Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Nestled in a Milkwood forest, where the trees are over 1,000 years old, in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve comprises of 2,500 hectares of pristine wilderness in the Cape Floral Kingdom overlooking beautiful Walker Bay. The smallest, but richest, of the six floral kingdoms in the world, Cape Floral Kingdom boosts 9000 different plant species, of which 760 are found in Grootbos. Less than a two hour drive from Cape Town, it lies 50km east of the worlds’ ‘whale capital’, Hermanus. The accommodation at Grootbos comprises of two intimate lodges and an exclusive villa. Built of stone, thatch and timber, Garden Lodge reflects African warmth, with an intercontinental twist, while Forest Lodge features sophisticated architecture and contemporary design, with brick, glass and lots of natural light. The large suites of both lodges are set amongst gardens filled with indigenous plants, with stunning views of the famous Walker Bay. The stylish suites come with their own living rooms with cosy fireplace and private wooden balconies or decks, canopy beds and spacious bathrooms with an egg-shaped bath. Garden lodge welcomes children of all ages. For groups of friends or families, I recommend the secluded, spectacular and spacious villa whose six suites sleep up to 12 guests, and comes with your own private guide, personal chef and butler. Grootbos is known for its incredible cuisine and selection of fine wines. Each lodge has its own restaurant, both with amazing views of Walker Bay. Picnics are available on request. Activities included at Grootbos range from guided walks (with over 20 mammal species on the reserve) and horse riding, to whale watching excursions in season (June to December). You can also explore the nearby Klipgat Cave, one of the most important archaeological sites in South Africa. Seeing the Marine Big 5 in their natural habitat is the main highlight, as Grootbos is perfectly positioned on the doorstep of this marine paradise. Close encounters are offered (but not included) on an eco-friendly boat trip to Dyer Island led by experienced marine biologists. Highlights include seeing 60,000 Cape fur seals basking in the sun, the chance to spot great white sharks, the delight of dolphins surfing beside the boat and floating alongside curious southern right whales. Shark cave diving and horse rides along the beach can also be arranged, as can quad biking and scenic flights. Children are VIPs at Grootbos. Specialised guides accompany the children during exciting treasure hunts, excursions to the beach and rock pools and trips through the private nature reserve collecting shells, porcupine quills or bugs while learning about the fascinating eco-system and its conservation.