Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. My kind of Wonderland.

Its a magical world we live in, one where nature and beauty abounds. All we have to do is stop for long enough to see it and breath it in. Which is exactly what I was able to do during a recent visit to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.


Forest Lodge (Above pics by Grootbos)

Found in the Overberg just beyond Stanford and Gansbaai overlooking Walker Bay, an area incredibly rich in natural beauty. ‘Grootbos’ is named for its ’Big Forest’, namely the three ancient Milkwood Forests found here; the largest being just on 23 hectares.

These ancient trees need to be seen to be believed. Actually, they deserve to be hugged and truly respected. A fynbos paradise with more than 750 different species identified, an abundance of birdlife and loads of interesting creatures, reminds us how co-existing with nature is meant to be.


I stayed in the magnificent Forest Lodge Suite 24, which is set among the 1500 year old Milkwood trees. Forest Lodge is one of the two five star lodges on offer and has 16 suites, whilst the other being Garden Lodge has eleven and is well equipped to host families with children. There’s also a 6 bedroom Villa which I didn’t see on this visit, but have put on my wish to return to list.

The view from my room and wooden deck across the reserve towards Walker Bay was unbeatable. A soft haze across the water at first light softening the beauty.


A separate lounge and the king size bed were rather wasted as I was travelling alone, but I spread out and enjoyed it all. The bathrooms are opulent with all the spoils to enhance your stay. A bath with a view, indoor and outdoor shower, I tried each for good measure, more than using my quota of water. But then water babies do that.

I do feel that outdoor showers help make the world go round, such a simple addition to a lodge room, yet in Africa and indeed at Grootbos, why not take advantage of the weather. The view towards the sand dunes and ocean an added gift among the best kind of luxury.


The lounge area with a view to the deck and ocean.


Gorgeous bed! I wanted to jump up and down on it but that would have been rude, so I just spread out and made sure I snuggled in every corner. The double glass doors to the deck were begging to be left open


The view from the Bath, and the Charlotte Rhys treat products in use.


From the minute I turned into the Reserve I was welcomed and wonderfully looked after by all staff. There is a sense of pride here. Of family. A unison with the natural surroundings and a great pleasure in sharing this paradise with every visitor. Encouraging them to learn a little more about our natural environment.

The food is extraordinary and the locally sourced philosophy of Chef Duane makes all the difference. Local ingredients paired with the best of the Overberg’s Wine and Bubbly is a winning combination. I must add that being able to dine outside as the sun set on a windless Summer’s night, exceeded all expectations. I must have a weather fairy.

There is so much to do at Grootbos that I barely touched the surface. Lingering at the pool, fynbos walks, flower safaris, visits to the Klipgat caves, horseriding, whale watching (seasonal), scenic flights and treatments at the Bloom Forest Spa

Thats before we explore the various aspects of the Grootbos Foundation which I will share with you in separate posts.


Forest Lodge Pool and View.

There’s life here. Life in the renewal of precious resources, the planting of trees, the training of staff, appreciation and conserving of nature. Its in the forests and homegrown honey, the gently tended vegetables, in living the dream. Its in the gentle gestures, generous smiles and relaxed atmosphere.

I didn’t want to leave, I want to belong to this idyllic world, to stay and learn more about it. More about myself. To be a part of the magic that I found at Grootbos.

This is indeed my kind of wonderland.

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Dawn Bradnick JorgensenDawn Jorgensen
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The Incidental Tourist

The Incidental Tourist is a Personal Travel Blog of a conscious traveller with a deep love for Africa, its people and the environment.

Here I bring you narratives, stories, video and photographs from my travels around the globe, including accounts of gorilla trekking in Uganda, tree planting in Zambia and turtle rescue in Kenya, accommodation and restaurant reviews, as well as details of the conservation efforts that I support.

A self proclaimed earth advocate and beauty seeker, I invite you to join me and share in my love of sustainable travel – and the rich offerings of our beautiful world.

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