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Durban City Bytes : City Bytes / Travel

Umngazi River Bungalows

A stay at the Umngazi River Bungalows on the Wild Coast is one of those things you're supposed to do before you die. 

We had been planning our trip to Umngazi River Bungalows for so long that I was a little afraid that we'd built it up to unattainable heights. It was with this mixture of nerves and excitement, shaken not stirred after navigating the bumpy roads, that I arrived in a little piece of heaven.  The complex clings to the hillside overlooking the Umngazi River mouth and the ocean.  Although the communal areas were a bustle of activity from the moment we arrived on Saturday until we departed on Tuesday, there was still a sense of being in one of the most untouched areas in the country.  The river moves languidly towards a desolate stretch of beach, which can only be reached by ferry boat.  It seemed only fitting that we would move languidly for the next few days too. 

We discovered early on in our stay at Umngazi what the focus was to be for our holiday: food.  Rates are inclusive of three meals a day, and I'm pretty sure that by the end of it I had eaten enough to feed a small nation for a year.  Check-in time was 2pm so we weren't expecting lunch?boy were we wrong! The receptionist hustled us off to the dining room the second we arrived and implored us to tuck in.  It would have been impolite of us to refuse that kind of hospitality.  So we tucked in, and continued to do so for the next three days.  The food was, for the most part, simple and delicious, a little heavy on the seafood for my taste, but with enough choice to keep even this fussy eater happy.

In between eating, there was a host of activities we could have participated in, if we weren't so committed to relaxation.  So instead of going on three hour walks to the mangroves, we chose to laze about in the comfy lounge areas on the days it was rainy, and on the loungers around the pool, cocktails in hand, on the solitary sunny day.  It's tough being as focused on serenity as we were. 

Umngazi is very much a family oriented resort, with lots planned for the little ones, and nannies available to hire.  The toddlers travelling with us were a touch on the young side for treasure hunts and fishing competitions, but they still had a whale of a time in the pool and sand pit.  They even managed not to fling themselves overboard on the sundowner cruise, which despite my pathological fear of boats, was one of the highlights of the trip.

Another highlight would definitely have to be the outdoor shower that came with our gorgeous room.  There's nothing quite like watching the waves roll in while you're soaping up at the end of a long day relaxing.  Bliss - which pretty much sums up our whole Pondo Interlude.

We did the 3 day Pondo Interlude Package, staying in a sea facing bungalow, for R2570 per person, for all three nights. More information can be found at www.umngazi.co.za.



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