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Backpackers route, South Africa

Central Location

on the main backpackers route.

KZN Midlands wildlife & scenery

Lots To See & Do

Experience the unrivalled variety of the Midlands.

Nelson Mandela Capture Site museum

Mandela Capture Site Museum

Visit the scene of Nelson Mandela's arrest.

Bumpkins Backpackers location

Spectacular Location!

We're situated on a farm at the foot of a mountain, with loads of things to see & do.

Backpackers doing a canopy tour through indigenous forest

Canopy Tours

A 2 hour zip-line adventure through indigenous forest.

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Welcome to the Countryside!

A Fun Backpackers Set In The Spectacular KwaZulu-Natal Midlands

Looking for some fun on your tour of South Africa? Get on down to Bumpkins Backpackers, set in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

We're alongside the N3, the main highway from Johannesburg to Durban, and right on the most popular backpacking route. The Midlands are between the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and the drop down to the coastal plains. It's a uniquely beautiful, countrified area and is one of South Africa's tourism playgrounds, offering a huge variety of things to see and do. Whether you're interested in scenery, African wildlife, hiking, art, history, culture, food, adrenaline activites, or just good old lazing around and partying, the Midlands has it all.

The backpackers lodge is at a spectacular location, on a guest farm at the foot of a mountain. The accommodation is clean and comfortable, and designed for a backpacker's budget. Our atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming and provides a place where you can meet fellow travellers as well as party with the local yokels. We have self-catering kitchens, with plenty of supermarkets just down the road in the town of Howick, but also offer budget meals with an accent on African cuisine. If you want to eat out there are plenty of restaurants in the area.

The Midlands has perhaps the greatest variety of tourist attractions in South Africa. Here are some of the things you can see and do:

  • Mandela Capture Site Museum - this is the place where our former president, Nelson Mandela, was arrested by the apartheid authorities after being on the run, and began his 27-year incarceration. A large museum has been built on the site, with many exhibits detailing his life and his Long Walk To Freedom.
  • Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve - the headquarters of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa. This 900ha educational centre has a variety of species such as giraffe, zebra, warthog, blesbuck, as well as species endemic to the KZN Midlands such as the Karkloof Blue butterfly and the Midlands Dwarf Chameleon. It does not have the more dangerous species of game such as lion and elephant, and you can walk around amidst the zebra and antelope and get an idea of what life in the African wilderness was like a century ago.
  • Howick Falls - 95 metres high, this is one of South Africa's highest waterfalls. Zulu legend has it that a huge monster with the body of a snake and a horse's head - South Africa's Loch Ness Monster - lives in the pool at the bottom of the falls. Have a look from the viewing deck or take a walk to the bottom of the falls to look for the Inkhayamba, before visiting one of the curio shops or art galleries in the area, or grab a drink and a bite to eat at the local pub.
  • The Midlands Meander - the Midlands are famous for the Meander. It was started as an arts and crafts route by potter Ian Glenny in the 1980's, and over the years has grown to include restaurants, shops, speciality food and wine producers and a craft brewery.
  • Skydiving, Ballooning & Glider flights - there are 2 airfields in the area: one in Pietermaritzburg and one at Underberg. Both offer skydiving and glider flights, and we can also arrange for hot-air baloon trips over the Midlands.
  • Township Tours - get a taste of life in an Africa!
  • Zulu Culture Tours
  • Battlefields Tours
  • Midmar Dam
  • Zipline Canopy Tours
  • Horse Trails
  • San Rock Art
  • The Drakensberg Mountains
  • Mountain Biking


There are always things to do for free, whether it's taking a walk through the countryside or playing a game of cards, backgammon or chess with other backpackers. But we also provide plenty of things for free to help with your budget, such as:

  • Free welcome drink
  • Free Sunday dinner, consisting of traditional South African stew cooked over an open fire in a cast iron pot (potjie)
  • Free tea and coffee
  • Free breakfast - help yourself to bread, butter and jam
  • Free accommodation on your fifth night
  • Free WiFi - 100mb per day
  • Free pool table

Backpacking Advice

Not sure about where to go, what to do, how much to pay or what to pack? We make recommendations based on years of backpacking around Africa.

We want you to have a fantastic holiday, so pack your backpack, get here and get ready for some fun.

Midlands Meander art & crafts

Arts & Crafts on the Midlands Meander

The KZN Midlands are famous as an art destination.

Nottingham Road Brewery beers

Horse Whispering & Trails

Through the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Township tours

Township Tours

Experience a slice of African life!

Backpackers accommodation

Clean 'n Comfy Accommodation

Doubles & Camping.

Skydiving for backpackers


Canoeing, Swimming & Suntanning around our Dam

Accommodation exterior

Excellent accommodation

surrounded by forest.

Mountain Biking and Trail Running

Great camping spots

Set in a magical fairyland.

Hiking Trails Volleyball Canoeing Swimming Suntanning Free WiFi 5th Night Free
Free Friday Dinner (Potjiekos) Free Welcome Drink Free Breakfast (Toast & Jam) Free Tea & Coffee
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Want to hike to the top of Tugela Falls, Africa's highest waterfall? Karma is the Drakensberg backpackers that is closest to the start of the Amphitheatre hike, and has a reputation for fantastic hospitality.
Traveling to Durban? Ballito is the best place to stay, and Monkey Bay is one of the top-rated Durban backpackers - chilled vibe, excellent location in a safe suburb, close to the beach, and closest to King Shaka airport.
If you're not a backpacker, but are looking for Midlands Meander accommodation, we recommend Mount Park Guest Farm. Set in the spectacularly beautiful Dargle Valley in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands, Mount Park has a reputation for good value, with a wide range of activities for the whole family to enjoy.