If you are looking for luxury accommodation and a wide range of land-, sea-, and sky-based activities in this spectacular part of the world, we highly recommend Grootbos Forest Lodge!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Grootbos Forest Lodge is situated within Grootbos Private Nature Reserve – it is one of three properties in this area of the Western Cape. The name ‘Grootbos’ means ‘big forest’, inspired by ancient milkwood trees. In total, the reserve occupies approximately 2,500 hectares of fynbos-covered valleys, hills, and mountains. Forest Lodge has a wonderful setting on the edge of a forest, with views down to Walker Bay, a part of the Atlantic coast that is famous for whale watching! Most travellers to Grootbos self-drive from Cape Town, a journey that takes about 2 hours. The reserve is only 30 minutes east of Hermanus. The way is well signposted and the roads through Grootbos are well laid.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
The site of Forest Lodge extends along a hillside, with the communal building just left of centre. This is a very modern structure, with open-plan spaces and a well-elevated roof that together create a light and airy feel. Generously proportioned windows at the front of the property really make the most of those amazing views – whether you are relaxing in any of the sumptuous lounge areas or enjoying a delicious meal in the sophisticated dining spaces, you are able to gaze across the reserve as far as the sea. There is a bar too, with a cosy fireplace and a few books. The curio shop provides a great range of souvenir items, and there is a fully equipped conference room. If you are a business client and you would like to know more about conferences at Grootbos, do get in touch with us for all the details. Outside the communal building, there are several deck areas, a spa, and a lovely infinity pool flanked by sunloungers, all inviting you to relax and unwind!
Guest accommodation at Forest Lodge consists of 16 suites – there are two suites within each of the property’s eight modern chalets. The chalets are linked to the communal building along smart paved pathways through the woods. All boast beautiful views of the reserve. There are two categories: Luxury Suite and Luxury Pool Suite. The only difference between these options is that the latter has a plunge pool! Both have a large bedroom with double bed, elegant lighting, and storage space. This adjoins a separate lounge area, which has comfy seating around a coffee table, a snug fireplace, a satellite television and DVD player, and a secure room safe. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins, shower, and bathtub. There are outside showers on each suite’s deck. The accommodation is super-stylish and, like the main building, has high ceilings and wide windows that really bring in the light and maximise those fabulous views!
Activities from Forest Lodge also come in two categories. There are plenty of things to do within the reserve, or you can head out and explore the wider region. In Grootbos, you can enjoy taking a walk or a longer hike along several nature trails. These are great for checking out all the animal and plant life. Mammals in residence include caracal, genet, honey badger, chacma baboon, and six types of antelopes, while the plant count features over 765 species of flower! If you are particularly keen on flowers, you will love going on flower safari – a guide drives you around Grootbos in a 4 by 4 and shows you all sorts of flower highlights on the way. Alternatively, you can saddle up and ride out on horseback, as the reserve has its own stables! These are home to 18 horses and all levels of riding experience are accommodated. Other activities within Grootbos include birding, whale watching, guided tours of coasts and caves, and visits to the local farm, college, and football foundation that have benefited from the work of the Grootbos Foundation.
Farther afield, scenic flights are available over such landmarks as Cape Point, Table Mountain, the Winelands, and the southernmost tip of Africa. More whale watching is possible on the world-renowned coastal paths of Hermanus and De Kelders, or aboard a boat. You can look out for all the Marine Big Five on these trips – not only whales, but also sharks, seals, dolphins, and penguins! If you have a fondness for sharks, you might like to consider great white shark cage diving around Dyer Island. Tours of the Overberg wine region are also on offer – whether you take the Stanford, Elim and Agulhas, or Hermanus wine route, you are sure to enjoy some wonderful wine tasting in charming countryside. And in between activities, you can indulge in some serious pampering at Forest Lodge’s superb spa – treatments range from shiatsu to full facials to reflexology, and everything in between!
Unfortunately the property was destroyed by fire in 2006, as was a large patch of the ancient woods to the rear of the buildings. However, since then the area has been replanted with hundreds of indigenous trees – and visitors to Forest Lodge are invited to join in, planting their own tree and receiving a certificate.