Just 160 km east of Cape Town, the 2000-hectare Grootbos Nature Reserve nestles in fynbos-clad hills above Walker Bay, where the Southern Right Whale breeds each year. The views of the dunes, the sea and the Cape of Good Hope are breathtaking. This small lodge provides tranquility in a unique and beautiful setting and a wide choice of activities.
Grootbos was the vision of the Lutzeyer family, especially brothers Michael and Tertius, who bought this over-grazed farmland in 1991 and set about removing alien plant species and restoring the biodiversity of the land. Garden Lodge was built first, with 11 luxury suites, and awarded five-star status in 2003. In 2004, the new five-star Forest Lodge was added, with a further 10 suites.
‘Fynbos’ means ‘fine bush’, a type of vegetation unique to the Cape. More than 650 indigenous plant species have been identified in this floral kingdom, which botanist David Bellamy described as ‘the best example of conservation of biodiversity I have ever seen’. You can discover this coastal forest reserve on foot, on horseback, on a mountain bike or in a 4WD. These explorations come alive in the company of one of Grootbos’ expert guides, and nature will enchant you at every turn.
The 11 luxurious Garden Lodge cottages are built of stone and thatch, and set in a large indigenous garden among ancient milkwood trees. Each has a lounge, as well as a bedroom, and a secluded deck offering panoramic views of Walker Bay. The rooms are large, spacious, and elegantly decorated in natural textures and colours.
Forest Lodge is built and decorated in a more contemporary style utilising modern materials and bold colours. You can be placed in either lodge, though families are accommodated in Garden Lodge. Each lodge has its own main lounge, swimming pool and restaurant – with fabulous views - specialising in fresh seafood and local produce.
Activities at Grootbos
Expert guides will reveal nature’s secrets on beach, cliff top and forest walks. Take a boat trip to Dyer Island to see African Penguins, Cape Fur Seals and thousands of seabirds. Watch dolphins while walking along the foreshore, explore caves that have been inhabited from prehistoric times, and, if you are feeling adventurous, go down in a cage to come face to face with the Great White shark. There are 19 horses on the reserve, including 5 ponies for children, and Grootbos can provide riding for both experienced riders and the novice. Alternatively, you can lie on the beach and enjoy a specially prepared picnic.