EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE: Affordable and relaxing stay at Umnenga Lodge
Just outside East London, along the pristine Jikeleza Route, you will find the perfect getaway spot for a weekend break or a family holiday – Umnenga Lodge. I was lucky enough to enjoy a one night stop-over at this hotel on a trip to the Wild Coast.
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.
Previously known as the Baluga Inn, 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, Wi-Fi, 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. I found their meals great value for money.
On the night of my stay, I enjoyed that evening’s special – a generous helping of traditional Babotie with chutney, rice, chips, green beans, carrots and pumpkin, all for just R35! After a good half an hour, I also had a delicious tiramisu for dessert.
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 also boasts comfortable facilities – including a large 200-seater hall, for memorable weddings and successful conferences.
For weddings, 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 an in-house wedding planner, catering services and affordable guest accommodation.
Umnenga Lodge is an ideal base for families and groups wishing to relax and explore the Jikeleza Route on the Wild Coast. Their restaurant is open to the public on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday nights – bookings are essential.
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