December is a time of festivity and celebration. We had an early cause for celebration as we were invited to spend the night at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. A reserve in the Cape Floral Kingdom so plentiful, it has three times more plant species on its 2500 hectares than the Amazon Rainforest. The lodges themselves get lost in the Fynbos and the ancient, unfortunately now rare Milkwood forest.
However, plant life is not the only plentiful offering here. Let’s begin with the location; Grootbos is located towards Gansbaai, a name synonymous with shark cage diving in South Africa. The reserve sits within Walker Bay, famous for its spectacular displays of breaching Southern Right Whales, Humpbacks and others during whale season, all of which can be seen from the deck areas at Grootbos (we’ll get to the tours later). Here it is not just the sea life that stuns, in the surrounding rolling hills, land animals great and small, such as the Caracal and Cape Mountain Leopard have been spotted roaming wild on the reserve’s motion sensor cameras. We saw the tracks of one leopard on our guided drive.
The panorama is unlike anything elsewhere, on the one side you can see the ocean, with vast sand dunes looking out over the bay, but turn 180 degrees and you are swamped by acres and acres of green and multi-coloured blossoms braving the sun. At night the views become even more incredible for the stargazers, with minimal glow from lights around, the constellations are visible in all their glory.
We’ve mentioned in previous posts that we feel communication between staff and departments within a hotel is so important and often can make or break a guest’s stay. At Grootbos everyone seems to understand this and there is definitely no problem with communication here. When coupled with the Fynbos safari guide’s passion for the surrounding nature, or the friendliness of the great barman, it is all projected onto the guests and creates an incredible atmosphere.
Speaking of Fynbos safaris, Grootbos offers guests an extensive list of activities which are inclusive during your stay, these range vastly from beach walks, to cave tours, guided trail walks around the reserve where guests can learn about the many different uses for Fynbos. We were very eager to give some of these activities a go during our short time at Grootbos and were lucky enough to go on a Fynbos safari drive, a guided trail walk and the most spectacular horse ride through the reserve. For more experienced riders they offer a beach ride, but this was in fact my first proper horse ride, so we stuck to the beginner trail. Sarah was laughing away at my unbalanced profile whilst trotting along, without imparting any of her knowledge, even though afterwards she said I had done a very good job.
Not only does Grootbos inspire with its landscapes and wildlife but its restaurants too, one in each of the lodges, Where chefs create culinary masterpieces for every meals of the day. These too are included in the room rate. The Cape Malay seafood curry being a personal favourite of mine, with fresh locally sourced organic items on the menu making us want to stay longer just to try all of the food. One doesn’t have to dine in the restaurant each day though, when the weather is good, dinner can be enjoyed under the trees with lanterns hanging down and experience a traditional African Braai at the Boma.
There are two lodges on the reserve, Garden Lodge and Forest Lodge as well as a stunning 6 suite villa with the best finishings and of course the breath taking views. Garden Lodge is more suited for families who are wanting to experience the outdoors together, and Forest Lodge, which gets its name from being surrounded by Milkwood trees, is for the more intimate traveller that wants secluded privacy. All of the rooms are individually decorated with expert flair and exploit the best features; some rooms have a beautiful bath with a view out overlooking Walker Bay, you can spot whales whilst bathing. Each room has a copy of the Field Guide to the Flora of Grootbos written and photographed by the owner himself, an indication that the passion here is set deep.
The magic of Grootbos is evident, the tangled forests, the animals and passionate staff all combine to create the perfect cocktail for education, luxury service and relaxation. There’s even a spa in the middle of the forest, so whilst having your treatment one can listen to the birds singing and the swaying of the branches. Everything has been thought of here to provide an unforgettable experience, the only thing it makes you want is more time to spend here.
Rates start from:
Garden Lodge - R3085 per Adult sharing (full board)
Forest Lodge - R3630 per Adult sharing (full board)
Please enquire regarding the best times to travel for whale watching, flower blooming periods and other activities.
All bookings made through this platform for a minimum of three nights, will receive two spa vouchers to the value of R500 (R250 each). Simply quote Grootbos Blog Gift in your mail.
All images featured are either the property of BACK IN TOWN or Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. To see more images of Grootbos Click Here. To see more images of the Grootbos Villa Click Here.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve kindly hosted us for a complimentary stay.
All opinions within this blog are our own and any hosted stays will be disclosed in the relevant blog posts. We do not trade off complimentary stays for a positive reflection of any kind, and we will only give credit where credit is due. We put in a lot of time and effort researching the properties we visit, we want to build long standing trust with you, our readers, with honesty and integrity being incredibly important to us.
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