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Brown Sugar Backpackers Reviews

75 Observatory Avenue, Observatory Extension, Johannesburg, South Africa

Reviews & Ratings Explained


365 Total Reviews
  • 79%Value For Money
  • 87%Security
  • 66%Location
  • 82%Staff
  • 78%Atmosphere
  • 79%Cleanliness
  • 84%Facilities

The rating percentage is calculated from customers who booked within the last 12 months.

All ratings and reviews are based on the feedback and opinions of the customers who submitted them and do not express the opinions of Hostelworld.com. This way, you get an up-to-the-minute opinion of just how good a hostel really is.
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I had a single room for the night which was very small but fine and clean. My only slight issue was that it was called "GLASS" this was because it was basically a conservatory and had a glass roof! This was not too much of a problem as I was getting up early so the light did not bother me but would have done if I had wanted a lie in past sun rise.


it was a good hostel to stay. people are really friendly and the place also location was cool


Staff was very nice. However these advertisement of this place is incredibly misleading. It is not walking distance from anything, also if you are walking back after dark the street has large sections with no lights, including a lengthy part next to a park with numerous homeless people. By far the wort part is the hostel apparently regularly rents out to jr school groups. So if you want a bar filled 30 ten year olds, and to be woken up by kids at 7 am, sign up.

  • 18th Aug 2015
  • Novice Nomad
  • Anonymous
  • USA
  • Male, 31-40
  • (1 review)

Owner Comment (Hide)
Dear Mark. We are 1.4km-3km from the first shops. most guests enjoy the walk after a long flight BUT we also offer a cheap shuttle service from R10pp to shops on the local map. We advise guests not to walk after dark because of poor street lights that I have reported. During the low season we accommodate many school groups from the rural areas and apologize for any inconvenience experienced. Most of the guests enjoy the interaction with these kids and we try to male it pleasant for all guests.


Fantastic hostel!! Great staff, great rooms & activities. Would recommend


The staff were very friendly and helpful. Dinner was excellent, they cooked the vegetarian option just for me and it was vert good.

  • 16th Jul 2015
  • Novice Nomad
  • Anonymous
  • Switzerland
  • Female, 31-40
  • (1 review)


The place is very nice, the staff also. Just one thing the place is a little remote from shops and town center.


the bad, the beds in the mixed dorm are really hard and very short, the bottom bunk was maybe 30 inches tall. The bathroom in the mixed dorm is awkwardly laid out. The showers themselves are individual stalls but you don't have a private place to disrobe. The staff was sometimes hard to find and i'll give partial credit on this because i just happened to be there when they were doing some building upgrades so the staff was really busy. Everything else was great. Just those things were problems.

Owner Comment (Hide)
The male/mixed dormitory showers will get swing doors in the near future. The standard wooden beds could be short for the taller guest. Private rooms have longer beds. We were busy installing an inverter to ensure we have electricity, lights and internet for our guests when we have load shedding or power failures that is out of our control, We do apologize for any inconvenience. We have explained the situation to all guests at the time and want to ensure you enjoy uninterrupted services with us


Decent stay. Comfortable facilities with lots of couches inside and out, pool table, swimming pool, braai facilities, ATM, nice environment to meet people and talk. Wifi was a bit slow and the room was a bit cold in May. We used the free airport pickup, which was nice. The area is residential without any stores or banks on the block. You have to walk a good 15 minutes to get to stores. We rented a car from an AVIS location that is about a 20 minute walk away. Driving in Johannesburg is safe.


Great hostel. Very nice staff, clean facilities, free breakfasts, delicious homemade dinners for a very reasonable price. It's a bit far from the city center, but I would definitely recommend to anyone staying in Jo'burg!


First, this hostel is located in the middle of nowhere. So when I arrived and there was no answer at the gate or on the phone I was actually quite worried. Apparently there is only one staff member in the evening and if he steps away for any reason the hostel is completely unstaffed. I had almost given up and was looking for alternative accommodations at 11PM at night when they finally answered their phone. The facility is just not up to the standards of hostels in Europe, Asia, or Australia.

Owner Comment (Hide)
Dear Rajarshi. Thank you for the feedback, I had a meeting with my staff. The driver had to take the staff member home after her shift at 22h00 and forgot the divert the office number to his cellular phone and that is why the phone was not answered. He was back at 22h20. My sincere apologies. The staff mentioned that they did explain the situation to you. Liezel - owner


Great hostel with helpful personel!

  • 5th May 2015
  • Novice Nomad
  • mackanfkp
  • Sweden
  • Male, 31-40
  • (1 review)


A great place to stay.


Cheapest/best option for an airport hotel. Free airport pick-up (call upon arrival--still had to wait 30 mins) in an upmarket neighborhood where I felt safe going for a morning jog. 3 kms to Eastgate Mall but otherwise far from anything. Big place with all the usual backpacker amenities plus a big garden area with a small pool & BBQ--lovely view. Big dorm room--attached toilets/showers--with 2 bunk beds per "cubicle"--but only storage was small cupboard for valuables .On a hill--lots of steps!




The hostel is located a little outside of the city center, which means it's a little quieter if you are looking for that, but obviously a little harder to get place. Shuttle services worked well. It's slightly cheaper to take the Gautrain, but the shuttle was a lot faster.


I tried this place for 2 reasons: free airport pickup & "ex mafia mansion" story. Area is dangerous & out of the way. Staff is unattentive. Their driver tries to charge more than reception quotes, then tells us ok ok and tells us not to say anything inside. They also charge R250 for transfer to airport, don't bother, if you do stay here, use Uber to get around, it's safer & cheaper, & only R140 to go back to ORTIA airport. Wifi didn't work. Beds were extremely small. Only good thing was the eggs

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