Nature is a healer. Time spent in the great outdoors has been one of the best ways to survive this crazy year. I have felt the benefits, both physically and psychologically, of getting into the wide open spaces that we are fortunate to have access to in South Africa.
After a really tough year for my family it was very special to recently spend a few days at the gorgeous Grootbos with my mom. To enjoy a few days soaking in the magic of this special place was a balm for our weary souls.
This exclusive luxury location offers nature immersed activities ranging from the Grootbos fynbos flower safari, to bird watching with expert guides, to horse riding through the reserve and visits to white washed dunes. The nearby rich coastline is home to ancient caves, picture perfect beaches and tidal rock pools pulsating with a myriad of scuttling creatures while Walker Bay is home to the most accessible of the Great White Shark colonies in the world.
We arrived to be greeted by our friendly guide, Christoff, and wound our way through the ancient milkwood forest walkway to discover the incredible Forest Lodge. With breathtaking views across the Overberg from every expansive window to the vaulted wooden ceilings and botanical inspired decor, it was immediately apparent why this lodge has earned the accolade of being a National Geographic Lodge of the World.
On arriving at our luxurious suite we flung open the doors to our private wooden deck to fully enjoy the endless horizon of the fynbos fields, blue mountains and ocean spray. This is the place for ultimate relaxation, restoration and reconnection – to nature and each other, not to the wifi!
Every free standing suite at Forest Lodge is exquisitely furnished and the rooms have luxurious canopy beds and large bathrooms with baths that offer the best spot to spend a few contemplative moments soaking in the scenery. There is a cosy fireplace for winter and an outdoor shower for summer.
“feel serenity settle over you like a delicate mist”
Our main intention for our visit to Grootbos was to spend has much time immersing ourselves in the natural wonderland it offers on the premises, so we requested to experience as many of the walks and hikes available. Our first outing with our guide was through the ancient Milkwood forest where many of the trees are over 800 years old. (Yellow Route). Here we explored this ancient grove discovering more about the creatures great and small that call this forest home, even tracking a Knysna Woodpecker.
The next afternoon we embarked on a self-guided walk along the Blue Route, a fairly easy amble through the fynbos and up to a viewpoint that offers vistas across Walker Bay and beyond. From this elevated spot high above the lodge we marvelled at Atlantic Ocean shimmering silver in the late afternoon light, watched the mist roll in up the Klein River valley and marvelled at the beautiful birds swooping above us then wound our way back down through the milkwood forest.
Grootbos is a floral paradise and a visit is not complete without a Fynbos Safari on the back of an open-top 4×4 with one of the very knowledgeable field guides. The Cape Floral Kingdom region is a World Heritage Site and acknowledged as the smallest, yet most diverse of the world’s plant kingdoms. This outing with Christoff was a highlight of our stay as he spent time explaining the role of the many plants and animals in keeping the biodiversity of the reserve in balance.
There are 800 recorded plant species in the 2500 hectares of pristine wilderness. We learnt so much on our botanical safari about this rich floral kingdom – how flowers attract pollinators and how important fires are for bringing forth new life – and we even stumbled across a rare bearded orchid. This experience at Grootbos had far more impact than just a few hours, as we both returned to our home in the Cape with a new appreciation for the beauty of fynbos.
One of the beautiful ways Grootbos celebrates their abundant floral treasures is through their beautiful Grootbos Florilegium – a collection of exquisite botanical art by artists from around the world who are invited to visit Grootbos and select their favourite flower to represent on paper. The entire collection of original artworks is on display at Forest Lodge and you can take home a print of your favourite work (or 10!) I can attest it will be a very hard decision to choose only 1. We loved discovering the flora in an entirely new medium and admiring the variety of botanical art styles on display.
Our stay at Grootbos was very special connecting time for my mom and myself. We had so much time together – not something that really occurs in everyday life – and we were able to spend time talking about so much.
Many of these conversations took place while we enjoyed the incredible food offerings at Grootbos. We had our morning tea and rusk on our private patio, enjoyed the abundant breakfast offerings (including my favourite Eggs Benedict with salmon) on the deck each morning and incredible 5 star fine dining in the evenings. Every meal at the Forest Lodge restaurant was superb – colourful and flavourful – and every mouthful a treat to relish!
The menu draws inspiration from the rich biodiversity of the fynbos and the fresh local seasonal produce the region has to offer. The kitchen uses only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, with nearly half of them grown on site in the Growing the Future food production and social upliftment project. For those who are culinary inclined Grootbos will certainly not disappoint. This is destination dining at it’s very best.
