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Posted on: August 12, 2015, in Guest Review

We’ve substituted our usual #WindDownWednesday of spa promos for a far more fruity story…
“Story Teller is my name, and racon-touring is my game” are the words of well-known nature and environmental writer David Bristow. For many years Bristol has travelled across Africa in a tale of discovery, and his journey is far from the end.
With a sturdy array of achievements behind him, including a double honours degree in Journalism and Speech and Drama at Rhodes University, an 18-month mountaineering odyssey that culminated in the best-selling coffee table book Mountains of Southern Africa (Struik, Cape Town, 1984), authoring some 20 books and hundreds of travel articles and even an added masters degree in Environmental Sciences at Cape Town University; it is fair to say that a review from Bristow is both welcomed and celebrated.
“I’ve driven, walked and cycled the entire Wild Coast and names such as Seagulls, Trenneries, Wavecrest, Kob Inn, The Haven, Mazeppa Bay, Mboyti and Mkambathi are hard-wired into my psychic DNA. But above all these in the pantheon of Transkei wonderlands stands one very special place, one that you only whisper lest some yobbo overhears. The word “Umngazi” (sotto voce).
There is something special about a person who praises our piece of paradise, but something far more touching about the connection made with someone who appreciates the Wild Coast itself. It is beyond refreshing to encounter so many people who have a passion and love for all the things that make up and represent Umngazi.
“To people I like, people who I think might get the place, I say just two words – Wild Coast. Of course they press me, so I add things like beaches, glorious beaches, all to yourself usually, with maybe a few Nguni cows. And fresh crayfish and oysters straight from the ocean. Forests and waterfalls, rolling grassy hills and cowherds, or kwedin’, as they are locally called, women in red shawls and turbans smoking corncob pipes, faces painted with white clay. Huts with chickens and children kicking up dust. What I like most about the place is that it is a very African tableau, right in our back yard. How lucky are we who were born in these parts and had the place to explore when the world and we wuz a lot younger.”
That being said, we are even more welcoming to those who appreciate the service we provide, the little extras that make an experience that much more special – such as a seven page wedding wine list.
I’ve been there several times and recently was privileged to share the wedding of two very dear friends who booked out the place for a very African style wedding: three days and three nights of festivities and ceremonies that rank as the finest jol, with heart and soul, that I recall experiencing. And, like I said, I’ve been around a bit.
But all that fun and games aside, what struck me and my partner in crime, drinking and mountain biking, apart from everything else, was the wedding wine list (bar open from around sunrise to 3 am every day). Not only don’t you get to go to Umngazi every day (many holiday-makers simply block off the next year’s dates each time they visit, to ensure they get in), you don’t often get to go to a three-day wedding in such a place.
Then, to boot, it would be a blue moon around Saturn to get a seven-page wine list like this, the simple reading of which is poetry to a vinophile’s heart.”
For more information on the many wines available at Umngazi, visit
{Article featured on by David Bristow}

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