Eco-Friendly Accommodation in Cape Town, South Africa: The Backpack

In a bid to lower my carbon footprint when travelling, I’ve taken to choosing ‘green’ accommodation options when I’m abroad. This means a little more research than usual before booking a stay, but results in opting for places that are actively trying to lessen their own carbon footprint (and therefore mine too).

The Backpack, in Cape Town, South Africa was my first port of call when booking accommodation here.

Disclaimer: Isaac and I received two nights complimentary accommodation in exchange for social media coverage and this blog post. We also booked and paid to stay an additional two nights at the end of our trip, as we loved it.

The Backpack Accommodation Options

This isn’t some characterless hostel; the Backpack is a huge accommodation which covers a number of Victorian houses and can accommodate up to 100 guests.

There are a range of rooms available. Dorm rooms are either 8 bed, 4 bed or 4 bed female only rooms. Lockers are large enough to store your luggage inside and there are plenty of electric sockets. Twin rooms can come with or without a private bathroom, and single and double rooms can come with or without an ensuite. You can also stay in a 2-bed tent, a 2 bed self-catered apartment, or a family room – there really is an option for everyone.

Shared areas include a a fully equipped kitchen (perfect if you’re sticking around for a while or on a budget), the bar/dining area (a great place to socialise), and the pool – ideal in the heat! The hostel looks out to a beautiful view of Table Mountain which you can see from many of the rooms and the pool.

The Backpack’s Social Responsibility Projects

The Backpack ensures ‘staff upliftment and empowerment’ through a number of initiatives such as: paying the living wage, encouraging education opportunities and self-development courses, running apprenticeships, mentoring and training programmes, having a value programme through a code of ethics – creating a culture of recognition, honesty, community, trust & respect, plus health and retirement programmes for its employees.

The Backpack has also initiated many projects within the city of Cape Town. These include:

  • a Bursary scheme, where you can donate your R50 key deposit to go towards payment of studies for staff in the Backpack and their children.
  • The Vallies Stitch and Bitch programme, where the Backpack worked with residents of retirement homes to knit over one hun­dred blan­kets for orphans at a local crèche.
  • The GCU, a football project introduced in a low-income area of Cape Town, keeps kids off the streets and in school; this extends to an after-school homework, tutoring and life skills programme too – important in an area where the average child drops out of school aged 12.
  • Partnering with a company called Pack for a Purpose, where travellers can use space they have left in their luggage to bring items to their destination for use by those in need, such as books, games, clothing and stationery items.

The Backpack’s Green Initiatives

As always I was happy to see that the Backpack choose to lessen their environmental impact as much as possible through simple but effective changes that lower the carbon footprint of the establishment, and in turn, of its guests.

Solar hot water geysers are fixed to the roof of the property and shower heads are ‘water-wise’. Tap water is made available to guests in reusable glass bottles and no plastic bottles are stocked in the bar. Napkins and food containers are compostable or bio-degradable.

Clean­ing prod­ucts are mostly bio-degradable; containers are refilled. LED light bulbs are used where possible, and colour-coded recycling bins ensure things are disposed of in the correct way.

In the garden they have worm farms! This is where vegetable waste from the kitchen goes, and scraps go in the compost.

Local artists’ arts and crafts are on sale in the com­mu­nity shop, and discarded beer bottle tops are donated to a local artist who creates fridge magnets and other crafts with them.

There are even more initiatives I haven;’t gone into here, but it seems the Backpack really do think of any possibility to ensure waste is reused, recycled or disposed of in the most sustainable way or to help the local community.

Thanks for reading and happy travels!

Abbi X

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post as detailed above, and contains affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase something from the linked site, I’ll earn a tiny (and I mean tiny!) commission at no extra cost to you, which contributes to running this blog. All opinions are, as always, my own.

One response to “Eco-Friendly Accommodation in Cape Town, South Africa: The Backpack”

  1. Well written blog post and thank you for choosing to stay at The Backpack. Happy travels.


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