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Reviewed 2 March 2018

For those thinking of staying over here, there's a few things that this or the Safarinow site don't indicate that may be helpful for you to know, as follows:

- I've been booking and staying in many, many self-catering spots in South Africa over the past ten years, so I am comparing this to a standard self-catering usually booked through Safarinow.

- The Hatchery does not advertise as a backpackers; however, the standard is more backpackers' than the average self-catering we have stayed in. The rooms are more standard private room backpackers' and the kitchen is definitely backpackers' level.

- Know that the best rooms are the ones that are river-front facing. The rooms that accommodate four or more are not as nice and are certainly more backpacker quality. On a hot night . . . whew! Noisy air conditioning and a crowded feel.

- Matthew doesn't advertise the boats to the sandspit that leads to the ocean, and that is wise of him, for various reasons . . . Just know that you won't have easy access to the ocean. Consider this is a river-front/estuary spot.

- Know that if it rains a lot, you may be stuck there, or at the least, if it is raining, be SURE to contact Matthew before heading in on the dirt road. He is accommodating in terms of helping you get in and out. We had booked for two nights, but would likely have only stayed for one if we had been able to get out; however, the road was flooded due to heavy rains. There would have been no way of getting out that first day.
Matthew made sure we got out safely the second day of our stay.

- From all my dealings with Matthew, the host, he is a kind and accommodating host. I just think that he either needs to upgrade aspects of this place, or needs to advertise it as a backpackers spot. It would be so great to have the estuary beach cleaned regularly -- the garbage is NOT appealing. Why not pay a staff to do this?
That being said, DO, enjoy long walks along the river estuary. It's lovely to stop and visit with local fishermen and watch them drag in their nets. It was very educational to learn about the impacts of plastic pollution along this stretch of shoreline -- so sad!

- The initial artistic vision of the place still retains some amazing visual touches and has so much potential -- their are amazing spots for photography in the ruins of this once-prawn-hatchery -- however, if these spots are not maintained, it really brings down the standard of a place (external bathrooms by what is likely a camping spot are filthy/non-functioning).

Enough said!

Regards,
Wendy Fath

Room tip: As stated above, be prepared for what you get. Riverfront rooms are the best.
Date of stay: February 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Bw F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2018 via mobile

My family and I travel quite a bit and we're always looking for new places to try out but we didn't have much time available as we needed to get back to work after a month long trek across SA and thus were looking for a spot closer to home that ticked the boxes for all. It needed to have fishing for hubby, enough to keep my little man occupied (he is now six and with non-stop energy) and myself, I just needed somewhere I could sit back and read a book. Bliss out essentially. We found The Hatchery. I feel as if we've found a real treasure here and will be booking a week long stay as soon as hubby returns from his overseas travels. In fact, we will be going straight from the airport to this spot (even though hubby has been away for 6 weeks). What better way to unwind?! Upon arrival we were greeted by the friendly staff who showed us to our room, The Tap Room. From the outside one thinks eish, we're going to be roughing it, but upon entry it's pure bliss. The largest bed I have ever seen and beautifully designed. My son loved his bed which was hoisted by chain from the roof. Which child doesn't want to sleep on a swing bed? The shower looked out onto the river. Now, there is one way glass surrounding the shower giving you a view of all happenings around you but no one can see in. I kept peering in from the outside to make double sure that I was not going to be parading to all and sundry. The shower alone makes this place worth the visit! Right, so room check done, now onto activities. We pooped to the Prawn Shack which is a short drive away, enjoyed some Mozambique beers and little man had a slush puppy which the bar staff had made by crushing ice and adding passion fruit mix. One needs to improvise with small people. After a relaxed sip session it was back to the hatchery where little man dictated the afternoon was to be spent in the pool. Works for me! I got to relax pool side whilst little man swam...for 3hrs! Then, luck was tried at fishing. We were a bit unprepared as we got plenty of knocks but didn't have the right tackle. After losing a few lures, we decided to call it a day and start dinner prep. A braai overlooking the river! Man, oh man! Talk about a braai with a view. You cannot beat this! A sound nights sleep whilst the aircon in our room kept us cool (it's waaarm in summer). The next day was spent exploring. There is so much to see and do. Every little nook has something to draw the attention. I just could go on and on but I don't want to keep you here all day, you should be on your phone making a booking as I am robbing you of valuable time to experience this place. So, in short (guffaw) we will be back!

Date of stay: January 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank sunshineinherheart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2017 via mobile

This north coast gem is utterly unique and so relaxing. You arrive to this remote location and have a beautiful view of the river with the frequent sound of fish eagles calling.

