GrootbosGansbaai, Western Cape / South Africa
For those seeking a break from the bustle of city life, the Grootbos Private Natural Reserve couldn’t offer a more idyllic escape. Capturing every essence of what makes rural Africa so enchanting, the reserve is caught between mountain and sea, and as well as being home to the breathtaking milkwood forests, its adjacent coastal waters are regularly visited by marine life such as whales, dolphins and seals. Sitting on the southern coast of South Africa, the resort is home to exceptional lodges and villas, and is located just two hours away from Cape Town.
What to love
- Hailed as a botanical paradise, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is filled with a remarkable amount of flora and wildlife species and boasts a beautiful natural landscape from lush rolling hills to ancient milkwood forests.
- Guests will be impressed by the tranquil privacy each of the resort’s standalone suites enjoys.
- Highly trained therapists are on-hand in the spa to offer a range of facials, manicures and massages, which can even be performed next to the peaceful surroundings of the milkwood forests.
- Blessed with one of the most diverse and thriving marine ecosystems in the world, visitors are liable to encounter an array of oceanic life including whales, seals, sharks, penguins and dolphins.
What to know
- .All those who stay at the Grootbos Private Natural Reserve are directly contributing to the conservation programme, the Grootbos Foundation, which helps maintain the local area as well as developing nature-based livelihoods among nearby communities.
- Each of the resort’s individual suites have been designed with sleek, sophisticated design and contemporary furnishings – from the luxurious canopy beds to the charming fireplace to the secluded wooden decked outdoor terrace.
- The Grootbos resort is home to two gastronomical restaurants, each offering a spectacular dining setting and first-rate attention to detail when it comes to the food on offer.
The Afrikaans word ‘Grootbos’ translates directly into English as ‘Big Forest’, which, while rudimental, perfectly signifies the simplistic majesty of the milkwood tree forests and flora that populates this remarkable southern region of Africa, and is where this ever-charming resort takes its name.
Sitting in amongst this natural splendor, the Grootbos Private Natural Reserve looks up towards mountain ranges, while simultaneously down towards the coast – where an abundance of rare and captivating sea life frolics. And all this within a two-hour journey to the South African capital, Cape Town, should you wish to return to civililisation.
Blending seamlessly within this scenic haven, each of the Grootbos Private Natural Reserve’s freestanding suites, lodges and villas has been designed with sleek minimalism and a natural décor. Built with luxurious canopy beds, stylish en suite bathrooms and a spacious living area, each accommodation type also has huge panoramic windows – so guests can fully appreciate the sunrise and sunsets over the African landscape.
Keen not to let the location alone do all the talking, the Grootbos resort also has a number of experiences for all of its guests. If, despite the area, you’re not quite feeling zen enough, then the on-site Bloom Beauty Salon and Forest Spa will provide what you need to tip you over the relaxation edge. Offering a range of treatments ranging from foot refloxology to exfoliating facials to Shiatsu healing therapy, there are no excuses for leaving the resort 100 per cent rejuvenated.
Not to be outdone, the kitchen staff at the Grootbos resort also put on an impressive show. Guests can tuck into a range of creative culinary at two different dining destinations, with menus bursting with exotic international flavours, freshly caught fish and traditional South African cookery. The two restaurants – The Garden Restaurant and The Red Indigo Restaurant – leave the choice of an al fresco dining experience or an in-house table overlooking the Walker Bay. The kitchen prides itself on sourcing fresh, organic ingredients wherever possible. The resort is also home to a wine cellar, champagne bar and offers an in-room dining service.
When to Travel
The Southern Cape has a Mediterranean climate, hence it is typical to expect dry, warm summers and cold and wet winters. The average summer temperature (December-February) is 26.5°C and the average winter temperature (June- August) is 17°C. That said the region experiences in excess of 250 days of sunshine per year.
September through to March is considered spring and summer which is the ideal time for travel, especially for beach goers. May to September is also a great time when the visibility is best and whale watching commences in June.
Grootbos is located very close to Gansbaai, just two hours drive from Cape Town and 30 minutes from Hermanus. The drive from Cape Town will take you along the R44 from Gordon’s Bay to Hermanus. This is regarded as one of the top scenic routes in Southern Africa, hugging the coastline with amazing views of False Bay. Between June and November, whales are often sighted on this drive.
Grootbos offers families a wealth of activities to enjoy together including land based whale watching tours (June to December), horse riding for beginners and experienced riders, guided nature walks and beach picnics.
Facilities at The Garden Lodge include a children’s entertainment room, outdoor play area, animals such as rabbits and ducks as well as beautifully kept horse stables for children to visit.