Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

Looking back at Umngazi:

According to legend, when Faku, famed king of the Pondo, executed his enemies at Mlengana (Execution) Rock overlooking the Umngazi River valley, their blood igazi literally ran down the streams into the river.

In the last century troops from the British garrison in Grahamstown established a fresh water supply point at Umngazi, which still supplies the hotel today.  During the final Frontier war in 1841 British soldiers camped on the present hotel site.  Later they also occupied Port St Johns, raising the Union Jack in 1871.

In 1842, Dick King watered his horses at Umngazi during his historic 1000km ride between Durban and Grahamstown.

In 1929 the Leach family established a trading post on the site. Two years later they erected three guest bungalows, which formed the nucleus of the present hotel.

The present owners, who descend directly from 1820 settler stock, their families having lived and worked on the Wild Coast for the past 135 years, substantially redeveloped Umngazi River Bungalows in 1994.

There is a tennis court, swimming pool and children’s playroom (videos/full time nannies). Cosy conference facilities, mountain biking and water-skiing are some of the activities that can be undertaken at Umngazi River Bungalows. There are also guided walks to mangrove swamps and through beautiful indigenous forests with some 240-bird species. There is also an on-site shop well stocked with toiletries, fishing tackle and holiday-wear. Secluded honeymoon bungalows are also available.


Perched on the panoramic hillside of the Umngazi River mouth, overlooking the scenic splendour of the Wild Coast. Bungalows are nestled amongst the kaleidoscopic fauna and flora that only the heart of Pondoland can offer. Our guests choose from five categories of bungalows, all of which are individually furnished and tastefully decorated.

  • Sunbird – Garden bungalows;
  • Kingfisher – River front bungalows;
  • Fish Eagle – Sea-facing bungalows;
  • Emlonyeni – Deluxe sea-facing bungalows;
  • Honeymoon – Deluxe sea-facing bungalows.



If you’re feeling a little run down or merely require some personal pampering and indulgence, then we’d definitely recommend a visit to our professional spa.

Set high on the Umngazi hillside, with breathtaking views of the coast below, guests are treated to a secluded, tranquil experience, which is difficult to beat. Our dedicated, professional therapists are on hand with a full range of spa treatments and therapies. Each therapist’s treatment room is complimented by a private spa bath, which enjoys the same spectacular views of the beach and ocean. Feel free to drift off while you’re getting the royal treatment.

The Umngazi Spa is a member of SAAHSP (South African Association of Health & Skincare Professionals) & SASA (South African Spa Asssociation)

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