Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Sample Itinerary—Whale Season on the Cape

Curated exclusively for National Geographic

Journey to where two oceans collide at the tip of Africa and discover the magic of the Western Cape from a variety of vantages. Explore the bright fynbos reserve—the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms—on foot, horseback, or 4x4. Take a scenic drive and soar over the landscape, and delve into vast coastal caves. From June to December, the shallow waters of Walker Bay fill with southern right whales, and the coastlines of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve offer spectacular viewing opportunities.

Your experience at the lodge will be tailored to your interests. The sample itinerary below was designed for National Geographic travelers and can be customized as you wish. Some experiences featured in this itinerary incur an additional cost.


  • Dine under the stars in the enchanting Milkwood Forest boma, enjoying a delightful private meal surrounded by thousand-year-old trees. (National Geographic Exclusive)
  • Cast off from the harbor on a whale-watching cruise and spot some of the hundreds of southern right whales that migrate to Walker Bay to calve from June to September.
  • Whether on foot, horseback, or open-top 4x4, join a naturalist in the hills above Walker Bay to discover some of the 765 flower species that flourish on the reserve.
  • Sip a sundowner on your private terrace as you watch whales and dolphins frolic on the horizon.

Day 1—Arrive Western Cape, South Africa

Upon arrival, enjoy a glass of sparkling wine while looking out over Walker Bay. Linger over the endless views during a decadent lunch on the outside deck. After getting settled in your suite, trace the coast on a scenic drive to see southern right whales as they breach and lobtail (June to December). Tonight, savor a six-course dinner of freshly caught seafood and local, organic produce.

Day 2—Whale-Watching

After breakfast, set off on a whale-watching cruise that embarks from Kleinbaai Harbour. Watch for the “marine big 5”—great white sharks, southern right whales, penguins, dolphins, and seals. Back at the lodge, enjoy brunch and free time to relax. Then join a guide to hear about the lodge’s social responsibility initiatives with the local community; and learn about onsite organic farming, animal husbandry, fynbos landscaping, and horticulture projects. Pair a fine bottle of local wine with your private dinner in the enchanting Milkwood Forest boma.

Day 3—Fynbos Reserve

Wake up to breakfast made with produce fresh from the lodge’s organic farm. Then soar over the rugged coast on a scenic flight to spot southern right whale mothers and calves from above. After lunch, join a naturalist to discover the fynbos landscape on horseback, foot, or open-top 4x4; explore the nearby massive Klipgat Cave, which shows evidence of man’s presence here more than 70,000 years ago; or simply unwind on the reserve’s sandy beach.

Day 4—Depart

Follow breakfast with one last stroll or horseback ride through the fynbos reserve. Depart for the airport or your next destination.