R 600, Drakensberg, South Africa
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Inkosana Lodge Drakensberg Reviews
Absolutely fantastic backpackers experience Jul 08, 2010
I've stayed in many backpackers over the years, but never in one as well maintained as Inkosana Lodge. The owner, Ed, clearly understands and cares about the whole budget travel experience. The facilities are spotless and include anything you could possibly want. There are two kitchens, both fully stocked with everything you would need to prepare just about anything you could imagine. There are also outside braiis (bbq grills) that you can use at your leisure. The rooms are cozy and extremely clean, and the beds are very nice to sleep on. We had requested a double room with shared bath, but they were booked at the time, so Ed gave us the more expensive en suite huts at the price of the double shared! The huts were extremely cool; very roomy, tons of hot water, plenty of warm blankets for the cold Drakensberg nights. There were also little touches that made the huts great, like having individual reading lights on either side of the bed, easily switched on or off without having to get up; heavy curtains that allow you to sleep in late with near darkness even on the sunniest of days. There's also a pool on the grounds, which I'm sure is fantastic in the summer. Really great facilities.
Breakfast and supper are available but cost extra. Breakfasts were R40 (about $5) and were served sharply at 8am. Pap, different types of cereals, home-made toast with different types of jam or marmalade, and a huge orange. The supper menu varied, but I didn't get to try one so I really can't vouch for them. There are a few good restaurants in the area as well, such as Thokozisa restaurant, which I've also reviewed.
There is beer and wine in the fridge. Take what you want and just sign on the clipboard for what you have taken and settle it out before you go. Ed can tell you about any and all activities in the area, hikes, horseback rides, helicopter tours, canopy tours, concerts with the Drakensberg Boys Choir etc. He makes it easy to fill your time in the 'berg.
If you do go to the central berg, make sure to call and book with Ed directly. If you book at the information center on the way in to town, the place you stay has to pay a 10% commission to the center. Inkosana is the only backpackers in that immediate area, so if you know you are looking for quality budge accommodations, book directly with Ed. The commission isn't a big deal for the large hotels in the area, but for the backpackers it is a big of a hit on their income.
The prices at the time of our stay were R200 per room for the double w/shared bath and R250 per room for the Huts. I believe the dorm was R150 per person, but I'm not 100% sure. Call Ed at 036 468 1202 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm. You could also camp on the property and pay (I think) R100 per person. Again, best to call and check. These were the prices in July, which isn't the low season for the area, so prices may or may not be different for the high season.
The only thing about the Inkosana lodge and about the Drakensberg in general is you need your own car to get there. You could probably arrange a tour from Durban as well, but renting a car is probably cheaper. There weren't any loud people staying at the lodge, but you do get to listen to the jackals howling all night, which is cool. Don't worry, the walls are pretty thick so the howls are too loud.
I really enjoyed my stay, and I really felt like it was a great travel experience. If you've traveled a lot and have thought about how you would set up the perfect budget accommodations, you'd probably think of something similar to Inkosana Lodge. Very easy for me to recommend.
Part of the Africa Summer 2010 travel blog
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