3 Best Hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa

3 Best Hostels in Johannesburg – Industrial-Chic Design & an Ex-Mafia Mansion

So word on the street says you’re in search of the coolest and best hostels in Johannesburg. Welcome, for you’ve landed on the only guide you’re going to need to help with planning your trip to South Africa!

Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and capital of the country.

So, as long as you’re into bustling environments and big city life, you should enjoy this destination.

Whilst there are plenty of hostels to choose from in this city, we’ve picked out the top 3. Because you only need one hostel, right?

This collection includes industrial-chic design, an ‘ex-Mafia’ mansion(!) and a superb hostel in the Soweto township on the outskirts of the city.

Your shortcut:

  1. Curiocity Backpackers – ideal for solo travellers
  2. Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers – for backpackers & older travellers
  3. Brown Sugar Backpackers – perfect for couples

Staying at one of these hostels? ❤️

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As you can see from the hostel names, there is a big selection of backpackers accommodation in Johannesburg. Get ready for great South African hostels!

Good to know: Soweto is a popular backpacker base and also home to Nelson Madela’s house.

This guide is perfect for YOU, when …

  • tired of bad and crappy hostels
  • want to avoid the “young party kids”
  • happy to spend 1-2€ for a better experience

Backpacking South Africa? Have a look at the 3 best hostels in Cape Town which includes our only 5 star hostel in the country, Villa Viva Cape Town.

What we cover in this article?

You can find all 5 Star Hostels here with Hostelgeeks and all guides to “Best Hostels In” here.

Quick Introduction to Johannesburg

Average price for a bed: Hostels in Johannesburg cost 8€ – 13€ per night for a bed in a dorm. A private room starts from 16€ up to 32€ per night. This is a rough average just to give you an idea.

As you can see, dorm prices here support budget travel.

Prices always depend on season and holidays. Please always check exact rates on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.

Is Johannesburg safe for tourists? This is one of the largest and most diverse cities in the country, so it can be a bit daunting especially if you’ve heard crime stories. Yet, we think Joburg is plenty safe as long as you keep an eye on your surroundings and valuables. Here are 39 Travel Safety Tips to help you prepare.

Also, give our Are Hostels really Safe? guide a read to help you prepare for hostel life in Joburg.

New to Hostels? Read our full hostel starter guide here. We especially recommend reading:

The 3 Best Hostels in Johannesburg

Let’s jump right into the boutique hostels in Johannesburg.

  1. Curiocity Backpackers
  2. Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers
  3. Brown Sugar Backpackers

We put all three accommodation on the map, you will find the map at the end of the article.

1. Curiocity Backpackers

Up first is an African hotel hybrid that’s perfect for the curious traveller. Welcome to Curiocity Backpackers!

“Designed for you, the curious adventurer who just wants to get out there and live a little, wander a little and wonder a little.”

What really stands out about this hostel is the amount of communal areas for all to enjoy. It’s easily the most sociable hostel in this guide.

From an onsite bar and rooftop to a dipping pool and chill-out zone. Not to mention the games room and bicycle rental!

The crisp, clean and modern design certainly adds that special touch to the overall vibe.

To help settle your nerves, these guys have made the space really safe. There’s 24-hour security on free parking and reception stays open around the clock.

There are big lockers in the dorm rooms, too.

Speaking of rooms, let’s have a look at the options:

  • Deluxe private apartments
  • Classic double rooms
  • 8-10 bed female dorm
  • 6, 8 and 12 bed mixed dorms

No matter what traveller type you are, everyone gets their own space, so everyone can stay friends!

To top it off, there are frequent activities hip-happening. Get crazy with a pub crawl, or join a city tour and get to know your surroundings.

Simply have a chat with the staff and find out what’s going on during your stay.

Location: In the heart of Maboneng neighbourhood which offers great cafes, markets and restaurants tucked away on every corner. It’s an ideal base for exploring the inner city life.

This is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg for

  • Solo travellers
  • Female solo travellers
Book Curiocity Backpackers here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Curiocity Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa Curiocity Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa Curiocity Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa

2. Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers

Looking for hostels in Soweto?

Calling all travellers that are keen to get involved in the community you’re staying in – Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers is integrated into the Soweto township and offers community volunteering for those staying longer term.

