Ryan and Braedyn

Hello to all my followers.

Before you say it, yes I know, it has been since November since you last heard from me. I am sorry and will try to get to more time to send news to you.  From my side, I am well and your favourite hotel is doing well!  So I guess the next step is to ask…where to start with the news?

On the Home Front

On the home front all is well. As Anri, Cornel and I spend most mornings over a coffee sharing stories of our growing boys, Arno, Ruan & Braedyn. The youngest boys are now firmly in their 3’s and, if you said the terrible 2’s, well I think it is the opinionated 3’s are where we are learning better negotiating skills…and that will surely help in our business environment! But they are amazing little boys, who when they want to, can charm the birds from the trees. We also have one of our housekeepers expecting in September and a few new healthy relationships in the team.

On the Golf Front

On the golf front my swing has improved, but not as well as Kim’s game. Kim, our hardworking stores manager, was once again awarded the Champion of Port Shepstone Country Club as well as representing our KZN ladies team in the inter provincial championship in the Cape later this year. I was awarded ‘Nomad of the Year’ for the Southern Natal Club, have won and been runner up in the B division. So, not that bad – but there is definitely room for improvement!

I happened to come across a Party shop whilst planning a recent party. In looking for some inspiration for my upcoming 4Oth in October, if you are looking for items, rather do from the comfort of your home with a glass of wine and slippers on, then this is the place for you: www.mustloveparty.co.za. Let me know your thoughts!

New Team Member

I would also like to take the time to welcome Ilse Graydon to the team. Ilse will be heading up our Marketing Department as our Group Marketing Manager.  She adds to us some fantastic skills as well as having her baby girl (Emma) to balance out the testosterone of our boys! Some of you might be asking what has happened to Sandy. Well, she is not gone, but putting her energy where she has so much passion and calling.  She will be keeping an oversight I can promise, watching and encouraging us, and weighing in when she sees need.

Now down to the news you are looking for on the hotel – your favourite place on the South Coast of KZN.

I will try wrap up the last 9 months since my last news:

Last December

Last December was a great season, with some really festive year end functions! With that in mind, we have put together a wonderful Year End Getaway Conference Package, something for all, so make sure you look it up. I think it will definitely assist in those on the fence looking for something to bring the team together.

Click to view our Year End Getaway Conference Package


February saw us having our ‘Month of Love’, where you were able to bring your love for free to the hotel over weekends. This saw some amazing weekends, with fun, laughter and love… even had a few close calls on proposals! So if you are planning something like this, we are here to assist.


March brought the 4th edition of the Craft Beer, Food and Wine Festival, Before organizing this I was getting asked (or told!), “There is no way you can better last year’s festival.”  Challenge accepted! We will be driving to host the best yet, and this will include at least the Gin Room, Wine Room, Food & Beer House with different artists on the different platforms! I can do even one better for those who like planning in advance – this next year it will be on the 1st March 2019, a Friday. We sold 400 tickets this year and there were a lot of sad people when all tickets were sold! So best you get that diary or app out and put it in. Watch this space (and our social media) for when tickets go on sale. Gratefully we received the “Best Function Venue” Reader’s Choice award by South Coast Herald for the 3rd year running. This award is based only on votes by the public.  I want to thank my team for all their hard work and dedication in serving our guests so well. It is our aim to “delight our guests”. Thank you from me to all the readers and fans for your support.


May was Mom’s Month, celebrating our moms and they got to stay free.  It was so good to see the love of family spoiling these special women. We even had a family group of 4 generations of women, 3 generations of moms. What an experience to see so much family love.


July was our memorable FFFF Weekend with all things family and fishing. We are even going to be featured in the next edition of Go Fish magazine, so this event is growing nicely. It was a perfect weekend where a few dads tried to see the sunrise from after the night in the pub.  This didn’t go well to their scores, but those who had an earlier night were there with me at sunrise to see the dolphins, enjoy the sunshine, and the “What Winter” feeling was enjoyed all.  We saw 8 species come out the waters, with a total of 37 fish.  This is most definitely building to be an epic weekend for families. Unfortunately I cannot release the date for next year yet, as we are waiting for the tides to ensure we have lots of water.  It will be same as this year, but I can say that, honestly, it will be one to not miss out during the July school holidays in 2019.

(PHOTO BY Craig from CC Photography)
The Sardine Run was epic this year as well, with the schools of fish coming up the coast and landing at many of our beaches. It’s truly a natural phenomenon that we enjoy here on the south coast. Our Thunzi has become another celebrity cat being all over social media even with followers now.  He is living the life as what he feels is “manager” of the hotel and greeting guests. Robyn, our Assistant Front Office Manager is not a cat person, but rather prefers dogs yet she allows Thunzi to scan her mails in the morning, right next to her. That is until she brings out the purple fleece blanket, when all friends are lost, and he then becomes the biggest softy of note. It is so good to have him in a better health after his eye operation, and we thank you all for your wishes of wellbeing
Well I hope all the above made you sad, or happy, depending if you made the events or not. For you to note, here are the upcoming ones.

Upcoming Events:

The long weekend in September we host the annual Andrew Mentis Weekend with Glenbrynth Whisky tasting on the Saturday night, something not be to missed. This will be amazing, as we have the director of Glenbrynth doing the tasting, as well as Tommy Larkan to provide some interesting questions.  Plus the opportunity to take me on? At golf that is! On Sunday the 23rd it will be at Southbroom where we will provide a shuttle service to the course and back. You can enjoy the Lamb on the Spit with Scottish Gin served with rosemary and grapefruit at half way, sponsored by Umthunzi. Drop us a mail on reservations@umthunzi.co.za for the special rate for the weekend.

Click to view details and to book.
9th November will see us hosting the 2nd Country themed evening. Last year’s Mexico theme will have nothing on our Taste of Asia, Before you say anything, yes I know it is not a country, but I couldn’t leave out all the potential flavours that are there and the fun we will have. Make sure you save the date. I have mentioned the Conference Package including the team building, but we also have some amazing Year End Function Menus for you this year. I can tell you a secret, they are more cost effective than last year but as delicious, so make sure you send an email to reservations@umthunzi.co.za for them, and to make sure you book
Click to view menus and make sure to book in time
Christmas Lunch bookings are open, with very limited spaces.  It always is an awesome day, and you don’t have to do the dishes afterwards. Please make sure you are not disappointed by booking even now as we had so many disappointed folk who tried to book at the last minute.
Click for details and book in time
Lastly, we are going to try something new in January, so watch this space. Finally, for those of you who are my loyal fans, I manage one of the best hotels on the KZN South Coast, so it is easy to be a fan we trust!  Moving forward, we are now rewarding you for the long stays, or the repeat stays, to thank you for your loyalty.  For those of you who haven’t yet managed to get to us often… well get with the programme and make sure your next visit to the South Coast is to Umthunzi, taking us up on all of the specials we are running. We would love to have you stay in your “home away from home”.
I look forward having you challenge me, or my secret weapon, on the golf course, drinking one of Haley’s new wines on her list, or challenging Cornel to the biggest catch. Maybe you need to simply relax and unwind here but, whichever way it is, I look forward to seeing you soon! Until then

Ryan Ringo

General Manager

Umthunzi Hotel & Conference

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