Grootbos Nature Reserve

distinctive Camp | Hermanus / Gansbaai, South Africa

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Grootbos Private Nature Reserve conjures impressions of a mythic setting, ensconced among ancient milkwood forests and their gnarly trees, endemic flora most visitors have never laid eyes on, and huge whales basking in the teal waters within full view. Just two hours from Cape Town, the reserve is perched like a kingdom above Walker Bay, spanning 8,649 acres of hills and valleys and overlooking the stunning Kleinrivier Mountains rising to the west. Enjoy nature walks, horseback riding, scenic drives and land-based whale watching.

Photo of Greg Courter

Our Expert Says

Grootbos offers a ton of activities. Garden Lodge is ideal for families while Forest Lodge is for adults only. A great experience is a stay at the reserve combined with a couple of nights in Cape Town, and while Grootbos is not a primary wildlife destination, the marine life and endemic flora offer a complementary experience to a classic Big Five safari.

– Greg Courter

Photo: Facilities & Amenities

Facilities & Amenities

  • En suite bathroom with tub and shower (Classic Suite has shower only)
  • Additional bathroom with shower in one-bedroom suites
  • Shampoo, soap and lotion
  • Hair dryer
  • Air conditioning
  • Fireplace
  • Mini bar
  • Tea/coffee in room
  • Satellite television/ DVD
  • 220v charging outlets in room
  • In-room safe
  • Private plunge pool in Pool Suites at Forest Lodge
  • Central pool
  • Spa (extra cost)
  • Wi-Fi in room and main area
  • Laundry (extra cost)
  • Credit cards accepted (Visa and MasterCard)

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Photo: The Lodge

The Lodge

Location: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Gansbaai, South Africa
Number of Suites: 11 (Garden Lodge), 16 (Forest Lodge), 6 (Villa)

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve incorporates two separate lodges as well as two private villas, all overlooking seasonal whale watching in Walker Bay. Garden Lodge, surrounded by lush gardens, is built from stone, wood and traditional thatch and features 11 one- and two-bedroom suites, easily catering to families with children. The main dining room and lounge are lined with windows that offer panoramic view. Neighboring Forest Lodge, built of stone and wood, features more modern lines and offers 16 one-bedroom luxury suites. Forest Lodge is built at the edge of a milkwood forest, each suite perched with views of the reserve and bay. The Villa is privately staffed and ideal for private groups of up to 12 guests, offering the utmost in luxury and seclusion. The Growing the Future project, part of the Grootbos Foundation, provides organic eggs, herbs, honey, pork, vegetables and fruit to the lodge, and all fish is freshly caught from the Hermanus and Gansbaai harbors nearby.

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Photo: Wildlife Viewing & Activities

Wildlife Viewing & Activities

The nearly 8,650-acre reserve showcases the best of the Cape Floral Kingdom, with rolling hills covered in a variety of endemic fynbos, as well as afromontane and ancient milkwood forests. Over 900 plant species can be found here, as well as 29 mammals, 21 amphibians and 118 birds, 26 of which are endemic. Activities on the reserve include guided exploration on foot of the flora and forests, horseback riding within the reserve and nature, marine and coastal drives including Walker Bay Nature Reserve, where southern right whales calve between June and December. Other areas of exploration, such as De Kelders cliff walk and Klipgat Cave as well as birding, beach picnics and seasonal land-based whale watching are also included. This is a haven for marine wildlife, and additional activities that may be booked at extra cost are whale boat trips, great white shark cage diving, horseback riding on the beach, boat trips to Dyer Island and Geyser Rock to see a colony of 60,000 Cape fur seals and some African penguins, scenic flights, fat tire biking, Lady Stanford river cruise, golf excursions, regional wine tours, and day trips to Cape Agulhas, the most southern tip of Africa.

