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“Great for families” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

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Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa
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4.0 of 5 Resort   |   i, Port St Johns, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Cape Town
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Great for families”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Situated on the Umngazi River lagoon, this resort blends a rustic, relaxed feel with five star service and excellent food. A kiddies diningroom, activity program and "nannies" mean that the children are happy, and when they are happy, everyone is happy. The road in is busy, with pedestrians and animals, but it is tar all the way, and not a problem if you are not in a hurry.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, January 28, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for your positive review, and so pleased that your stay with us was an enjoyable one.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the not to distant future, we hope!

Kind regards,

Graham

General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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460 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Pretoria, South Africa
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

We stayed here for a 5 days of our Honeymoon and it was just incredible. After a pretty tough drive to get there, which is the only drawback, we were almost instantly refreshed by the sign in reception saying "this is a barefoot establishment". The food was top-class from day 1. We can’t believe there are reviews here that complain about the food. There is so much choice, everything is delicious. The bacon is CRISPY which is impossible to find anywhere and the eggs are made to order, exactly how you order them. The soups were all packed with flavour and the bread was fresh out of the oven every time. As for the main meals, we were not disappointed once. Nothing was ever repeated and finally the desserts from fresh berry and nut tarts to fresh fruit salad, excellent. The service was out of this world, when Rob got sick they gave us medicine that they had in there mini-dispensary free of charge and showed a lot of concern. They have everything you need and more than you could possibly want. If we had to complain about one thing, it’s that they don’t enforce their rules of keeping kids out of the bar. Being on honeymoon, we wanted a little bit of grown up time, no kids. But other than that, a top class holiday and excellent value for money.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, January 28, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for your kind review, it was great to read you had enjoyed your honeymoon with us, thank you for staying with us!

I do hope we get to welcome you back again soon sometime. Wishing you all the very best for 2013.

Kind regards,

Graham

Graham

General Manager
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Durban
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

This was our 2nd visit to Umngazi and this time we booked 3 Honeymoon suites as we had family from overseas visiting and wanted to make it special. Although two couples were senior citizens (late 50's to early 70's) we had to carry our luggage ourselves to our suites, one of the suites was along the gravel pathway next to the river. This is not the kind of service expected when paying over R1000.00 per day per person. The suites were comfortable but dark and basic with curtains instead of cupboard doors . The lovely river and sea views made up for this though.
Although the food was plentiful the quality was not so good and left much to be desired. The seafood was disappointing except for the crayfish .
The boat trip was spoilt by unruly children whose parents had visited Umngazi a few times and obviously felt they could do what they liked. The parents brought a big cooler box on to the boat filled with drinks and what with them pouring drinks and the children running up and down, one could not relax and enjoy the scenery. The guide who took us on a hike was very informative but was in a hurry to get back and we battled to keep up with him, he left us to return some of the way on our own and did'nt even say goodbye or wait for a tip?
Although we love the Wild Coast and enjoy the setting at Umngazi we will try other places in this area in future.

Room Tip: Rather choose rooms closer to the river which are just as nice as the Honeymoon suites and cheaper.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, January 28, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review, your comments and feedback are important to us.

With regards to the service comments I have already addressed these with the relevant departments and team members concerned, thank you for bringing these to my attention.

Good news with about the 'honeymoon' rooms mentioned they have all received new soft furnishings to lighten the room up as well as the lighting in this room has also been improved.

I do hope we get the oppurtunity of welcoming you back here again one day soon. Thank you once again for your feedback it does make a difference, I assure you.

