Condé Nast Winner – Best Hotel in South Africa 2022
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is an all-inclusive contemporary resort in Gansbaai, offering luxury full board accommodation and activities.
I had booked to stay at Grootbos at the end of my 2-week road trip along the Garden Route. I wanted to spend my last few days in South Africa somewhere unique, and believe me, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve far exceeded my expectations!
Grootbos was also a great choice because of its proximity to the coastal town of Gansbaai, the capital of marine adventures in South Africa. Shark cage diving was a must-do activity on my South African travel itinerary, and so Grootbos was the perfect place for us to stay.
For travellers visiting between June and December, the waters in this area are one of the best places in the world for whale watching. I travelled in April so missed this incredible event; maybe a good reason to return in the future!
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Grootbos is a world leader in sustainable tourism and has been awarded some of the highest international accolades possible, making it one of only a handful of lodges to achieve this.
Grootbos sits in one of the world’s most biodiverse landscapes, nestled between the mountains, forest and ocean. It has the ‘WOW’ factor, with guest accommodation gently blending into the surrounding landscape with uninterrupted views across the fynbos to the sea.
Grootbos certainly is a little piece of paradise in South Africa, and I felt privileged to be staying on this beautiful nature reserve during my holiday.
Inside Grootbos’ main building, the Forest Lodge restaurant serves culinary delights using the freshest local ingredients. All ages are catered for at the restaurant, so families can be assured that little ones won’t be overlooked at mealtimes. We had one fussy eater with us, and the staff made sure he was well looked after.
In the restaurant, dramatic floor to ceiling windows overlook the infinity pool and lead to the outdoor deck. Here guests can relax by the fire pit and enjoy a glass of South African wine as the sun sets over the ocean.
Room with a View
At Grootbos, the secluded Forest Lodge suites offer a luxurious escape from the norm for couples and families.
In-suite lounges are tastefully designed, spacious and have a TV and fireplace for chilly evenings.
With a romantic canopied bed facing out to the distant sea, breakfast in bed is a must! Enjoy a cup of tea and gaze out at the spectacular natural setting in front of you, and listen to the birdsong creeping into your suite from every direction – pure bliss.
Forest suite bathrooms are designed to give guests the feeling of being cocooned in the forest. The sunken bath surrounded by picture windows lets you soak in the tub while taking in the fabulous views. After bathing, snuggle up in the quality towels and bathrobes and relax on your private decking.
All-Inclusive Full Board at Grootbos
Grootbos offers all-inclusive guest dining using fresh local products. Five-course mouth-watering dining experiences are the star of the show, with a team of chefs delivering fine dining with a contemporary twist. Grootbos has a saying; ‘It’s not food – It’s an occasion’, and I have to say from what we experienced, that is very true.
The great thing about dining at Grootbos is that they buy organic products such as honey, vegetables and pork from local farmers. In this way, the reserve is giving back to the community.
Grootbos Adventure Activities
As part of the all-inclusive package at Grootbos, guests can choose from a list of exciting activities to try out. Other adventures such as shark cage diving are an additional charge.
Day One Morning – Horse Riding – included in package
Horse-riding at Grootbos is a fabulous experience for all abilities, and with 18 horses to choose from, you can be assured that the guides will tailor to the needs of both novice riders and experts.
My family are all beginners at horse-riding; however, this was no problem as the guides individually picked our horses to suit our needs.
For our horse-riding experience, the guides took us for a gentle ride through the fynbos; however, for expert riders, there are several horses specifically trained to ride along the beach.
Day One Afternoon – Ancient Cave Trip – included in package
After our morning of horse-riding, we joined a coastal safari to the ancient Klipgat caves to follow in the steps of the stone-age bushmen who once lived in them.
Our guide led us into the caves and told us stories of this World Heritage Site before taking the obligatory cave entrance photo! During our trip, we also had free time to wander along the pristine Gaansbai shoreline.
Day Two – Shark Cage Diving – additional charge
Want to find more out about this adventure? Please read How to cage dive with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai.
Day Three – Botanical Drive – included in package
We learnt about the spectacular natural vegetation on the reserve, known as fynbos, on a guided drive with one of Grootbos’ botanical specialists.
Home to the richest temperate flora in the world, the reserve is an incredible place to explore. I learnt about the rich diversity in this wilderness and how it is helping the planet; I never thought plants could be so interesting!
Would I recommend Grootbos Private Nature Reserve to a friend?
Without hesitation, I would recommend Grootbos Private Nature Reserve to a friend. It is one of the most incredible places I have stayed, and that is a glowing accolade from me. It is expensive but worth every penny for the complete experience it gives to its guests.
From couples looking for a romantic break to families (like ours) that want a holiday experience to remember, Grootbos ticks all the boxes for an outstanding stay in South Africa.