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In our Winter issue:

  • Grindrod Bank Umngazi Pondo Pedal Update
  • Umngazi supports the Pink Panthers in the epic Put Foot Rally
  • The Umngazi Estuary Case Study
  • Winter Umngazi Recipe - a Pondo Pumpkin
  • Our Community Update
  • Out of Season Packages, Promos and Shows
  • Guest Gallery Competition
  • Awards for The Spa and Umngazi Wine List
  • Did you know?


The Grindrod Bank Umngazi Pondo Pedal race, held annually in June, has in just two years become a popular fixture on the mountain biking calendar. Billed as the epitome of purist Mountain biking, what truly sets this event apart is that it is a race with heart.

In the 2012 edition, 110 cyclists completed a challenging cycle over three days along the Eastern Cape's stunning Wild Coast. Participants experienced some of Africa's most sought-after virgin mountain biking trails, whilst simultaneously raising much-needed funds to support the surrounding Umngazi community.

The race consists of a total 115 kilometres of tough terrain, with each race-day beginning and concluding at the award-winning Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa, where cyclists are based for the duration of the race. The hotel management team conceptualised the race in conjunction with top sports event company B-Active, bringing Grindrod Bank onboard as corporate partner. Read more....
Umngazi has been privileged to be part of the fund raising initiative for two causes - namely the Project Rhino KZN and Put Foot Foundation through team Pink Panther.

Two fun-filled adventurous friends, Carla Geyser and Bronwyn Laing from team Pink Panthers took part in the epic life changing adventure, the Put Foot Rally.

The trek of 7917km took the intrepid adventurers though eight countries in just 20 days, from Botswana to Namibia, through Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and back to South Africa. The rally consisted of 60 teams (220 people) competing and managed to raise over 600k for the two causes mentioned above.

Team Pink Panther comprised of the two friends managed to raise 110k, the most money out of all the teams and they also won the "Gees" award. The second year of the adventure rally was a huge success and managed to change the lives of so many like-minded people on the actual trip and in Africa.

Deemed the newest adventure charity, the rally has a strong fund raising initiative. "One of my top memories was in Zambia where we donated 420 pairs of new school shoes and socks to Senkobo Basic School (119 of which are orphans). We also painted two of their classrooms and screeded one of the floors. The most incredible humbling experience which no words could possibly do justice" said Geyser.

For more info on their adventure, visit www.pinkpanthers.co.za

A twelve year continuous study has been underway on the Umngazi Estuary system by Prof Tris Wooldridge from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. Umngazi is located in the biogeographical transition zone between subtropical and temperate regions and therefore supports a mix of species from these climatic zones. There is nothing similar to this study in the rest of the country, so it is a unique data set and is providing us with a lot of new info. We shall keep you informed on all the new findings.

Meanwhile it would seem as though the Umngazi estuary ranks in the Top 10 in the country in terms of its overall condition.



  • 1 pumpkin ( with a pot to fit it into)
  • 1 packet salticrax biscuits
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup cheese of your choice
  • Fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, sage)
  • 1 packet brown onion soup mix
  • 1 punnet button mushrooms sliced


  1. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove all the seeds
    to create a cavity
  2. Chop onions, mushrooms and herbs. Crush the garlic clove
  3. Crush the salticrax biscuits
  4. Mix all ingredients together with the soup mix add 1/2 cup water
  5. Fill the pumpkin, place in a oven proof baking dish and cover with tin foil
  6. bake in oven 180 degrees C for 1 hr or until pumpkin is tender

2011 / 2012 has seen a lot of progress made in the area of community projects. We were delighted by the huge success of our "Stationary Drive" where guests generously purchased packs of stationary enabling us to purchase and distribute over 2000 stationary packs to 5 schools in our area. Thank you to all those who contributed to that over the past year.

Umngazi has also through the launch of our very own Pondo Pedal Mountain bike race managed to secure sponsorship of funds from Grindrod Bank to assist us in the huge task in assisting our local schools. Vukendlule, Sicembeni and Cwebeni and Caguba Junior Secondary schools have benefitted greatly from this over the past year with various building projects. Cwebeni has managed to build the first flushing toilet in the valley! And the other three schools have managed to build kitchens in each school to produce the much needed meals for the children - many of which will be their only meal of the day!

The additions of the kitchens will also alleviate space issues where class rooms were needed to cook these meals. Grade R children were therefore "squished" into classrooms with much older children and in some cases the schools have 3 grades in one class.

We are grateful to Boxer Hardware who donated materials to Caguba Junior Secondary school. We have managed to provide funds to repair leaking classrooms and broken window panes - it is a delight to see happy smiling children sitting in warm classrooms this winter!

Please email Michele Walker at Michele@umngazi.co.za should you have any further queries or would like to contribute to the "Friends of Umngazi" Community Trust or any of our projects.

We thank guests who have got involved in the My School Programme and linked their Woolworths cards to our Umngazi Valley Schools, namely:

  • Vukandlule Junior Secondary School
  • Cwebeni Junior Secondary School
  • Sicambeni Junior Secondary School

Please call Michele Walker at Umngazi should you have any further queries. 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 www.myschool.co.za 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!

"We are delighted at Umngazi River Bungalows to win this Les Nouvelles Esthetiques - Unique Spa Concept Award. We believe that what our Umngazi Spa offers is a truly unique Spa experience for our guests. Located on the top of a Wild Coast hill side, overlooking the Indian ocean, our guests experience Pondo hospitality at its best, from the smiles on our teams faces, the view of dolphins playing in the surf, the sound of bird life and the ocean, to world class treatments make us well deserving winners. Our motto at the hotel is "Arrive as a guests and leave as a Friend .... Our amazing spa team epitomise this in every interaction. We are hugely proud of them and all the hard work that has gone into this fantastic achievement." Michele Walker General Manager / Spa

Umngazi are proud to announce that our Wine List won 3 flutes in the SA Wine List Awards (Long List Category) convened by Michael Bampfield Duggan and Michael Olivier of Squared in association with food24. Wine lists were awarded 1, 2 or 3 Flutes according to percentages reached when matched by the Judges to the scoring criteria for Short, Medium or Long Lists.

The sardine run of southern Africa occurs from May through July when billions of sardines - or more specifically the Southern African pilchard Sardinops sagax - spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa. Their sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline. The run, containing millions of individual sardines, occurs when a current of cold water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique where it then leaves the coastline and goes further east into the Indian Ocean.

In terms of biomass, researchers estimate the sardine run could rival East Africa's great wildebeest migration.[1] However, little is known of the phenomenon. It is believed that the water temperature has to drop below 21 degrees C in order for the migration to take place. In 2003, the sardines failed to 'run' for the third time in 23 years. While 2005 saw a good run, 2006 marked another non-run.[2]

The shoals are often more than 7 km long, 1.5 km wide and 30 meters deep and are clearly visible from spotter planes or from the surface. Sardines group together when they are threatened. This instinctual behaviour is a defense mechanism, as lone individuals are more likely to be eaten than large groups.

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Tel: +27 (0) 47 564 1115/ 6/ 8 /9 | Cell no: 082 3215841/2| Email: enquiries@umngazi.co.za | Web: www.umngazi.co.za