South Africa: Grootbos Nature Reserve

Photo courtesy of Grootbos Nature Reserve.

Grootbos Nature Reserve is a 2500 hectare family-owned nature reserve in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom in the south of South Africa. On the fynbos-clad slopes overlooking Walker Bay, between the villages of Stanford and Gansbaai, there are two lodges and one villa. All with breathtaking views on rolling hills, majestic mountains and the ocean in the distance. On a clear day, it’s even possible to see all the way to Cape Point!

What we liked: the peacefulness of the whole place. We could just feel our bodies relax at the sight of the intense fresh shades of green around us, the smell of flowers and herbs and the stunning views.

The rooms: the 11 luxury suites in the Garden Lodge are stylishly furnished with luxurious canopy beds, spacious en suite bathrooms, separate lounges with cosy fireplaces and private wooden decks with spectacular panoramic views. The Forest Lodge has 16 more luxury suites in contemporary design. Large glass doors flood the space with natural light.

Play outdoor: nice tracks for hiking & trailrunning, there’s horsebackriding on the large estate and nearby beach and there are plans for mountainbiketrails. See also: our feature about Horsebackriding on Grootbos Nature Reserve.

Special: when you book a suite or the villa at Grootbos Nature Reserve, a whale safari from the port of Gansbaai is included in your stay. We were here in the middle of the ‘whale season’ – every year from June to December hundreds of Southern Right Whales choose Walker Bay as their home for the mating season – and there were whales everywhere! A spectacular boat trip.

More activities: 4×4 flower safari, scenic flights, bird watching, wine tours.

Unwind: in one of the two spa’s on the estate. Choose footreflex therapy, shiatsu massage, a facial or one of the other options on the spa menus of The Bloom Beauty Salon or the Forest Spa. The natural products are locally sourced.


Eco & social tourism: your visit contributes to conservation efforts and the development of sustainable nature-based livelihoods of local communities

How to get there: Grootbos is a scenic 2 hour drive from Cape Town and just 30 minutes from Hermanus at the Garden Route

© Words and photographs by Linda van de Pavoordt (unless mentioned otherwise). Published October 14th, 2015.

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