The accommodation from the outside looks like literal shacks but once you go into your room it's beautiful with unique pieces and custom made furniture. It is very "arty" and appreciated if you like that sort of thing. If you are looking for a Protea Hotel type of stay then this might not be for you.

The kitchen is communal and is fantastic with everything you need. The Hatchery has a unique "Butler" menu. Almost like a pay as you go system. So if you want your room cleaned you pay R20 - R30 or so. If you want the butler to cook for you, you pay about R50 and you can even have a butler that will carry your cooler box down to the beach for you. It's a great system as I enjoyed not having service to the rooms and having the awkward feeling of having to leave the room so people can clean it.

The Hatchery is very, very relaxing and the random pools and things of interest make for an amazing stay. We will be back very soon!

Date of stay: July 2017
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank Yachal_D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Owner at The Hatchery, responded to this reviewResponded 16 September 2017

Dear Yachal_D

Thank you for your informative review. We are glad that you enjoyed the feeling of being at the Hatchery and hope that the memories of your stay live with you for a long time.

Kind Regards,

Matthew

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2017

What you see is not nearly what you get. The "gin pools" were green and despite sending several messages to the owner over the long weekend, he never once responded and never showed up to attend to complaints. There was a horrible stench at the "Forest" room, and the sewer must have been blocked the whole weekend. Don't be fooled by the words " make the bathroom your own" when you rent the Chapel room, you will be physically attacked by the campers at the back of the premises, as there are no amenities available for them. All this the absent owner left to the guests to sort out amongst themselves. We stayed over for 4 nights, and not once did he show up or respond to any messages that were sent to him. Best advice - stay away as far as possible.

Room tip: Stay away as far as possible
Date of stay: April 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank dwella333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MatthewMyburgh, Owner at The Hatchery, responded to this reviewResponded 3 May 2017

We are sincerely sorry that Elsabe did not enjoy her time at the hatchery despite our best efforts to make her stay a pleasant one. The hatchery is a different kind of place and not for everyone. We wish her well in the future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2017

I feel a duty to add this review to make right the wrongs of the previous reviewer, who nearly put me off going.

At first glance The Hatchery does appear quite run down but that is because you haven't opened your eyes yet to how stunningly rustic this place is.

The decorator is a truly creative person, who has created art mosaics on all surfaces big and small, built strange Moroccan style doors in the middle of nowhere, hung propellers as ornaments, used dried palm seed stems as light fittings, etc. It is really delightful - if you open your eyes to it all.

I went as a woman on my own with two small kids and felt perfectly safe. It is very rural but every person you pass on the dirt road in is full of smiles.
PS: no 4x4 needed - it's a very passable albeit bumpy compacted red sand road.

We stayed in the stargazer treehouse tent, which my kids loved. Some things if you decide to go for this more adventurous tented accommodation:

Take EVERYTHING you need to make life more pleasant camping. They provide you with towels, mattress, sheets, pillow, duvet...the rest is up to you. Luckily I took a camping extension - you need one if you want to live on your deck and not below it, where the plug point is. Take a kettle and a light of some sort as there is none on-site, I was glad I had taken my own beach and bath towels too. My kids thought the outdoor bathroom with a cow bell for warning was a hoot (you'll find this near the tonic pools). Take a 5l water to save yourself trekking to the communal kitchen 4 times a day with your kettle. There is also no fridge so you have to use the communal one.

The units are quite close to each other and while this sucks if your neighbor is loud or playing music like ours was, it is good for security. The monkeys are probably going to be your biggest security concern as they wait patiently for you to leave before coming in to raid your cooler.
P.S: Take fishing rods for kids to fish in the old hatchery ponds.

The lagoon is amazing and my kids didn't want to stop playing on the lagoon's beach. Definitely take buckets and spades. Hiring a canoe is only R50 for the day and I saw many fishermen out doing their thing. I believe crocs and sharks are not a concern here but wouldn't like to tempt fate too much.

Things that would make my rating a 5 star:
- a light on the deck of the tent
- a tap for water (a basin would be a real luxury/treat)
- somewhere to put your things under cover...We tried to line up everything on the sides of our tent but it made sleeping interesting
- a bin to throw away rubbish
- a table for kettles etc

This is a really unique and beautiful place that is definitely well worth a second and third visit and only 35 mins from Blythdale near Stanger.

Room tip: Ask for a room with a lagoon view but if you get the one with the round pool people may be chilling in the pool, right outside your door.
Date of stay: March 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Janey d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MatthewMyburgh, General Manager at The Hatchery, responded to this reviewResponded 30 March 2017

Hi Janey

Thank you for your comprehensive and honest review which we hope will be helpful to other people wanting a new, different, and relaxed experience and to create special memories for children. We will start with the procurement of the items necessary to make the camping experience a little easier.

Matt

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