South Africa ’14, Part 2: Umngazi River – our kind of paradise

When I saw some pictures of the Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa the first time while planning our trip, I knew we had to make a stop here. It was a long drive from Drakensberg, not in terms of distance but in terms of time because of the very curvy mountain highways across Kwazulu-Natal province. The resort is nicely located at the Umngazi River Mouth where it meets the Pacific ocean, very secluded from the rest of the crowds along the coast around Durban. It is the oldest beach resort in South Africa dating back to 1906. The staffs were friendly and attentive, the foods were beyond delicious, and they had the most amazing home-made chilly sauce I’ve ever tried, and I tried pretty much everything(!). Do you know any resort where the chef went around every night asking every guest if they were happy with their meals? This is that kind of place. The rooms are on the modest, eco-friendly side  so nothing really luxurious, but decent and clean. What they lack in luxury they more than make up for it with  this view…

Ocean view from our bungalow

and this Spa…

Spa at it's best. 2 hour program with massage, bath, champagne and a priceless view
Spa at it’s best and a million-dollar view. We spent one entire afternoon here, first with a two-hour couple massage & facial then who-knows-how-long in this tub afterwards. Champagne in the afternoon is always a good idea ;-). We slept like babies that night.

and the exclusive beach of course . At low tide, you can cross the river on foot to reach the beach. Other than that there’s a small ferry taking you to the other side anytime you want. All you have to do is go to the port and ring the bell.

Beach day
Often we had the whole beach for us all alone


View from the ferry boat that carries you across the river to the beach
View of the entire resort from the ferry that carries you across the river to the beach. I still miss this view every now and then.
In the resort
The garden

The garden/pool area

That's the flag to raise when you're looking for (another) drink at the pool - great service all over the place
No more shouting for hotel staff, just raise the flag and they’ll be at your service

The pool

Horseback riding is a so-called community event, organised by the local people living nearby
Horseback riding organised by the local people living in the area, one of the many activities offered by the resort
Looks like John Wayne - almost....
My John Wayne 😉


The must-have selfie

Sunset Umngazi river tour, watching fish eagles
Umngazi river sunset tour, watching fish eagles


Playing dart after dinner. I have to admit, the dart right in the middle was hers.....
Playing dart after dinner. I have to admit, the dart right in the middle was her’s…..

During the 5 days there we didn’t get on the car once. We spent our time going for long walks on the beach, horse-back riding with the local kids, taking the sunset tour along the river, reading some in the library (yes, they built a library from books left by hotel guest, which I think is a genius idea), and the rest of the time lounging around the pool and bar area. It was exactly what we needed after the long winter in Europe. It was so relaxing that we were really sad to leave.

Writing this from today perspective (19.02.2016) we’re kind of ready to move on from South Africa cause we’ve “been there and seen it all”, at lease those places we wanted to see, but this is the only place that’d probably make us come back someday.

Au Revoir

On the way to our next destination. A funny shop in some village in Kwazulu-Natal.
In some village in Kwazulu-Natal on our way to the North. We couldn’t have said it any better so Have a Ding Dong Day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *