Grootbos Garden Lodge is a superb stop-off on the Garden Route and a fantastic standalone destination too! Garden Lodge is set among well-kept gardens, featuring indigenous trees and plenty of fynbos.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Grootbos is accessed by road, just 30 minutes from Hermanus and a couple of hours from Cape Town. The roads through the reserve are very well laid. The reserve occupies about 2,500 hectares of fynbos-clad valleys, hills, and mountains to the east of Hermanus. It overlooks the coast of Walker Bay, which is famous for whale watching! Children of all ages are welcome and access for disabled people is available on request. With its excellent selection of things for kids to do, Garden Lodge is particularly well suited to families, but its lovely location appeals to all types of travellers – solos, couples, honeymooners, groups.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
The communal facilities are housed in a timber, stone, and thatch-roof building that blends beautifully into the natural surroundings. Inside, the style is open plan and the areas include a friendly reception space, comfortable lounges, and a dining room with a fireplace and a very cosy feel. There is a bar too, as well as a beauty salon and a children’s playroom. All interiors are well presented, with contemporary furnishings and African artefacts on the walls. Outside the lodge, there is a viewing deck where you can also enjoy al-fresco meals, in addition to a terrace incorporating a swimming pool. Finally, the property has horse stables and an outdoor play area with petting zoo – there are ducks, chickens, and rabbits here!
The guest accommodation at Garden Lodge consists of 11 Luxury Suites, all connected to the main building along neatly paved pathways. All suites are freestanding, so there is plenty of privacy. There are two categories: one bedroom or two. Both options boast comfy beds, a separate lounge area, satellite television, a DVD player, a safe, a tea-and-coffee station, a mini-bar, a fireplace, and en-suite facilities comprising flush toilet, twin washbasins, shower, and separate bath. Both bedrooms in the two-bedroom suite have an adjoining bathroom! All suites also offer a private veranda, which has superb views out to the Atlantic Ocean and to Walker Bay. The décor of the suites is similar to the style of the communal areas, with a few nice touches such as colourful cushions to ensure you feel at home!
The Lodge is well placed to provide an impressive assortment of activities – there really is something to suit all tastes here. Keen naturalists will love taking a walk or a hike around the reserve to admire the fine range of animal and plant life. The reserve contains six types of antelope, caracal, genet, honey badger, chacma baboon, and over 765 flower species! Flower safaris are also popular with plant fans, as these enable you to travel greater distances around the reserve, among its variety of valleys, hills, and mountains. Horse riding is a wonderful way to get out and about too – the stables contain 18 horses and all levels of experience are accommodated. If you are fond of feathery friends, you will have a terrific time scanning the reserve and the skies over Grootbos for a wealth of species – highlights include black harrier, Knysna woodpecker, and Cape rock thrush. You can even do a bit of flying yourself, as scenic light aircraft flights are available for a bird’s-eye view of such local attractions as Cape Point, Table Mountain, the Winelands, and the southern tip of Africa.
Whale watching from above is possible too, or you can enjoy this activity from the world-renowned coastal paths of Hermanus and De Kelders or from a boat. In fact, the region is home to the Marine Big Five – not only whales, but also sharks, seals, dolphins, and penguins! Additionally, you can explore the local beaches, the caves of the Khoi bushmen, and the Overberg wine region. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, you can try out great white shark cage diving around Dyer Island! Responsible tourism excursions are possible too – this is an opportunity to learn about how the Grootbos Foundation is benefiting the local area and its people. Finally, there is no shortage of things to do for the kids, from collecting eggs for breakfast to playing on the jungle gym to enjoying their own horse rides. The lodge’s playroom includes a pool table and table football, and there is a grass area within the grounds that is perfect for a bit of football. So parents can be confident that everyone will be happily occupied!