Written by Lisa Nel
A pristine oasis on South Africa’s Whale Coast, Grootbos Forest Lodge invites travelers to reconnect to nature while indulging in their creature comforts. Head of Marketing and Product at Ker & Downey® Africa, Lisa Nel, shares her first hand experience of this luxury lodge and why it rates for travelers looking to leave a positive legacy in Africa.
A botanical haven, the private Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is located along South Africa’s iconic Whale Coast. The reserve covers 2500 hectares of pristine wilderness and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, Overberg Mountains and the cliffs of Walker Bay. Grootbos is home to the award-winning Forest Lodge and Garden Lodge, as well as 2 exclusive-use villas that sleep up to 12 people each.
The reserve is ranked as a leader in sustainability and is home to 800 plant species, including 100 endangered plant species. Grootbos also produces it’s very own fynbos honey, has an on-site water bottling facility, and a plethora of community projects including sports development and education programmes. All guests are required to pay a conservation levy, ensuring that your stay has a positive impact on the region.
Grootbos Forest Lodge is easily accessible from Cape Town and Cape Town International Airport. A scenic 2-hour drive, your journey will take you through Elgin towards the whale coast where you can admire the rugged coastline and, if you’re lucky, spot the Southern Right Whales that migrate to the southern coast each year. For clients who would prefer not to drive, there is an option to fly a light aircraft charter flight to the reserve’s airstrip.
Grootbos Forest Lodge features 16 spacious suites dotted amongst the foliage – ensuring utmost privacy for honeymooners or guests seeking a private escape. Each suite consists of an ensuite bedroom, separate lounge area, guest bathroom and wrap around deck with views of the reserve and coastline.
The bathrooms are luxurious and feature a free-standing bathtub with floor to ceiling windows – the perfect spot to unwind after days out on the reserve. During my stay, we received a world-class turndown service complete with candles and a bottle of champagne.
The main lodge boasts 180-degree ocean and fynbos views that truly take your breath away. The main lodge consists of an infinity pool, restaurant, wine cellar, reception area, lounge and cocktail deck where you can enjoy the sunset while sipping on your drink of choice.
The cuisine at Grootbos is world-class! Guests can enjoy a 5-course gastronomy experience each evening paired with the very best local wines.
The service at Grootbos Forest Lodge was a highlight for me – the team was friendly and went out of their way to make our stay memorable. We were treated to a private dinner in their wine cellar – an outstanding experience that I highly recommend.
Grootbos offers a variety of activities from horse riding and whale watching to river cruises and forest walks. Guests can also enjoy time out on their private deck, by the main lodge’s infinity swimming pool or enjoy a treatment at the spa.
During our stay we opted to join the guided 1.5-hour botanical drive. We also embarked on a excursion to a historical coastal cave – an highly recommended experience; and followed one of the many trails on the reserve to an incredible viewpoint.
A highlight for me (yes there were many) was our nature guide Jo who has worked on the reserve for 10 years. Jo is very knowledgeable and brought the reserve to life with her stories and insight. Another team member who made our stay unforgettable is Fortunate, she went above and beyond for us.
I highly recommend Grootbos Forest Lodge for discerning clients who are interested in sustainability, flora and cuisine. If you are interested in experiencing a luxury experience at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve with Ker & Downey® Africa, get in touch with our LuxVenture Designers.