By Tiffany Dowd
When one thinks of Africa images of safari, elephants and lions immediately come to mind. After visiting Grootbos Nature Reserve, I now have a beautiful new perspective on Africa having had the unique opportunity to experience “nature safaris” showcasing the beautiful flora, breathtaking beaches and vibrant marine life of the southern tip of Africa. Only a two-hour drive from the beautiful winelands and two hours to Cape Town, my stay at Grootbos was a one-of-a-kind luxury African experience where guests can enjoy guided adventures such as whale watching, 4x4 flower safaris, cave tours, Marine Big 5 and more.
Grootbos offers beautiful five star accommodation overlooking the reserve with ocean views in the distance and picturesque pathways through the fynbos – the evergreen shrub-like vegetation found in Western Cape of South Africa. Dining at Grootbos was a world-class experience with menus that feature local ingredients of seafood, meat and even local wine with many of the organic ingredients from the Growing the Future project. The panoramic views of Walker Bay from the dining room were spectacular and serene. There is a lovely wine cellar that is perfect for private dinners and wine tastings. If you need extra pampering, there is a relaxing spa hidden within a natural setting where you can enjoy a variety of treatments including Shiatsu massage and pampering facials.
The very first morning after breakfast, I went on a lovely nature hike through the fynbos with the highly knowledgeable resident botanist, Billy, who opened my eyes to the beauty of the nature that surrounded me. I would highly recommend taking the time to do this as it’s amazing how much you miss when you don’t slow down and appreciate the flora and fauna that surrounds you.
Two highlights for me during my stay were experiencing a 30 minute scenic flight on a Cessna along the pristine coastline with African Wings and shark cage diving with Marine Dynamics. During our flight, we could see great white sharks swimming in the crystal clear water – a sight to behold. As if seeing sharks from the sky wasn’t close enough, one morning, we went shark cage diving to see the most awesome predator of the sea with expert guides who are also dedicated marine biologists. It was a thrill of a lifetime, and an experience you shouldn’t miss.
The surrounding beaches near Grootbos are simply spectacular. One evening, we drove down to the pristine beaches of Gansbaai and enjoyed the picture perfect sunset on Piano Rock with lovely appetizer and cocktails. The beauty of the vast beaches and vibrant sunset was unforgettable.
While the five star luxury of Grootbos and the excursions were extraordinary in every way, I was mostly impressed to learn about the investment in the people and the environment through the Grootbos Foundation. Grootbos owner, Michael Lutzyer, a force of positive energy and inspiration, is leading the way for responsible tourism, so guests can feel good about giving back and make a difference while enjoying all the luxuries that Africa and Grootbos has to offer. Through the Grootbos Foundation, I donated money for an apple box which will be used to grow vegetables such as spinach. Other projects include a youth development program and future trees where you can plant a tree that will be named after you.
It was a wonderful experience to stay at Grootbos Nature Reserve along with my visit to the Winelands and going on safari.
Thank you Africa Travel for planning three such unique experiences opening my eyes to all that South Africa has to offer. I cannot wait to return and I know there is much more to see.
If you would like more information on the properties Tiffany stayed at, or to book your own South African adventure, please don't hesitate to contact one of our experts.
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