The last time I visited the Eastern Cape on holiday was in primary school, on a family vacay with my parents. From what I remember, it was an amazing holiday. In a way its trips like those that ignited my LOVE for travelling.
Our mini vacay to the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape was long overdue. We were battling to find the right time to travel and the place we had set our heart staying at was either booked or we could not find a gap in our diaries. 2 years later we FINALLY found the time and the hotel had availability.
The Wild Coast is truly ‘wild, untamed and beautiful.’ There are incredible views of the coastline and rolling hills. Words simply cannot describe the never-ending beauty. For hikers, the Wild Coast is paradise, there’s an abundance of hiking trails that lead to the most picturesque places. For the not so keen on hiking, you can drive however a 4×4 is a must.
We were in the area for 4 days – 2 days exploring, driving to reach some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the country and 2 days at our hotel, lounging and experiencing the hotel activities. This worked out perfectly for us.
- Was dedicated to exploring Port St Johns – a town of about 6,500 people, situated at the mouth of the Umzimvubu River, a river flowing through an impressive gorge known as the “Gates of St John” into an estuary located on the Indian Ocean.
- We visited the Silaka Game Reserve – a small reserve which we learned has Zebras, Wildebeest and Blesbok. We did not see any game but the drive into the reserve to access Third beach was beyond picturesque. We then venture out to Second beach, which is geared more for swimming however Shark Attacks have occurred here.
- Another experience not to be missed at Port St Johns is the Gap and Blowhole, we made it to the area but unfortunately missed out on the entire experience.
- That afternoon we made our way to a place called The view – previously an airstrip at the end of airport road that lead to the of a cliff. Here you will experience the best views of the town, river, ocean and landscapes. A perfect way to end the day.
- We spent the morning at Magwa Falls – ‘which lie in the middle of the 1800 hectare Magwa tea plantation, South Africa’s last remaining tea estate just outside Lusikisiki. The curtain of water falls 144 metres and drops into a narrow canyon formed by seismic movement.’ The falls are remarkable…a must see if in the area.
- We met Senzo, a kid from the community who became our guide and gave us some insights on the falls and the people that visited the area. His highlight was witnessing tourist that created a rope swing bungeee jump that plunges 600ft straight down into the Magwa Falls gorge. One of those crazy activities for the adrenaline junkie. (Rope Swing Bungeee Jump Video link)
- We then ventured out to The Hole in the Wall – ‘a rocky archway set just off the Wild Coast, south of Coffee Bay.’ The drive was long but so worth it.
Where we stayed
Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa came highly recommended, I had read some great reviews and it was on my bucket list of places to stay. This piece of paradise offers absolute tranquility, a wonderful family resort that also caters to Couples looking for a peaceful getaway.
- The hotel offers spacious thatch-roofed single or double bungalows which provide the perfect setting for a totally relaxed holiday. The bungalows are comfortable and are categorized into six different categories:
- Garden, River, Sea, Emlonyeni, Honeymoon and Ntabeni.
- The Sea, River & Garden bungalows are child friendly.
- The Honeymoon, Emlonyeni and Ntabeni bungalows are exclusively for adults.
- Each bungalow is equipped with en suite bathroom and private open-air shower and NO TV:-)
Facilities and Activities
- The hotel has a Gym, Library, Games Room, Tennis, Swimming Pool, TV Lounge for adults, Kiddies area, Kayak and Motorboats which are available on hire.
- The spa is secluded from the main hotel area and offer breathtaking views of the coastline. A visit to the SPA is a must.
- The hotel also offer some interesting walks, hikes, fishing and an afternoon sunset cruise up the Umngazi River.
The hotel offers 3 meals per day – Breakfast was by far the best meal for us, for lunch we were not around and the dinner vegetarian main option on the was a little disappointing.
They have a well-stocked bar positioned over the river front, the service at the bar was great.
Our overall experience in Umngazi was great, the staff were great and the service was good. Visiting the Eastern Cape was a refreshing break from the usual Durban and Cape Town.
Another Splendid Experience!