hear some of the adventures you had while staying here. Here’s a little contribution to the storybook:

I was taking photos of my friends learning to surf, when, out of nowhere, this very hunky surfer walks up and starts asking how long the girls had been surfing. Within a few moments he strides into the water and gives an hour-long lesson. All 3 of us are kind of speechless but do insist on buying him a drink. Unfortunately, for us, he declines and quite literally jogs off into the sunset. How random is that!

So I don’t have a tip of the week this time, but rather a request for your input and farewells to Wildside Backpackers, possibly one of the most unique beachside hostels ever.

Till next time, keep trekkin’ (sniff)…

Trekker