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“Fantastic Wild Coast Experience”

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Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Port St Johns
Certificate of Excellence
Gersau, Switzerland
Level Contributor
222 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Fantastic Wild Coast Experience”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

I stayed at Umngazi in the 80s when the resort was a little more than a clump of rondawels. We decided to do a tour up from Cape Town to the Wild Coast last December to show my foreign boyfriend a little taste of SA.

I managed to book the honeymoon suite on top of the hill next to the spa with phenomenal views of the river mouth and beach. It was only available for 3 nights unfortunately as we could easily have stayed a week. It was complete with a jet bath, inside and outside showers, walk in closet, living room, large entrance area and magnificent patio! The daily activities keeps one entertained and busy. The food and hospitality was unbeatable.

Now I know why I could never get a booking in the past - people come back for more every year!

If we ever get the opportunity to visit in the future, we will definitely jump at it and recommend that you do the same!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Smartie777
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, July 18, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for your kind review, it was greatly appreciated. I do remember you both very well and of course remember the great evening in Basil's. Always happy to hear that we have managed to make a guest a friend here at Umngazi.

I do hope we get to welcome you back to Umngazi in the not to distant future.

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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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (125)
Date | Rating
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English first
Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2013

Umngazi River Bungalows is in a subtropical location that does no really get cold. The room that was allocated to me was very cold. The room had two small beds, while my three colleagues were all8acted rooms with large beds where the sun shone in.

Room Tip: Avoid room 26
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank Robert L
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, August 4, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Sorry to hear your stay with us was not as comfortable as hoped. Although our climate is sub-tropical some areas of the resort do not enjoy the early sun in winter, as well some winter nights and mornings are chilly due to the cold breeze off the Umngazi River. We do provide heaters if requested. Good to hear your colleagues had a great stay, lets make sure you check in first next time to make sure you get the best room.

Thank you for your comments and feedback and we look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

Kind regards,

Graham
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
71 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2013

I travelled to Umngazi River Bungalows with my Fiance' last year in October (2012). I am only getting around to writing the review now, but it was so well worth it that I needed to say something :). LOVED the beautiful settings along the river and we made full use of the stunning pool area with great views. I advise you look at their off-peak specials (which we made use of) because they really make this place even more affordable and include special little extras that increase the value of the trip. We chose the Spa package and had fantastic spa treatments (in one of the most beautiful spas I have ever seen. We also received a gorgeous little gift set and a welcoming bottle of wine. The staff were wonderful and friendly and the food was, for the most part great, apart from one evening meal of over cooked calamari. Very forgivable though because of the wide range of options and the fact that all meals are included. The cocktails are well price and all absolutely DELISH!!

For a romantic trip away, this place is fabulous, but I do recommend (for a couple looking for a quiet, romantic time) to go during school terms because during school holidays there are a lot more young children.

Room Tip: All the rooms are lovely (even the garden-view ones) and are all spacious - If you have the extra ca...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank MegCr0sby
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, June 20, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you for the kind review, we don't mind the delay in receiving a review, although a little late to fix the calamari.

Thank you so much for the positive feedback, especially about the value for money, as this is one of our key 'pillars' that we have in place to keep Umngazi guests coming back year after year.

I hope we get to welcome you back again in the not to distant future.

Kind regards,

Graham
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grahamstown, South Africa
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2013

What a lovely setting for a getaway! Especially for a family, if you have kids and you want to get them away from the hustle and bustle then this is the place!

It really is beautiful on looking the river and with a short walk down to the beach its a real treat.

We only stayed for two days on our road trip but its a lovely place. Rooms are nice, very basic but with local charm. No TV's in there (when we were there) so not for those who like to set up camp in a room the whole time. It forces you out into the beautiful surrounds. Lots to do and see and a perfect getaway for a group of friends.

Food was not particularly great nor was the staff service (you have to wait a while and some seem to understand very little about waitressing) but if you are laid back just enjoy its simplicity.

We managed to get lost in the nearby village (GPS is not always your friend) but from start to finish we had a lovely time.

Room Tip: Try get a room that has a direct view of the river.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Lauren L
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, June 20, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you for your kind review, we don't mind these kind of reviews no matter the time delay! It was great to read you enjoyed Umngazi and all its natural beauty.

