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Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa is actively involved in making a difference. We help guests discover the wonderful connection we all share by introducing them to the warmth of the Pondo people of the area.
Below are some of the community upliftment projects social programmes the resort participates in.


Umngazi provides learning oppurtunities to people in the poorer communities, as well as training and development of staff for future leadership positions.

A group of employees have taken it upon themselves to make a difference in the lives of the staff at Umngazi (HIV training).


The resort provides a gilly service (operaters are paid a daily or hourly rate by guests) - the gillies help guests explore and fish the river banks, the beach and the rocky outcrops in the area. One such excursion is an overnight stay at a nearby fishing spot called Brazen Head, where car guards, wood gatherers and porters are employed from the village at Brazen Head. The hotel supplies meals, uniforms (shorts, shirts and hats) and identification to the local gilly operators.


Parents can rediscover their freedom while nannies assist on a daily or hourly basis (the rate includes meals). They offer care as baby sitters or happily help with bath and mealtimes. Umngazi manages their rosters, supplies uniforms & name badges.


We host an annual Pondo Pedal mountain bike race in June to raise funds for the surrounding schools in the area. Cyclists from novices to experts discover the raw beauty of the area, while helping the children of the area unearth their true potential. We also employ cyclist guides who have had the opportunity of participating in annual sponsored cycle races namely - The Imana Wild Ride, Cape Argus Race and Barberton Race.


The hikes and walks (activities offered to guests) afford the river-guides(s) much-needed employment in the area. The mangrove swamp hike extends to the next valley, where the river guides from the Umgazana valley take over from our guide(s) and canoe the guests through the swamp, to a point where they can explore the beautiful beach as they walk back to the hotel. The river guides are also excellent fishermen and share their honed fly-fishing skills and local knowledge with guests. Umngazi facilitates the booking process & collects the fees which are paid to the guides.


One of the walks is to the village to have tea with the legendary Alice – an unforgettable experience. Alice has a special brand of hospitality that reaches beyond formalities and radiates genuine interest, leaving her guests to feel more like old friends than visitors. Umngazi assists Alice with implements and ingredients with which to offer guests tea after a hike across the river to her house.

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At present we are assisting 4 schools in the area with various projects. Two schools are Section 20 and two Section 21 schools – this means that they are only partially funded by the Department of Education and therefore need as much help as they can get to deliver quality education. In the past year we have assisted these 4 schools with various building projects, adding store rooms and facilities, as well as hosting sporting events and sponsoring 14 student teachers from UKZN for the month of August 2011. Our stationery drive managed to raise R25 000, enabling us to purchase 1000 stationery packs, which produced 1000 priceless smiles. If you’d like to discover the rewards of giving to a truly appreciative community, why not join our FRIENDS OF UMNGAZI fund. To find out more, please contact Michele on

We thank guests who have linked their My School Programme and their Woolworths cards to our Umngazi Valley Schools, namely:
Vukandlule Junior Secondary School
Cwebeni Junior Secondary School
Sicambeni Junior Secondary School

Note that you can support the schools by linking your Woolworths card to MySchool and every time you swipe your card; 1% of your purchase will go to your nominated school. You can nominate up to three schools.
Go onto to register and click on one or more of our schools as above. Your on-going support and love of our special valley is so appreciated.

We thank you in advance for your generosity and spirit!


Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehab centre is based in Mthatha and was founded in October 1972.

The centre was created to help physically and mentally disabled youngsters reach their full potential through various forms of creativity.

There are currently four workshops - pottery, sewing, leatherwork and arts & crafts with 15 trainees in the pottery workshop. The trainer is a pottery specialist and a professional fine artist.

The youngsters are encouraged to explore their creative side as a method of expressing one’s feelings and emotions, a vital part of their development.

Graduates of the programme will receive certification from the Walter Sisulu University of Technology. You can view some of their amazing pottery on sale in the Umngazi shop.

Ikhwezi also looks after approximately 70 abandoned children, ranging from birth to 6 years.


The blanket project was introduced in the winter of 2005 and is another opportunity for guests to become part of the fabric of this community. Many guests have contributed to the knitting of squares that are then sewn together to make blankets for the needy children in the community. The guests enjoy chatting next to a log fire and at the same time are helping children keep warm at night.

Community knitting projects are also held in the church on Thursday evenings. Ladies are given knitting lessons & their garments and various other items are sold in the Umngazi shop for the benefit of the community.


These are based on the beach side of Umngazi. You can hire them for a nominal rate and all proceeds go to the community.

 uneathing local goodness


Local produce (fruit & veg) is purchased from the locals. Over R2000 per week is paid to the neighbouring village ladies who grow and sell us wholesome fresh produce.


The Cwebeni Trust with the assistance of Pick n Pay have resurrected the community’s Honey Project. Honey is taken from the trunks of the black mangrove trees in the Umngazama River and the Cwebeni village benefits directly from this project. You are able to purchase the honey from our shop and visit the project on one of our walks.

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Much of our refuse is burnt in our own incinerators and as much as is possible is reused or recycled. All old cooking oil is removed from site and sold to be recycled into biodiesel. Unfortunately there is currently no recycling plant within the area – we will however keep you posted on this if there are any developments.


We’ve kept the Umngazi garden as indigenous as possible to reveal the real beauty of this little paradise. All new planting is indigenous and only organic compost is used. No harmful chemicals are used in the garden.


When you discover something as special as Umngazi, it’s only natural to try and protect it. Every effort has been made to conserve water and water saving practices have been put in place in our gardens, and throughout the property.


As part of our 2011 energy campaign we installed heat pumps on all geysers at Umngazi. This saves up to of 65% of the electricity used compared to a traditional electrical geyser.

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