This really is a cool Johannesburg backpackers for a unique and personal experience of the Soweto area.

Basically, if you don’t really want to be sleeping right in the middle of the city, we recommend staying here.

The absolute highlight about this hostel is the daily tours around Soweto. You can join either a bike, tuk-tuk or walking tour!

These tours are also open for those not staying at the hostel which is why it’s so easy to get involved with local people.

After a big day exploring, head back to Lebo’s for a home cooked dinner by the fire in their outdoor community park. Nice!

Honestly, the outdoor area is the nicest place to hang out here.

When it’s time to rest, you can choose between a number of room types. Let us show you:

  • Standard twin private
  • Deluxe/budget double private
  • 6-bed mixed dorm
  • Camping

If you prefer to look around by yourself, it’s possible to rent a bicycle for free from reception.

Location: Located in a quiet area of Soweto within walking distance to the Mandela House.

This is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg for

  • Backpackers
  • Older travellers
Book Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers here

Compare prices and view reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Lebo's Soweto Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa Lebo's Soweto Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa Lebo's Soweto Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa

3. Brown Sugar Backpackers Lodge

Hands up if you want to sleep in an ex-Mafia mansion which was built by an infamous drug lord in the 1970’s!

In that case, you best book your stay at Brown Sugar Backpackers with a humorous team of people.

“When the Godfather moved out the backpackers moved in and they made this castle their home since 1999.”

The facilities here are always being improved to meet modern standards and expectations, yet it still have a traditional feel to it which we enjoy.

If you’re seeking a cheap backpackers in Johannesburg this is it, yet it doesn’t scrimp on great amenities.

Check out some of the great inclusions:

  • Free breakfast
  • Free pickup from OR Tambo International Airport
  • Free wifi & internet stations
  • Free offsite parking

Good to know: Only bookings for two or more consecutive nights qualify for the free airport pickup.

Brown Sugar is a haven for travellers that enjoy doing their own thing for the most part. Having said that, the outdoor swimming pool and hostel bar are great places to meet other people if you want to.

There’s a self-catering kitchen as well as a restaurant where pub lunches and evening meals can be ordered.

Choose between mixed dorms or private rooms and enjoy access to wall fans and heaters in all of them.

Location: Just a short Uber ride away from the very centre of the city. China Town is just down the street and great for food.

This is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg for

  • Couples
Book Brown Sugar Backpackers here

Compare prices and check availability at: Hostelworld

Brown Sugar Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa Brown Sugar Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa Brown Sugar Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa

What about cheapest hostels in Johannesburg?

Of course, there are always cheap hostels.

We think, it’s not worth it to go with the cheapest hostel out there.


The difference is usually 1-2€ ($1-2) per night, and a lot of amenities are not included. This can be breakfast or linen.

However, if you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you wanna save every penny, there are ways to find the cheapest places in Johannesburg.

  1. Open Hostelworld with full list of budget places to stay in Johannesburg
  2. Order the listing by price

Simple as that.

Read: 15 hacks for booking hostels

Make sure you use then the other filters and rank per price.

Also keep a close eye on the ratings, especially the “extreme ratings”. Meaning, the best and worst. These ratings can give great insight on what to expect.

There are a few hostels you have been searching for that we include in this section because of their low reviews. They are:

  1. Rosebank Backpackers
  2. Lakeview Backpackers
  3. Accoustix Backpackers Hostel
  4. Mikasa Sukasa Backpackers
  5. Jeppe Hostel (men’s hostel)

Because of these low reviews, we don’t personally recommend staying there and suggest you opt for one of our top 3 hostels in this guide.

Best Hostels in Johannesburg for Solo Travellers?

What is seriously the best hostel in Johannesburg for solo-travellers?

Surely you didn’t scroll straight to this section and miss our #1 hostel Curiocity Backpackers, did you?!

Because if you did, you missed out on the fact that this hostel is obviously perfect for solo travellers of every kind.

Female solo travellers will surely appreciate the awesome selection of female-only dorms, and everyone has the option to join in fun activities that happen throughout the week.

There’s a hostel bar to hang out in, cosy rooms for a good night’s sleep and plenty of space for alone time if you need it.

Skip back to the start for more information.

