Affordable and relaxing stay at Umnenga Lodge
Just outside East London, along the pristine Jikeleza Route, you will find Umnenga Lodge, the perfect getaway for a weekend break or a family holiday.
Set between the lush sub-tropical bush and white, sandy, Indian Ocean beaches, the Jikeleza Route – meaning ‘wander’ or ‘meander’ in Xhosa, offers visitors a refreshing fusion of the Eastern Cape’s wealth of natural, artistic and diverse attractions in a malaria-free, temperate climate.
It is along this route, in a haven called Glen Eden, close to the Bulura River Mouth, that you will find Umnenga Lodge.
The lodge was acquired a few years ago by Gareth and Calista Stanton who have since transformed it into a popular stop for international bus tours, business travellers and family groups.
Umnenga provides affordable 3 Star accommodation in 26 rooms - all en-suite and equipped for a comfortable and relaxing stay. Guests have the option to choose between double, dam-facing and garden-facing rooms.
Available also is off-street secure parking, DSTV, a Kids Playground and Laundry Services.
Their large, open-plan restaurant, with an outdoor deck, has a nautical theme and an inviting bar area along the one side. They have a great kids menu too.
The table setting is neat and the chairs are comfortable. While I was there the chef came out to chat to his patrons a few times throughout the dinner service; you can tell he loves his job and is proud of the food he has served.
The 15 minute drive from East London is well worth the personal service, consistently good, tasty meals and so reasonably priced too.
I ordered the crumbed mushrooms as a starter, these were large juicy mushrooms, all skewered on a stick. They were filled with cream cheese, crumbed and then deep fried - these were succulent and so juicy. My main meal was the best chicken schnitzel I have ever had. A large and tender schnitzel, served with perfectly crisp chips and delicious veg. A creamy cappuccino finished off this meal perfectly as there was no space for dessert. The portions are very generous.
The restaurant is open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening from 6pm. On weekend the restaurant is exclusively for the lodge guests and the many weddings and functions that take place.
The spacious, 200 seater venue can be decorated to your individual theme and specifications, Calista and her team are known to pull off the most beautifully decorated weddings as they stop at nothing to provide you with your heart’s desire in creating the wedding of your dreams.
The lodge has a luxurious Honeymoon Suite which features its own courtyard complete with a private Jacuzzi. Besides the hall and beautiful gardens for outdoor ceremonies, they also provide catering services and affordable guest accommodation.
I noticed Gareth and Calista are hands on and make you feel at home in their establishment. “We would like all of our guests to feel that they are part of the family at Umnenga!” explained Calista.
Umnenga Lodge has an Espresso coffee and cappuccino machine, Wi-Fi connection for those wanting to keep in touch with the virtual world and is also wheelchair-friendly for disabled guests. Bookings are essential.
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