You did mention some communication and language difficulties, but as I am sure you found out that the friendliness and helpfulness will have more than made up for this.

Thank you for visiting us and I do hope we get to welcome you back again oneday soon!

Kind regards,

Graham
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2013

This place never ceases to amaze me. The surroundings, the incredible value and don't forget the spa. I work with hotels on a daily basis and I can honestly say that this place is one of the best run establishments I've ever come across. Its really like one of those places you remember as a kid. Lots of things to do, LOTS of great food (Check out the Chef's stomach) for proof of this, great service and wonderful accommodation. Once again, thanks to the Umngazi team for providing myself and my family a much needed break! We'll be back.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MarkAllewell
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, June 5, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for this incredible review it is great to read that your holiday was everything that you deserved it to be. I have passed on your description to the chef as well, I enjoyed it! We look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards,

Graham
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 1, 2013

As a " old salt" with over 50 visits to Umngazi over 35 years covering family visits, business weekends and a very special anniversary week with that truly memorable flight along one of the worlds most spectacular coast lines I can only marvel at the service levels, value for money and sheer enjoyment one gets from a visit. As a person who has been lucky to travel extensively We can pay no higher honour to Umngazi than to say all establishments we visit are benchmarked against that of Umngazi. While presently in Australia I eagerly look forward to my next Umngazi " fix" next year.

Room Tip: Book a sea view room, take a gilly for fishing
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bobby H
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, June 4, 2013
Dear Bobby,

I know these reviews are meant to be annonymous but it would be impossible for me not to know who you are. So this is just to say thank you for your ongoing support of us here at Umngazi and we to look forward to welcoming youself, Lyn and the family back to Umngazi very soon!

Best wishes,

Graham
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eltville am Rhein, Germany
Level Contributor
71 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed May 25, 2013

We booked the fly-in package from Virginia airport in Durban, where we experienced a fantastic and friendly service, also when we landed on a gravel road on top of a mountain we were welcomed by fresh croissants and coffee - life was good! Unfortunately the high expectations were quickly irritated when arriving at reception. We got the number and keys for our double bungalows and that was it. Nobody was explaining the resort to us or giving us proper directions, so we wandered around for a bit. Eventually we found our rooms which were nice and spacious but the promised ocean and river views restricted by trees and roofs which took the fun out of it, when you sometimes needed to flee from the crowded pool area where almost every single child was accompanied by its own nanny from the community.
Our kids definitely had a great week being busy fishing, crab hunting, marshmallow braaing, etc. In the evening they were watching Disney movies while we tried to make the best of the food they provided, mostly tasteless or salty and/or greasy. The presentation was also hospital style, nothing for the eye as well. So there was no need to book the wine cellar or beach bungalow for an intimate dinner- even with an excellent and reasonably priced wine list. For dinner we mostly ended up having fresh and crispy salad, cheese and a bottle of wine. The croissants for breakfast were fantastic but did not go well with a watery coffee (I topped it up with espresso as my requests were ignored). I know South Africans are not very ambitious in terms of foodand we are probably the only picky odd ones but I am also not talking about fine dining. Some fresh herbs and spices and a good common sense would do and maybe a Jamie Oliver book. Nevertheless I recommended Umngazi to family and friends informing them about the food issue. I am more than happy to top up my review if this has been improved as the scenery and setting were truly special.
PS
Many thanks to Nelson, Kevin and Yanga who also made our stay worthwhile. And Ben, the best gillie of all!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank thandiblu
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, May 28, 2013
Dear Umngazi Guest,

Thank you so much for your review, your comments and feedback are important to us. My sincere apologies with regards to your arrival and welcome, this is not our standard and will be addressed with the relevant person who checked you in. I will of course also address your comments about the food, as well as coffee strength. I appreciate your kind words of thanks to the team members mentioned in your review these have been shared with them.

Thank you for recommeding us to your friends and family, we do look forward to welcoming them here in the not to distant future and also welcoming you and your family back soon as well, I hope.

Thank you for your support and taking the time to give your feedback on your stay.

Kind regards,

Graham
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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