UMNGAZI RIVER BUNGALOWS
Impression on arrival
Kick off your shoes” whispers Umngazi as we approach the reception area to check in for our seven day get-away. Port St John’s is down the road, only a few kilometres away. We’re on the Wild Coast, one of the unspoiled areas of our country.
There is a certain comfortable calmness amongst the guests, both young and old, that have already found their ‘relax mode’ and have made themselves at home in one of the 69 bungalows that the resort lays claim to. Six categories of bungalows (some inter-leading), all of which offer tea and coffee facilities as well as on suite bathrooms with outside showers, are tastefully decorated and perched on the hillside overlooking the Umngazi River, the gardens or the sea.
We head towards one of the few sea-facing deluxe bungalows (Emlonyeni) which is front row and near the river mouth, presenting us with a panoramic view of the beach and ocean. We’re set away from the main hotel and our ‘adults only’ bungalow offers privacy and peacefulness. On our site we find a private communal lounge come dining room, which treats guests to a set-menu breakfast as well as an indulgent afternoon tea, away from the Umngazi clique. Having done a ‘recky’ of our abode we loll on the sun loungers positioned on the sprawling lawn in front of the Emlonyeni bungalows. A glass of chenin blanc in hand we absorb Umngazi’s sweet secret.
The sky is pink, the waves are crashing, the river sparkles and the Nguni cattle scattered along the secluded beach moan softly as they traipse back home. Across the estuary children surf the massive sand dunes under the care of the entertainment team, teenagers gather on the beach to chitchat, families congregate to join the sunset cruise, nannies jovially coax toddlers towards the playground area, couples sip cocktails on the outside deck overlooking the riverfront and fishermen head to the rocks with their gillies for their dose of sea fishing.
This is Umngazi
A piece of paradise where guests can spend the day out and about, where visitors get lost in time and where contentment is a way of life. As the sun sets we head towards Basil’s Bar, the nucleus of the resort where folk gather to unwind, to partake in a game of darts or to share a drink and stories with one another. Revisiting guests re-bond with one another and with the ladies that run the bar. The room gradually fills up. Natter, music and laughter floats about the place.
And very discreetly, little by little Basil’s Bar clears out as we join those that make their way to the informal dining room for the evening meal. Waitresses are welcoming and helpful, the service is friendly and dinner is beautifully prepared by the chefs. Three meals per day are laid on boasting a varied selection of salads, soups, homemade breads, fish, meat dishes, vegetables, desserts, fruit and cheese. Saturday nights are renowned for seafood evenings as is Sunday’s traditional lunch time braai. The first day comes to an end as we sip our after dinner tea and coffee. We make our way back to our bungalow passing trees that are quietly glowing with fairy lights and along pathways which are gently lit by night lanterns. Every now and again we stop to look up at the night sky that is filled with countless bright twinkling stars ... happy, content, at ease and looking forward to the beauty that the next day promises to bring.
Rates vary and include three meals per day as well as mid morning and afternoon tea and coffee. Various self-drive or fly-in package deals and specials are available. Discover the Umngazi Spa, swimming pool, tennis courts, library, tv lounge, games room, gym and shop. Partake in various walks, hikes or discover mountain bike trails. Enjoy a river breakfast or a picnic on the beach. Try your hand at kayaking or fly-fishing. Or simply indulge in the comfort of your bungalow with a good book and an afternoon nap.
Will we be back? Most defintely !!, as you will find out this is a place of returns by all who visit