Book Curiocity Backpackers here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Curiocity Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa

Party Hostels in Johannesburg

For those of you that enjoy the option of partying, yet don’t fancy sleeping in a crazy party hostel that never stops, we’re sure you’ll find Curiocity Backpackers suitable.

This isn’t technically a party hostel, though it does boast an onsite bar and there’s a fun pub crawl to join.

What’s more, reception is always open and there’s no curfew, so you can enjoy city nightlife to your hearts content. The central location really helps with this part.

Book Curiocity Backpackers here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Curiocity Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa

How to book?

We recommend using Booking.com or Hostelworld for your reservations.

Hostelworld is the most popular website when it comes to hostel bookings.

Read: step-by-step guide on how to book with Hostelworld

On both platforms your credit card is 100% protected and the booking 100% confirmed.

We included the handy links to each of the recommended hostel. Just click on the hostel name. The link will lead you to check prices and availability.

Here is the overview:

  1. Curiocity Backpackers: Booking.com | Hostelworld
  2. Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers: Booking.com | Hostelworld
  3. Brown Sugar Backpackers: Hostelworld

We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible!

All of Johannesburg best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish hostels, secure your room or bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.

Any Discounts?

Currently, we have no special hostel discounts in Johannesburg. I know, it’s a pity. You can subscribe to our newsletter to receive our newest hostel discounts always to your inbox.

You can find all our hostel discounts worldwide here.

All 3 Hostels put on a map + sights

Let us have a look on the map. Below we list all three best Johannesburg hostels on a map.

Personally, we love to plan our trips with a map having all sights and potential hostels on it. We thought this map will help you with planning your trip too.

We also included the main tourist attractions you’ve to know in this list:

  • Mandela’s House
  • Gold Reef City Theme Park
  • Montecasino
  • WeOriginate
  • Apartheid Museum
  • Neighbourgoods Market

Flights to Johannesburg?

We enjoy Omio.com and Kiwi.com to find cheap flights all over Johannesburg.

This new website has super cool features like a so-called radius search. Just draw a circle over South Africa and find the cheapest rates for the area.

Here is our review of Kiwi.

Cheap Flights around the world

More guides

Alright, this is your answer to where to stay in Johannesburg. We’re sure you’d agree they hold some of the best hostels in Africa!

We did the leg work for you and bring you more hostel guides to destinations in Africa:

You can find all our new and updates articles for Best Hostels in here.

We also created a huge guide to hostels. Here we cover how to build lifetime friendships in hostels, the perfect packing list and more.

Over to you

Was this useful? Do you have any questions, doubts?

Then please please leave us a comment. This list of awesome Johannesburg hostels should be as informative and useful as possible.

Your question will help me to understand what I have missed to mention.

Therefore, drop us a comment, we are keen to help you!

Last note: Our commitment

This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter and find the best place on a budget! We ONLY recommend places we know you will enjoy, no matter what.

At Hostelgeeks we will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. Our promise is to only share with you places we also recommend to our best friends and family!

Enjoy this fine hostel selection and all 5 Star Hostels.

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A complete guide and overview of the best hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa for solo travellers & backpackers

Discounts for Hostels in Johannesburg, South Africa

How about a discount for any of the Johannesburg, South Africa hostels mentioned? Sure thing. Since you are a Hostelgeeks reader and part of the community, you can get access to discounts and special promo codes.

You can find all our fresh and valid hostel promo codes here. We also share the latest up-to-date discounts by Hostelworld here.

How about we let you know once we get fresh promo codes? Simply leave your email and subscribe here to our newsletter. It it easy, free and you save real money.

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Booking Hostels and Discounts 👏👏👏

As a user of Hostelgeeks, you also have access to exclusive hostel discounts. For booking hostels, there are three sites you need to use:

We also recommend installing the Hostelworld App. It is very handy!

How to find cheaper Flights ✈️

The first websites you should check are Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, and Google Flights.

In our review about Skyscanner we walk you through the entire process how to find cheaper flights and how to reserve.

Travel Insurance made easy 🤒

We have used World Nomads on our travels around South East Asia and Europe.

We are currently using Safetywing and Iati Seguros. We wrote detailed guides about these insurances:

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