The Grootbos Nature Reserve is located in Gansbaai, close to Hermanus and only 2 hours East of Cape Town.
It is well known for their amazing community work. I've met Michael Lutzeyer, the owner, at two, three occasions before. He showed me his new produced and very nice videos. We talked a bit about their different projects and I was fascinated right away. So I wanted to see it for myself the next time I came to Cape Town.
After a very dark winter last year, I made the decision that my next winter would be sunnier...
Off I was to Cape Town!
And with visiting Cape Town, I had to visit Grootbos. I've stayed 4 nights and it was awesome!
I came to find out more about their projects and realized that Grootbos is so much more than 'just' that. It's top 5 star luxury combined in a laid back atmosphere with amazing views, great people and unique community projects!
There are three guest areas! One is for families with smaller kids, one for guests without or at least with older kids and then there is as well the private villa. Each area is for itself and separate and each area is special.
We stayed in the Garden Lodge where families with smaller kids will find themselves in good hands. The staff is very friendly and helpful. But it's not the standard you might find elsewhere in other 5 star accommodation as well. No, here you'll experience it in a natural way.
There is always someone who will take care off your kids and you feel that Grootbos really welcomes children. There is a kid's room, which is so nice, that you will even find parents in it regularly. But for sure the highlight for the kids is the area around the stables, where they find as well a playground with a jumping castle, chicken, a pot-bellied pig, rabbits and horses of course. The kids get in direct contact with the animals here and are even allowed to go into the chicken stall by themselves. There is always someone around and/or someone is taking care of the kids. That's for sure a very relaxing detail for the parents.
There are several activities offered for kids and parents during the day. Those are for sure not comparable with animation programs you might know from big resorts. No, here it's all in a natural environment and atmosphere.
The rooms are cozy and tasteful furnished and provide privacy. The same goes for the apartment's terrace, which as well provides an amazing view overlooking Walkers Bay. The sunsets are amazing and inviting to shoot dozens of photos. Here and there you might see that parts of the wooden furniture in the rooms seems a bit older, as it looks a bit worn off. All it would need is a bit of fresh paint. Great is that Grootbos provides free WiFi pretty much everywhere in the lodge.
There are fresh flowers in the room and drinking water next to your bed. An oven will make sure that you will feel warm even if it should get chilly.
Every evening there is a different menu to choose from in the restaurant, next to the 'standard' dishes. Choose and mix as you like and you will get served a tasty and yummy experience. The food is fresh and big parts out of their own organic garden. That starts with the carrots and ends with the eggs. Yes, there are around 120 hens, taking care that you can have your egg benedict for breakfast.
After dinner your room is lightened and the bed ready made for a good night's sleep.
You will need a good rest during the night, as there is so much to see and explore during the day. Go for some horseriding or relax at the beach. The beach is 5 minutes by car, but there is always someone who could take you there and pick you up later. Let the reception know a bit in advance and they will even provide you with a delicious lunch box. I personally recommend to hire your own car, so that you can explore the region for yourselves. I used carrentals.co.uk to find a cheap deal.
Another exciting transport vehicle would be to choose a scenic flight with African Wings. Most times of the year you have very good chances to spot whales. The question is if you see 5 or 65! Of course you can as well choose to get closer and do a boat tour. There are tours for whale spotting and if you want to get an adrenaline kick, choose shark cage diving and see how it is to kiss a shark!
As I mentioned earlier, Grootbos is known for their community work. They have a well organized organic garden and they teach the people from the township to become gardeners, guides, chefs, waiters... but they help also their staff getting driver licenses.
An award winning project is the football ground they built in Gansbaai. It's smartly positioned in the middle of three areas. On one side there is a township, on the other side is an area where more 'white' people live and in the third area you will mostly see 'brown' people. The idea was to provide all different 'colors' a place to meet and to enjoy a good kick.
It's great and next time I would love to see a game!
South Africa and Cape Town belong to my favorite places to visit! If you should make it there and got a bit of a budget, take a look at Grootbos and I'm sure you won't regret it.
Travel tip shared by Melvin
Thanks to Grootbos for inviting me. All my opinions are of course my own!