The Western Cape showcases some of Africa’s best marine wildlife. Migrating southern right whales gather in Walker Bay between the seaside towns of Hermanus and Gansbaai from June to December to mate and calve. The land-based whale watching is some of the best in the world. Gansbaai is also the “great white shark capital” of the world, with 2,000 of the planet’s 5,000 great whites found in South Africa. Shark viewing and cage diving takes place by boat near Dyer Island and Shark Bay, and nearby Geyser Rock is home to a colony of nearly 60,000 Cape fur seals. Endangered African penguins can be seen in various colonies of the Western Cape, and bottlenose and highly endangered humpback dolphins can often be seen on boat trips.

Country Park/Reserve
African Penguin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Cape Fur Seal
Great White Shark
Humpback Dolphin
S. Right Whale
South Africa Hermanus / Gansbaai

Usually viewed
Frequently viewed
Occasionally viewed
Sporadically viewed
Rarely to never viewed

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Month Max Min Rainfall
January 82° F 61° F 0.3 in
27° C 16° C 8 mm
February 82° F 61° F 0.6 in
27° C 16° C 15 mm
March 80° F 59° F 0.75 in
26° C 15° C 19 mm
April 75° F 54° F 2.02 in
23° C 12° C 51 mm
May 70° F 50° F 2.54 in
21° C 10° C 65 mm
June 66° F 46° F 3.02 in
18° C 7° C 77 mm
July 65° F 45° F 3.26 in
18° C 7° C 83 mm
August 66° F 46° F 2.67 in
18° C 7° C 68 mm
September 68° F 49° F 1.56 in
20° C 9° C 40 mm
October 73° F 52° F 1.33 in
22° C 11° C 34 mm
November 76° F 56° F 1.0 in
24° C 13° C 25 mm
December 79° F 60° F 0.7 in
26° C 15° C 18 mm

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Photo: Conservation


The Grootbos Foundation has a number of ongoing projects. The Green Futures Horticulture and Life Skills College educates eight to 12 unemployed young adults annually with the goal of giving them the skills and confidence to be employable. The course is fully accredited and teaches various finance and business skills as well as conservation and horticulture. More than 110 people have graduated the course, and more than 90 percent were employed upon completion. The foundation has a plethora of other projects such as the Football Foundation, promoting integration in the Gansbaai region using sports as a vehicle for change. About 2,000 kids each week play soccer at the FIFA standard artificial soccer pitch, sponsored by the English Premier League. The center also runs programs focused on HIV education, environmental education, female empowerment, enterprise development, proper nutrition and social integration. Grootbos also has a number of organic farming initiatives built around teaching skills in organic agriculture, beekeeping, and sustainable animal husbandry to local community members, especially women.

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Reviews for Grootbos Nature Reserve


Review Grootbos Nature Reserve
Month of travel: October
"What's not to love about Grootbos! I had so many "firsts" there--saw my first whales (the huge southern right whales) from shore, so majestic! I saw great white sharks for the first time, and I even got up the courage to do the shark cage diving. I'm so glad I did, being within feet of the 5 meter great whites was an unforgettable rush! I also went on my first flora safari. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but our guide was so much fun and I really enjoyed learning about all the different flower species in the Cape Floral Kingdom. The rooms were luxurious and I loved taking an outdoor shower while watching the sun set over the beautiful bay. The food was amazing, some of the best seafood dishes I've ever had. I was definitely sad when it came time to leave!"
- E. Deemer
Month of travel: December
"December is just stunning in the Cape area. I came here for the scenery to break up my safari, and I also visited a penguin and seal colony. Grootbos is a lovely environment surrounding by incredible natural beauty. The "flower safari" was actually very intersting, not something I ever considered before. It's something different and I loved doing this after a safari in the Sabi Sands."
- S. Bell
Month of travel: April
"Grootbos is a very special place. The setting is magnificent, the reserve itself is stunning and with such unique vegetation. It's a relaxing place, yet also exhilarating - you must book a boat trip to see sharks and whales! And the food is just amazing. We don't travel for the food so much, but it was a welcome bonus. It's all organic, farm fresh, locally grown stuff, delish! We also rode horses and visited the Green Futures school. Will definitely go back!"
- J. Adams

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