Grootbos Private Nature Reserve - Garden Lodge

Hermanus, Garden Route

The hotel

Bestowed with the accolade of being a ‘National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World’, the magnificent Grootbos is an experience rather than a hotel. This luxurious eco-reserve is in a unique part of Africa, close to the southernmost tip amid 2500 hectares of pristine wilderness, home to milkwood forests and over 800 species of flora and fauna. In an unbeatable location overlooking the wild coastline of Gansbaai, the lodges are just minutes from where the Great White Shark Cage Diving and Whale Watching boats depart. As well as nature walks and horse riding throughout the reserve, marine & coastal drives are also included, you can even a guided walk into the Walker Bay Nature Reserve and the De Kelders cliff walk – one of the best spots in the world for land-based whale watching (especially Jun-Dec). All this combined with world-class gastronomy, with fresh organic produce served for breakfast, lunch and sumptuous 5-course dinners.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Horse Riding
  • Restaurant

Where is it

30 minutes from Hermanus, just outside of Gansbaai in a private nature reserve. Transfer time from Cape Town Airport: 2 hours 30 minutes.

Hotel information

Garden Lodge has 11 luxury free-standing suites and Forest Lodge has 16 free-standing suites. All suites have private decks with panoramic sea views, underfloor heating and cosy fireplaces, separate lounge, separate bath and shower, tea/coffee-making facilities and mini-bar. Forest Lodge is modern and contemporary with Luxury Suites linked by a walkway through the Milkwood forest, the suites sleep 2 adults. Garden Lodge has a homely feel with wooden beams, thatched roofs and is a friendly family lodge. Garden Lodge Luxury Suites have similar facilities to the Forest Lodge Luxury Suites but have a bath and/or shower and sleep maximum 2 adults and 2 children.

Full Board includes: welcome drink served upon arrival, all soft drinks, daily fresh fruit, breakfast, lunch and 5-course dinner. Activities including horse riding through the reserve (weight limit applies), guided pony rides for children, guided walks within the reserve, marine and coastal drives and walks including in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve and the De Kelders cliff walk for seasonal land-based whale watching (Jul–Dec), bird-watching and transfers to/from all activities.

Garden Lodge Two-Bedroom Family Suites and Two-Bedroom Luxury Family Suites also feature two private en-suite bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms (one with shower and one with bath) and separate lounge and dining area, sleeping maximum 2 adults and 3 children. Two Bedroom Suites also have satellite TV and DVD player.

Please note: children under 12 years of age are not permitted in the Forest Lodge Suites.

  • 2020 Honeymooners: Couples celebrating their honeymoon receive a bottle of sparkling wine and fresh fruit in the room on arrival, romantic turndown once per stay and a beach picnic once per stay. Wedding certifcate required. Offer not bookable online and terms and conditions apply.

Forest Lodge (adult only) and Garden Lodge (for families). Each lodge features: a restaurant, bar, lounge. Swimming pool. Beauty salon. Library. Information centre. Activities included: guided walks, horse riding, beach walks, fynbos hiking and land-based whale watching (seasonal, Jun-Dec). Activites excluded: Dyer Island whale watching boat trip (Jul–Dec)*, shark cage diving*, beach horse riding*, day trips to Cape Aghulus and Hermanus*, wine tasting at local wine estate* and golf excursions*. new Hive to Home bee excursion*. Riverboat experience*.

2 nights at all times.

* Denotes local charge.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (761)
  • Very good (66)
  • Average (20)
  • Poor (10)
  • Terrible (9)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Arrived with anticipation...left disappointed.