Kind regards,

Graham

General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

Umngazi River Bungalows

Our trip to Unmgazi river bungalows was booked on recommendation by a family friend. The journey to Umngazi took a little under 7 hours from Nottingham Road in the Midlands. The drive is quite scenic but a lot of animals are on the roads so caution should be practiced.
On arrival to Unmgazi we were very tired so the concierge not offering his umbrella for my fiancé in the pouring rain was not a good start and quite annoying (this was the only time the staff were let down as the rest of the holiday they were great). However after the short walk in the rain to reception all was forgotten with a glass of old brown sherry in hand. The staff at reception were amazing and made us feel very welcome.
We were staying in the Ntabeni which is the hotels flagship room. We were driven by golf cart as the Ntabeni rooms (51, 52) are the highest bungalows on the property. This was apparent when you look out of the window and have an unspoilt full 180degree sea view which was amazing!!!. The room was how I would describe a junior suit, with an open plan small seating area and a large bed. The bathroom also has a shutter window that allows you to look at the ocean while bathing in the Jacuzzi bath. The highlight of the room was most defiantly the shutter doors that open up onto a large private balcony. The sense of space and seclusion was amazing. Oh and the bed was also very very comfortable.
The food has been boasted about on numerous occasions by people who have stayed here previously however we were met on our first night by what could only be described as rubbish. A very average blue cheese soup followed by a absolutely terrible seafood cocktail. This was rounded off by a dry and taste less overcooked lamb curry with overcooked rice and a very greasy popadom. Not what your were expecting right? No me neither! As not to be to negative some of the food over the 5 days and nights was OK. But generally over cooked less than average food was served. If you prefer quantity over quality then is the place for you as the amount of food on offer was colossal. This Umngazi could really do with some work. Especially when our bill after 5 nights was over R17,000.
Putting the poor food aside the experience as a whole was a very pleasant one. The sunset river cruse was great, the mangrove swamp walk and canoe trip was brilliant, the gym well equipped and the room and staff were fantastic.

Room Tip: The more you pay the better the room!! Room 51, 52 were amazing. They call them Ntabeni.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManager81, General Manager at Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, responded to this review, December 30, 2012
Thank you so much for your feedback and comments, with regards to your stay with us here at Umngazi in October. I was sorry to hear the food did not live up to your expecatations this is certainly an area where we strive incredibly hard to impress. I therefore know my kitchen team will take this feedback and use it to improve.

My apologies as well with the way in which you were welcomed, as you mentioned and saw for yourself this was certainly not our standard and has been dealt with accordingly.

It was pleasing to hear the rest of your experience was an enjoyable one and I do hope we get to welcome you back this way again soon.

Thank you once again for taking the time to share your experience.

Kind regards,

Graham
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vryburg, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

I stayed over at Umgazi with my husband and 2 years old daughter in November 2012. We flew to Durban then drove from there, the drive was not a nice one at all, my advice to anyone fly from Joburg would be to fly to Mtata and drive to Port St Johns. Umngazi is exactly what you see in the pictures. We booked a sea view room, the rooms are clean and well kept. It was cold and wet for the whole of our stay but we did get a chance to go for an afternoon walk at the beach. The food is very nice especially the breakfast where you are spoiled for choice. The kids have their own dining room but i prefered eating with my daughter at the same table. The staff is very friendly and helpful. We are planning to back again in 2013 and hopefully the weather will be nice so that we can enjoy and explore this beautiful place.

Room Tip: Sea view rooms are the best
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012 via mobile

We stayed at Umngazi for three nights. What a fantastic place. First class service. First class food. Lovely people. Amazing views.
Kevin the boatman was a great entertainer and the sundowner cruise is a must do if you go.
The green door restaurant is also worth booking.
Thank you to all for a fantastic stay.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

My wife and I spent five restfull days at Umngazi last week.

We were last at Umngazi 16 years ago. As much as many things have changed, with additions and improvements, the well-loved Umngazi values and standards are still firmly in place.

The staff are friendly and helpful, always with a smile and pleasant greeting. The food is excellent, and we both felt of a higher standard than we reacalled from our long forgotten trip in 1996.

Major renovations and additions have included a well laid out systems of walkways around the site. The walkway on the edge of the lagoon is an excellent addition, well laid out and covered with loose stone, so no muddy dashs for the dining room in case of rain !

This is a resort that is primarily designed for families, but also caters for those who prefer to have a less busy and noisy holiday. We fall into the latter category, and we were able to enjoy lots of quiet time on our own.

We did have a small hiccup on arrival, as the room had not been fully prepared for an arrival. The hotel management were quick to rectify this and made amends with a fantastic basket of goodies, much appreciated !

The

Room Tip: If you are looking for a quiet couple's retreat, spend a bit more and get room 46, 47, 48 or 49...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

Address: i, Port St Johns, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Port St Johns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tucked away on the Wild Coast, in the heart of Pondoland, and encompassed by a rocky coastline, indigenous forests, secluded coves and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, lies the award winning Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa - an award winning family resort & spa. The thatch-roofed bungalows are situated amongst the indigenous gardens which provide the perfect setting for a totally relaxed holiday. Weekly fly-in packages are available Friday to Friday from Durban where you fly at 500 feet above sea level along the beautiful coastline - a wonderful way to start your holiday. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Umngazi River Bungalows Hotel Port St Johns
Umngazi River Hotel
Umngazi River Resort

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