Sustainability is at the heart of Grootbos. They conserve over 20 000 hectares of vulnerable landscape, home to countless rare and endangered plant, animal and bird species. They work into the surrounding communities through various vocational training, youth sports for development, employability and entrepreneurship training programmes and initiatives. In 2020 alone they reached more than 7 000 beneficiaries from across seven communities and 16 local schools. Grootbos is recognised as a world leader in sustainable and progressive tourism and a stay here directly supports these conservation and community development initiatives.
Our time together at Grootbos was one of blissful escape. We had time for personal introspection and contemplative conversations. We allowed time to unfold without rush or reason. We soaked in the serenity and allowed the calming atmosphere of time spent so close to nature to permeate our souls.
The Grootbos Magic will indeed lure us back time and again…
Experience this special place for yourself with their upcoming Summer Sun Special aimed at South Africans…
Summer Sun Special
11 January 2021 – 30 April 2021
55% Off the Normal Rate for locals!
“We have faced many hardships this winter and emerged into the splendour of spring with new life and energy and as we bid spring farewell, we not only welcome the inspiring change of season into Summer, we embrace it”.
Summer at Grootbos resonates with bursting life and abundance. The surrounding fynbos hills are covered with colourful pockets of green, red and orange, the sound of cheerful birdsong can be heard all around and the glistening waters of Walker Bay are brimming with incredible marine life.
Grootbos has experiences for all tastes, from blissful beach days on the untouched shores of Walker Bay, to an adventurous fat bike tour along the dunes. Indulge in relaxing wellness treatment under the ancient milkwood forest or wind down in our luxurious suites with a bottle of wine from our curated collection of rare and award-winning wines. Summer is truly unforgettable at Grootbos.
The stay includes:
5 STAR PREMIUM ACCOMMODATION IN FREESTANDING SUITES
Feel connected to the vivid landscapes and pristine natural surroundings when staying in the luxurious freestanding suites. Sink into the splendour of the endless views from your private freestanding private suite, each with its own private deck, fireplace and outdoor shower.
WHOLESOME AND NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST
Start each day with a hearty and delicious breakfast made from locally sourced ingredients. Freshly baked bread, freshly squeezed juices and a variety of fresh fruit. Our executive chef, Benjamin Conradie is ready to cater to any specific tastes and requirements.
Refuel and recharge with a delicious seasonal menu, and you will be ready to explore for the rest of the day. All of our dishes are made from the freshest ingredients sourced straight from our organic farm and from the local harbours
A bountiful local produce from Growing the Future farm provides Head Chef Ben Conradie and his team with only the best ingredients. They have mastered the culinary art of enhancing natural flavours to create mouth-watering selections for an exquisite journey in taste sensations.
TRANSFERS TO/FROM ALL ACTIVITIES
Transfers to/from both included and additional activities are included in your rate. Airport transfers can be arranged with reservations prior to arrival at an additional cost.
GUIDED NATURE WALKS AND HIKES
Head out into the fynbos on foot with your expert nature guide. Discover the deep ancient Afro-Montane or nearby ancient Milkwood forests and marvel at this natural wonderland and all it has to offer.
4×4 FLOWER SAFARI
Head out in an open safari vehicle with your own nature guide to explain the fascinating facts and stories of this floral paradise. This breathtaking landscape is home to the fynbos and is the smallest yet most biodiverse plant kingdom on earth.
FYNBOS HORSEBACK EXPERIENCE
Mount up and explore the 2 500 hectare reserve on horseback with our experienced equestrian guides on hand. Every competency level can be catered for and pony rides for the kids are always a hit.
Enjoy a long lazy lunch in one of nature’s best open air venues with an alfresco personalized picnic, full of delicacies to delight every palette.
ANCIENT CAVE EXPERIENCE
Explore the nearby coastal limestone caves with your guide on hand to explain the remarkable stories behind the early dwellers of these caves. The Klipgat cave is an example of early human dwellings dating back to the Middle and late Stone Age.
Mark the end of another day in paradise from one of our sundowner spots high up on the reserve with endless vistas in every direction or on ‘Piano’ Rock as you sip your favourite drink to crashing of the waves and the breaching of the Southern Right Whales.
50% DISCOUNT OFF SPA TREATMENTS
Set within the Milkwood forest, a deep tissue massage helps the stress and tension melt away. Enjoy this luxurious pamper session with your partner for our signature couples massage.
COMPLIMENTARY BOTTLE OF GROOTBOS ‘LAST SYRAH’
Our South African wines are a passion at Grootbos and our wine collection has been curated over years of purchasing from the Cape Wine Makers Guild Collection. The Grootbos ‘Last Syrah’ is a beautiful full bodied, plum coloured Syrah, originally harvested for the Paul Cluver Cellar. This is perfect compliment to an intimate evening meal.
The Grootbos team has undergone intense training to ensure that they comply with strict COVID-19 protocols and we felt entirely safe during our stay.