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“The only holiday where the mother actually has a holiday”

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Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Certificate of Excellence
Cape Town
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“The only holiday where the mother actually has a holiday”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

This will be our fourth year going to Umngazi and hopefully we will be going again and again. Umngazi is one of the few holiday places where the mother (aka known as cook / bottle washer / chief nappy changer and main tidy-upper) has a holiday too. There is no cooking, there is no cleaning and there is help with looking after the kids - what more can a parent want!

We absolutely love Umngazi, is is the perfect family holiday. The kids love it, the parents love it.

The first time we went it took some getting used to not having 24 hour high speed internet access but last year and this year I actually left my laptop at home! Progress! I don't even miss it when I am there, I am just too chilled.

The only downside is that you *will* put on at least a few kgs by the time you get home because boy oh boy, do you eat! Full on breakfast, then tea and scone for tea time, then full on lunch, then coffee and biscuits at 3, then sundowners and snacks, then full on supper and dessert. It's a wonder we fit back into the car for the drive home.

Umngazi is a wonderful family holiday destination, I am not sure there is an equal in the whole of South Africa.

PS See you tomorrow Umngazi, can't wait to eat, drink and be merry!

Room Tip: If you have young kids, ask for the bungalows near the entertainment area so that they can run up an...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tertiaa
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, March 24, 2013
Dear Tertia,

I don't think I have ever had a such an outstanding review before you have already arrived, thank you so much. I just hope we have delivered on your family holiday with us!

Please let me know if there is anything myself or any of my team may do to ensure you keep on coming back again and again.

Best wishes,

Graham
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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982 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (125)
Date | Rating
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English first
Durban, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
243 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2013

We only spent 1 night but could have spent many more if we had the time.
We had an excellent room (3A) with fantastic facilities and outdoor shower. We were close to the main entertainment areas etc. I found the service in the bar and in the restaurant left a lot to be desired as one had to try and catch the eye of the barmen and the waitrons in the restaurant.Particularly the waitrons who would rather look away than to want to serve..It spoilt what was otherwise a really pleasant stay.

Room Tip: Try and get the bungalows along the eastern border of the lagoon. Great views and reasonably close t...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rodney M
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, March 16, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Firstly thnak you for taking the time to review Umngazi, it is important for us to get your feedback. I was sorry to hear that our Dining Room and Bar Service was not at the standard that you expected and that we certainly promise to deliver on.

This has already been addressed with the departments concerned. I do hope we get to welcome you back again oneday soon, and for longer next time!

Kind regards,

Graham

General Manager
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South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2013

There is not much bad to say about Umngazi River Bungalows. Our only negative was that it rained solid for nearly 2 days and we were stuck in a bungalow with a 2 year old who wasn't so keen on the african nannies to look after her. But other than that, Umngazi has thought of everything. The food spread every breakfast, lunch and dinner is fabulous ! You will put on a few kilos whilst you are there, however there are a lot of activities to keep you active in the day from tennis, a great gym, guided hiking, water skiing, mountain biking and swimming. The main attraction is really that they are so well equipped for children. You can hire a nannie for R100 per day. The kids have a separate kitchen which provides great , heathly kids food. They have a fridge equipped with fruit, yoghurts and bottles and milk which you can help yourself to at any time. they have a creative corner area for kids to have fun in all day. There is a fabulous jungle gym and trampoline. Older kids have a games room and they play a movie every night in there from 7pm whilst you can have dinner without the kids. The are is absolutely beautiful. So all in all, its a great place to relax and not think about anything. Highly reccommend it if you can find a booking !

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank saffaGillo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 29, 2013

Umngazi River Bungalows is set in a beautiful and unique location - it has both sea and river frontage, and is bordered by dune vegetation and natural forests.
The food is fantastic - especially the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet which happens on a Saturday night. Meals are served either indoors at their restaurant, or out on the deck overlooking the river.
They are really geared up towards families. For a nominal amount of money, you can hire babysitting services any time of the day or night if you and your partner want to have an intimate dinner together, go on a long walk, have a treatment at their spa, go for a mountainbike ride etc. The local women are wonderfully warm, excellent with children, and have invariably been offering their services to the hotel for years.
They have amazing children's activity programmes all day - wonderful outdoor, fun activities...which are all included in the price.
There's a bar there which is quite festive in the evenings and the drinks are well priced.
There is so much to do if you feel inclined; but you can also just relax around the pool, on the beach etc. if you wish too.
There are occasionally boat rides in the evening (apart from the regular sunset cruise) which are geared for the kids. Lights are shone into the water and the fish from the river jump up onto the boat to get to the source of the light - the kids just love the excitement!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Bevkel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
304 reviews
168 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 252 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2013

The resort has a fantastic location on the banks at the Umngazi River mouth. The grounds of the resort are very pleasant indeed.

There are plenty of complimentary activities such as river canoeing, tennis, table tennis, pool, board games, coastal walks etc, plus motorised water sports too.

The cottages are a good size and in pretty condition. However, I think they lack a few features such as TV and fridge. My bungalow was also a long way from the resort dining and entertainment centre, so there was no internet. Indeed, I thought the internet service at the resort as a whole was drawback - 30 minutes free per cottage (not per user) is hardly a policy up with the modern times.

The food was good overall. The chef made a diligent attempt to cater for my special diet, for which I was very grateful, though the meals could still have been better balanced. The dining area staff though were pretty useless - lots of them but all just stood around doing nothing except trying to avoid eye contact with customers in case they had to help; it was an effort to attract anyone's attention every time I had a request.

But the real problem I had with the resort was its reservation/booking process. Long wait for enquiry reply, incorrect provisional booking / payment request, evasive answers to questions, lack of basic courteousness, and finally an impolite email informing me on my morning of travel that my booking had been cancelled because (quite wrongly) I had not paid (no prior attempt made to contact me to ask where the funds were etc). Then when I arrived in the gloom, a 10 minute walk in the rain with my heavy bags trying to find my room, because there is no help from the resort staff to find rooms and the rooms are inadequately and sometimes incorrectly signposted on the walkways.

So overall, a pleasant stay once I had settled in, but certainly room for improvement.

Room Tip: Choose a room close to the resort centre otherwise you've got a 5 minute walk for meals each tim...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Zambezikid
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, February 9, 2013
Thank you so much for taking the time to review Umngazi River Bungalows, your comments and feedback are appreciated. Let me confirm that both service and reservations issues mentioned have been addressed with the relevant departments and team members.

My sincere apologies for your experience with us not being up to the standard we promise and of course expected.

I do hope that Umngazi will get another opportunity to welcome you back again in the not to distant furture.

Kind regards,

Graham

Graham Walker
General Manager
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Cape Town
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Graham C
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 27, 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank maryandrob m
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 27, 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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

Property: 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
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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