The B.I.G. Backpackers

Behind the Scenes at the BIG Backpackers

+27 21 - 434 06 88
18 Thornhill road | Green Point | Cape Town
The B.I.G: BackPackers In Green Point

Behind the Scenes at the BIG Backpackers

We pushed aside the fluff to give you the real deal on the Cape Town hostel that’s topped TripAdvisor in its first two years of operation

 Since thrusting open its doors in 2012, the Backpackers in Green Point (BIG) has blasted off on the hostel equivalent of a Hollywood-esque meteoric rise to fame. For those who don’t speak ‘traveller’, that means that the incredibly charming budget accommodation has skyrocketed to the top of the TripAdvisor rankings, where it continues to alternate holding pole position and second place with a few long-time Cape Town favourites.

And while so many of Tinseltown’s calamitous celebrities have showed that this kind of sudden ascent into the spotlight can lead to a faster fall from grace, the BIG has done anything but self-destruct.

On the contrary, the boutique hotel-style backpackers has only perfected its act, which means that come 2014, its staff members bend over even further backwards for visitors, its already well-appointed rooms come kitted out with new and improved creature comforts and its mission of making every Cape Town holiday unforgettable is all the more easily realised.

To give you an even better idea of the thoughtfulness behind this one-of-a-kind Mother City hostel, we’ve gone behind the scenes to bring you the true B-I-G story.


7am. Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! Silence your phone alarm and catch a few last minutes of shut-eye. Even the BIG’s bunks have individual bedside shelves, so there’s no need to channel your inner Russian gymnast to reach down and turn off your annoying wake-up call – meaning, you can sync back into that semi-interrupted REM cycle without too much hassle.  

8am. Throw back the hostel’s signature white sheets and hit the showers. Aside from the guest house-level linen, the BIG provides every visitor with two puppy-soft towels. As seasoned globetrotters themselves, the staff knows there’s nothing worse than drying yourself with that weird travel towel.  So enjoy the thoughtful luxury while you can.

9am. Once you’re so fresh and so clean, head to the BIG’s downstairs kitchen for the hostel’s version of a continental breakfast (it’s on the house!). Alongside the juice, seasonal fruit, yoghurt, cereal and toast, you’ll also find some of the Mother City’s best coffee (by Deluxe Coffeeworks) and make-your-own eggs. And since the kitchen is fully equipped, you don’t have to wage war with others over a single rusty spoon or a lone plate.

10.30am. Chat up one of the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed staff members about possible recs and tour booking. There are always two people on duty – one to handle logistics and one to answer questions – so you’ll never be left hanging. Furthermore, the BIG houses an on-site travel centre, and the team has tried and tested every excursion they recommend. So, there’s no excuse for not ticking off all those Cape Town bucket list inclusions.

11am. Conquer the city! If you’re not taking part in a scheduled tour, you can still get from point A to point B quite easily thanks to two nearby MyCiTi bus stops. Oh, and if it’s summer and  you want to soak up the sun on one of Clifton’s golden beaches, hire an umbrella from the BIG – don’t forget there’s a hole in the ozone layer that hangs over South Africa.

3pm. After a day of adventure, head back to the backpackers for some down time. If it’s warm enough, grab a beer from the honesty bar and take a dip in the pool. Otherwise, wrap yourself in the comfy extra blanket that the backpackers provides and cosy up to the state-of-the-art wood-burning Jetmaster fireplace. Winter never sounded so appealing, hey?

4pm. Send off a few proverbial traveller's emails and social media posts while you’re chilling (pictures of the resident hound, Wazi, make especially good Facebook fodder). The BIG has free Wi-fi and boosters in three places, so you’ll nearly always have a sound connection. Needless to say, you can write all about those cheetahs in the backyard and the lions in the street without braving a dodgy internet café ;)

6.30pm. Smash some traditional South African nosh! Once a week the backpackers hosts a genuine Mzansi braai (barbeque) or whips up an authentic potjiekos (stew cooked in a cast iron pot over coals). For a small fee, you can get in on the grub and enjoy a home-cooked meal even thousands of kilometres from your mother’s kitchen.

9pm. It’s time to jol, as we say in SA. Get ready to wreak havoc on Long Street, the Mother City’s party artery, or ask the good people at the BIG for an alternative nightlife reccie – they always know what’s on. Though, if you’re feeling like an evening in, simply get comfortable in the couch room and flip on the satellite television. As it’s far enough away from the fray of the city centre, the hostel remains nice and quiet even as the witching hour approaches.

2am. After you’ve had your fill of the club, head back to your home-away-from-home for some sweet, sweet shut-eye. Believe it or not, the BIG’s beds are uber comfy. Even the scorned bottom bunks, which have been built to provide extra sitting-up space, make for Zzzzz palaces! Good thing too because tomorrow is another day in wonderful Cape Town, and you need your rest!


To book a stay at the BIG, phone +27 (0) 21 434 0688, email or visit the BIG's website.


Want to find out why this hostel charges bottom-floor rates for an experience that’s nearly on par with a boutique hotel overnight? Read more about the BIG in Cape Town.


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