Hostel Review: Jollyboys Backpackers in Livinstone, Zambia

It’s been a while since I have stayed at a hostel.  Actually, I think that aside from the Sleeping Camel in Bamako, it’s been well over a year since I have.  Thus, I think that now that I’m back in the world of hostels, it’ll be good for me to continue my hostel reviews with the wonderful Jollyboys Backpackers in Livingstone, Zambia.

Jollyboys is really much more than just a hostel, it’s a backpacker’s institution here in Zambia.  Ask nearly anyone where they stayed or booked tours from on their trip to Livingstone and chances are they’ll tell you Jollyboys.  To no surprise, there’s a reason why.  It’s a brilliant place.  I’ll explain in my usual hostel score ratings.

Jollyboys hostel

Location

While Livingstone is a small town, there really are good and bad locations.  Jollyboys really does seem to have the nicest location in town.  It’s off the highway on a main street, but it’s really close to the grocery stores, transportation hubs, and the main street.  It’s also a good distance from the pumping music of the bars along the strip.  Unless you wanted to stay along the river or closer to the fall, this is the best location

Score: 10/10

Rooms

There are all sort of rooms and all are very good both in size and cleanliness.  The 4-bed dorms are a bit tight, but nothing to complain about.  The 8 and 16 bed dorms are good despite having so many beds.  The private rooms are great and are tucked away in a quiet part of the hostel.  There are a couple communal bathrooms and a small number of showers for a portion of the dorms.  I thought at first that at such a big hostel there would be lines for the showers, but it was fine.  The one minor issue is that when all the showers are being used the water pressure can disappear.  Also since they are solar powered, they can be cold first thing in the morning.  It doesn’t really pose a problem, however.  There is also a nice little bit of camping space.

Score: 8/10

Jollyboys hostel

Amenities

Jollyboys has pretty much everything a traveller needs.  They have a kitchen, bar/restaurant, loads of communal chill zones, a pool, a pool table, and ping pong.  Really, there is nothing that you need that you can’t find here.  The minor grievance I have is the wifi is a pay-per-hour system, and can be slow.  If you have to pay for wifi, it should be quick.  I understand that this has to do as much with the system in Zambia as it does the hostel, but it can get expensive.  That being said, the fewer people online means more people exploring, so I shouldn’t complain.

Score: 9/10

Staff

I have no complains when it comes to the staff of Jollyboys.  They are always friendly, always helpful and they do their best to make sure you’re comfortable.  Between the security guards bartenders and cooks, and the reception, everyone has been great without exception.  They are all very good at getting to know your name and welcoming you into the hostel.

Score: 10/10

Jollyboys hostel

Fun and Atmosphere

A running theme here is that there isn’t a whole lot to complain about (and you know how much I love to complain).  The hostel organizes a number of off-site activities and on-site there’s plenty to keep people entertained as well.  Some nights they have a drumming group come in, and other nights maybe a band.  Moreover, if you just want to relax, there are plenty of good places to hide away and chill.  The atmosphere is great, and the hostel really creates an environment that makes it easy for people to meet.

Score: 10/10

Overall score: 47/50


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: Brendan van Son is a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. He has visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than he has the desire to count. Check out his profile on . for a little bit more about him.

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4 Comments

  1. I also stayed there, we were 3 on a private 4 bed room. We had plenty of space in the room and bathroom. The people are really friendly and it was easy to go to the tours and other places (even walking). I’d forgotten about the paid wifi, and, yes, it’s really slow. At night some of the people staying in other places go there. (we were there during the rugby world cup, so I guess it was the town’s sports bar)

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  2. Sounds like a great find. Thanks for sending along the info.

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  3. Good to know! I’ll be heading to Zambia for a few months and will eventually end up here. Seems like this spot should be on the list.

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    • Yeah, Jollyboys is definitely the best hostel in Livingstone.

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