Two hours out of Cape Town and 30 minutes from Hermanus in the Overberg set in the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve sits Forest Lodge, where I was welcomed for a two night stay as a birthday present from the Grootbos team, who are warm, welcoming and willing to go the extra mile. The stay at the forest lodge luxury suite includes continental breakfasts and full English breakfast, lunch and 5 course dinner, non-alcoholic beverages, wifi and activities. I did the gratis activities. Activities at guests own cost include boat based whale watching and scenic flights.
SLEEP: We reached Grootbos just in time for sunset and what a beauty it was, our luxury suite overlooked the ocean and the spectacular sunsets. The 16 Forest Lodge luxury suites have a lounge with fireplace and a deck, guest bathroom, master bedroom with en suite bathroom. The en suite bathroom is Nordic inspired with light wood, creams and whites, underfloor heating, a bath made for two, a two shower head indoor shower, a rejuvenating outdoor shower and a cooling bench. It is actually a home away from home. Important for the Winter frolic was the turn down service which didn’t disappoint and included the fire being lit, and a hot water bottle placed in the foot of the bed.
TO DO: Our first sunset set the tone for what we could expect from Grootbos; spectacular views, strong connection with nature, fynbos and a little whale watching. The thing I enjoyed most about Grootbos was the tranquility that is brought on by being close to nature.
Forest Lodge is set in the milkwood forest, so on our first morning we decided to explore our surrounding and started the day with a morning guided nature walk through the forest before breakfast. Nothing quite like the smell of morning mildew, purer air, the sun peering through the tree tops into the shadow quiet of the forest.
We only had one full day at Grootbos so we tried to do as much as possible, after the walk we had breakfast which was my favourite meal of the trip. After breakfast we went straight off on the 4X4 Flower Safari in an open air ranger truck, yes we were given blankets. The flower safari takes guests across the breadth of the Grootbos reserve, and is set according to the guests level, I asked for a high level tour with a focus on key fynbos species. The safari includes a tea stop at the halfway mark, few things beat drinking a cup of tea in a fynbos haven overlooking the erica (one of the fynbos species) pinks, so peaceful!
Our 4X4 flower safari was followed by some down time for lunch and a little nap, then it was time for the guided coastal walk covering De Kelders caves and some land based whale watching. The trip to the caves involved almost 100 steps, timing the incoming the tide and then enjoying the views. Unfortunately we only saw three whales in the distance.
The Crux: The highlight of my stay at Grootbos was the connection to nature, which brought on absolute tranquility. Starting the day with a walk through the milkwoods, touching the fynbos, spending the afternoon along the coast tasting the salt in the air, beautiful sunsets and a late night walk back to the room in the quiet of the forest. There is one thing that Grootbos can work on is the food, it has the makings of fine dining but lacks just a little finesse, EAT post to follow.
Grootbos is wonderful winter frolic venue for couples looking for luxury, to reconnect with each other and nature, of course for some whale watching in season. The Garden Lodge is the family friendly lodge on the Grootbos property. See details of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve rates here.