Fair Trade at Sani Lodge Backpackers

Winona Griggs

Discover Fair Trade at Sani Lodge Backpackers

Have you ever heard of Fair Trade Tourism? It might be a phrase you’ve come across before, but do you know what it really means? Let me introduce you to Fair Trade Tourism, an organization that is all about responsible tourism in Africa.

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast while supporting Fair Trade businesses. It was an adventure that I couldn’t wait to share with you. And now, I’m excited to tell you about my journey to KwaZulu-Natal, where I discovered the magic of Fair Trade at Sani Lodge Backpackers, nestled at the base of the majestic Drakensberg mountains.

I was on a journey, driving inland for six hours to reach the Underberg. My route took me through different places, like Mthatha, a village where Winnie Mandela went to school. Continuing on the N2, I passed through Qumbu, Mount Frere, and Mount Ayliff, until I finally crossed into Kokstad. I took a break there to stretch my legs.

The roads started to become smoother, and the language on the radio stations changed from isiXhosa to isiZulu. As I traveled through KwaZulu-Natal, the countryside was calm, and the sight of majestic mountains made me even more excited to reach Sani Pass.

Image by Ondela Mlandu

As I drove through the untouched wilderness, surrounded by ancient trees and the absence of any modern vehicles, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of anticipation. The majestic Drakensberg Mountain Range loomed ahead, and the music on my playlist filled the air. I pressed on towards Underberg, and eventually made the turn towards Himeville.

READ  5 backpackers in Johannesburg for R300 or less per person

Located in the Southern Drakensberg, Sani Lodge is nestled within the scenic beauty of the Mkhomzana Valley. It’s not just any ordinary accommodation in a random village. Instead, you’ll find the lodge on the left side of the Sani Pass Road.

I want to introduce you to Russell Suchet, the owner of Sani Lodge Backpackers. He’s been coming to the Drakensberg since he was a kid, when his family would take vacations here. Can you imagine how incredible that must have been? The memories he must have made exploring this stunning area.

In May 1992, Russell decided to share his love for the Drakensberg by opening Sani Lodge Backpackers. Back then, backpackers were called youth hostels. It’s amazing to think about how much the lodge has grown over the years. From just two dorms, three rondavels, and a long-drop toilet, it has expanded to cover five acres of land, complete with a restaurant, self-catering cottages, dormitories, and more rondavels. But it’s not just about the facilities, it’s also about the people. In 2006, Russell and his team joined Fair Trade, and now most of their staff come from the local community. They really care about giving back.

When I arrived at Sani Lodge, I was relieved that the weather was not too cold. This meant I could embark on a short hike along the Giant’s Cup Trail. The area has a range of day hikes, each marked with clear signs, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. The hikes can last anywhere from one to eight hours, depending on your preference. And the best part is that you can get route maps and the necessary wildlife permit right from Sani Lodge. They’ve got everything you need to make your adventure in the Drakensberg a memorable one.

READ  5 fabulous backpacker spots near Durban for under R300 per person

I can’t believe how easy the trail was! You don’t have to be an experienced hiker to enjoy it. After just two hours, I was starving, so I headed over to Giant’s Cup Café. There, I devoured a mouthwatering home-cooked meal prepared by Mbali Mtolo from the KwaThintwa community. The steak, chips, and salad were absolutely delicious! On another occasion, I treated myself to their freshly baked scones and a heavenly milkshake.

What I loved about the Underberg was that the sun rises a bit later here, so I didn’t feel guilty about sleeping in. I didn’t want to rush back to the city either. Living a simpler life for those few days really made me appreciate the little things. And the best part? Knowing that the money I spent on this incredible experience was going towards improving the lives of others.

Image by Ondela Mlandu

Where your money goes

In 2014, Sani Lodge Backpackers established an education fund for the children in our community. We called it the Funda Reading Club, a project that involves reading age-appropriate books donated by local South African authors. Our goal is to nurture the imaginations and knowledge of the children in our community.

When you choose to travel with us, you’re not just choosing an ordinary backpackers lodge. You’re choosing a responsible and sustainable way to explore the world. We believe in the principles of Fair Trade, which ensure that our operations are ethical and transparent. This means that the profits we generate directly benefit our community.

Image by Ondela Mlandu

Here’s what you can do

At Sani Lodge Backpackers, we offer a range of accommodation options to suit your needs:

  • Camping facilities starting at R95 per person
  • Dormitories for R180 per person
  • Standard rooms for R500, perfect for two people
  • En-suite rondavels at R640 per person
READ  Kevin Hart South Africa Tour: Dates, Tickets, and More

For bookings or more information, call us at 0337020330.

Hey there! The Sani Lodge has loads of cool stuff for you to do at Sani Pass. You can check out the amazing Bushman rock art, go on a day trip or even stay overnight in the Drakensberg and Lesotho, go horse riding, or do some bird watching.

Psst, let me tell you about the Giant’s Cup Café at Sani Pass. This place is awesome! They make their coffee with Fair Trade organic coffee beans, so you know it’s the good stuff. And get this, they use fresh milk and dairy products straight from their own Jersey cow. How cool is that? Don’t forget to try their milkshakes, they’re only R15. The café is open every day. Give them a call at 0337020330. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Image by Ondela Mlandu

Image by Ondela Mlandu

Leave a Comment