Grootbos Private Nature Reserve: The Experience

Located in Western Cape, South Africa

With 6,200 acres of beautiful fynbos to explore, plus archaeologically important caves to discover and whales and sharks to observe, there is plenty to fill your days at Grootbos.

The lodge’s guiding team includes botanists, naturalists, and conservationists well versed in the flora and marine and bird life of the region. You can choose to take a guided walk, go on a flower safari, or just hit the trails to explore on your own. Return to the lodge for a swim, a delightful meal, and a chance to relax on the terrace overlooking a magnificent, mountain-fringed bay.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 4-day stay.

Things to Do

The following activities are included in the cost of your stay.

Guided Walks and Drives

Set out on a variety of guided walks and 4x4 drives through the reserve, learning about native wildlife and the diverse species of the fynbos from naturalist guides.

Flower Safari

Hop into an open-top 4x4 and head into the hills above Walker Bay to discover some of the 765 flower species that coexist on the reserve. With a naturalist guide, find out how these hardy fynbos plants survive and thrive, and discover their unique adaptations to the birds and insects that share their habitat. 

Milkwood Forest Walk

Join a guide for a walk through the property’s extensive milkwood forest and discover the ecosystem fostered by these ancient trees.

Horseback Riding

Saddle up for a horseback ride on the reserve, following trails that wind through the fynbos and offer incredible views. Ponies are available for kids under 12.

Cave Exploration

Head down to the nearby beach with a guide to explore the massive Klipgat Cave, one of the most important archaeological sites in South Africa.

Scenic Drives

Take a drive along the coast to view southern right whales as they breach and lobtail (June to December), or pay a visit to the nearby Strandveld Museum and drive up to the lighthouse at Danger Point.

Coast Walks

Meander along rocky coast with a guide, discovering interesting marine life in tide pools and along the beach.  

Beach and Swimming

At the sandy beaches nearby, go for a swim in a sheltered bay and enjoy a picnic on the beach.

Bird Watching

Spot an array of colorful bird species on a walk with a naturalist on the reserve.  

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.

Boat Trips

Cruise out to Dyer Island, home to some 60,000 Cape fur seals as well as penguins and seabirds. Watch for great white sharks, dolphins, and southern right whales on the way.

Whale Watching

Cast off from Gansbaai on a whale-watching cruise and spot some of the hundreds of southern right whales who migrate to Walker Bay to calve from June to September.  

Beach Horseback Ride

Go for a horseback ride on the beach, taking in stunning vistas of Walker Bay and the distant mountains.

Scenic Flight

Soar over the rugged, gorgeous coast to Cape Point or Table Mountain on a scenic flight or, depending on the season, observe southern right whales from above.

Quad Bike Tour

Explore the area by quad bike on a guided ride along designated trails through forest and fynbos to hilltop viewpoints.

Wine Tours

Discover the vintages of the Overberg, the region situated between Cape Peninsula and the Garden Route, where the maritime climate and rich soil contribute to distinctive pinot noirs, sauvignon blancs, and more.

Food and Drink

Both the Red Indigo at Forest Lodge and the Garden Restaurant at Garden Lodge face the bay and offer delicious fusion cuisine: a breakfast buffet with an à la carte menu, light three-course lunches, and five-course dinners served indoors or outdoors in the Milkwood Forest Boma. Daily menus are crafted using local, organic ingredients, many of which are grown on the property as part of the Growing the Future project. Fish are freshly caught in surrounding waters, and the wines are some of South Africa’s best.

The Spa

Grootbos has two fully equipped spa facilities in stunning settings that imbue each treatment with the serenity of the surroundings. The Bloom Beauty Salon is adjacent to the Garden Lodge and the Forest Spa is set amongst the ancient milkwood trees near the Forest Lodge. Each treatment room at the Forest Spa has its own expansive window and deck looking out on the forest. The fresh green of the trees, the fragrant air, and the birdsong add to the sensation of being immersed in the pure, rejuvenating energy of nature. Outdoor sessions and in-room sessions are available. Both facilities offer a wide range of massages and body treatments that use natural, locally sourced products.

Other ways to visit this lodge

  • Customize a Trip

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    See a specially crafted National Geographic itinerary featuring this lodge.

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