Aug 11, 2019 Craigp0017 Sydney, Australia

My wife and I stayed at Grootbos Forest lodge for 3 nights as one stop in our 5 weeks through the African continent. We were welcomed at our vehicle on arrival and escorted to reception while the luggage was whisked away. The friendly staff immediately began the program over view, we didn't receive any presentation of the venue or formal… Read more
My wife and I stayed at Grootbos Forest lodge for 3 nights as one stop in our 5 weeks through the African continent. We were welcomed at our vehicle on arrival and escorted to reception while the luggage was whisked away. The friendly staff immediately began the program over view, we didn't receive any presentation of the venue or formal hotel/lodge briefing. I would say the activities are light on for an African Lodge. -4 by 4 reserve safari drive to look at flora/horticulture interests some and a lovely sunset drink was nice. -living the future didn't occur, but is probably more self serving than of interest for tourists. -horseback riding was unavailable to me being 191 cm and 100 kg I was too heavy for their horses. -ancient caves and beach walk. I am sure the "cave" has historical importance but not sure it is really tourist noteworthy. -forest walk was good as it was the major real activity we were able to do. Led by a knowledgeable guide we went on a 2.5 hour hike in the surrounding fynbos. -the remaining activities are all at an extra cost, and very much weather dependent. As the purpose of our trip here was to hopefully see the BIG 5 marine animals, I was extremely disappointed to learn that the boat was prebooked for the first full day we were there and the next day it would not be sailing. To their credit, and regrettably after I became "upset", they managed to secure a spot for us! In not receiving a proper briefing we were surprised to be charged for local beer and wine during our meals, only raised to our attention on day 2 as we were not asked to sign anything. Our package was a "Luxury suite full board" package and can I say, not inexpensive, and here is the absolute craziness. The in room mini bar is complimentary, (although not replenished on day 3 of our stay so they got us there) but you must pay for a beer at dinner! When queried, the receptionist told me I could bring a bottle of wine or a beer from my room to dinner at no charge!!! And this is 5 star! Please.... A little commonsense and give and take would appear best practice. We were only able to partake in 1 of 3 paid breakfasts as the whale watching boat left at 7 am first morning, and we departed at 5.30 am the last morning for our flight out of Cape Town, so Grootbos saved two breakfast but charge for a drink at dinner. In my mind, Luxury and full board package means all inclusive. But at the least, explained when you arrive so NO SURPRISES. One last point. Grootbos expouse environmental sustainability and minimising the carbon foot print, water management etc. They filter and bottle their own water to eliminate plastic bottles-meritorious. However our towels were changed, not just daily but after each and every use-hand drying towel included. And at all times they were hanging up. One step forward then one step backwards. Grootbos Forest Lodge has a great number of things in its favor: amazing fynbos, friendly staff and proximity to Gansbaai's whale watching and shark diving opportunities. On a positive, we found the food to be very good in the restaurant. It is still a great destination but I think very overpriced for what it offers - if you take away the whales and sharks you only have the views and the fynbos and an expensive but average lodge. It is a pity that it does not meet expectations. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating AMAZING FROM BEGINING TO END!!

Aug 11, 2019 Treelove2 Atlanta, GA

WOW! WOW! WOW! From the moment we arrived to the moment we HAD to leave we were treated like royalty. We have never been so spoiled. From the breath-taking view from our room to the staff to all the activites we loved every minute. This was a place we will never forget!!
Image of the Tripadvisor rating No words can describe + a belated customer survey

Jul 11, 2019 Danieltaylorusg Bluffton, South Carolina

The second part of our tour took us to Grootbos. We were supposed to stay at Birkenhead house but renovations meant that the Royal porfolio group suggested Grootbos as an alternative. And we are truly thankful they did. We may never have had the chance to experience the majestic beauty of the landscape and nature that is here. We also filled out… Read more
The second part of our tour took us to Grootbos. We were supposed to stay at Birkenhead house but renovations meant that the Royal porfolio group suggested Grootbos as an alternative. And we are truly thankful they did. We may never have had the chance to experience the majestic beauty of the landscape and nature that is here. We also filled out our survey form before leaving and forgot to hand it in, so Grootbos please use this instead and thank all the people from the top down Rooms and location - we stayed at the forest lodge and were met by Jono our guide when we arrived. He dispensed with any paperwork and got us a table for lunch which was excellent overlooking walker bay. Our room was basically a small cottage with a separate living room with balcony, two bathrooms, beautiful bedroom and a bathroom with a bath with some of the greatest views and sunsets imaginable. Guides and tours - jono was fantastic. His knowledge and obviously love of his job and his surroundings for someone relatively young was a credit to the hotel. He took us personally down to the caves and the beach, showed us prehistoric caves, saw a school of dolphins, and on our second day ever so memorable took us for a hike to the top of the mountain all the time stopping and educating us on the flowers and plants. It was mind blowing. The walk through the milkwood forest was also excellent Food and dining - food is included and it’s seriously good. Not what you would expect at all and a very high standard. The dining staff, management, chefs and sommeliers were the nicest people. All in all we truly loved Grootbos. It showed us a completely different side of South Africa that we were not expecting at all but will certainly bring out now adult kids back. Thanks all of you for making it so special. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating AMAZING PLACE!

Jul 10, 2019 americangoose Osprey, Florida

All I can say is GO! It is the most beautiful Private Nature Reserve. It is peaceful and full of beauty enough to calm the most cluttered of minds! They off horseback riding through the reserve which is included in your price. Absolutely GORGEOUS!
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Incredible resort

Jul 10, 2019 Stephanie A

This reserve does everything to perfection. Beautiful accommodations, breathtaking views, amazing wildlife, serene atmosphere, delicious food. This place has it all! I have never stayed at a place where the staff is so passionate about his/her role. Staff is generally excited to be there and share their knowledge. Can't wait to go back!