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Deep in the heart of Cape Town’s Floral Kingdom lies the incredibly pristine Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. With wraparound views and the most delicious cuisine, this is nature in the lap of luxury.

Dedication to luxury, progressive and sustainable tourism makes Grootbos Private Nature Reserve a force to be reckoned with. When the Lutzeyer family first laid eyes on a small farm nestled in the fynbos and fronted by Walker Bay in 1991, they set the wheels in motion to initialize something that is so extraordinary today that it attracts visitors from all over the world.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Exquisite views over Walker Bay when enjoying a delectable lunch.

Our arrival on a beautiful Saturday afternoon is met by guide Kelly Loubser who welcomes us in the Grootbos car park. The two-hour drive from Cape Town has left us famished and we are delighted to discover that we have made it in time for lunch. We are ushered through to the veranda by waitress Thandeka where a table for three has been set up.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Homemade vanilla ice cream.

My husband and I order the delicious calamari and fries while our daughter opts for the chicken pops with French fries. Dessert is the melt-in-your-mouth homemade vanilla ice cream for our daughter and I. My husband settles for a frothy cappuccino in the midst of being challenged to a game of chess by our daughter. She walks away as the champion.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Our room at Garden Lodge, with the most stunning tree outside our bedroom window.

After lunch, Kelly shows us to our impressive accommodation for the next two nights, a two-bedroom Garden Lodge luxury suite, perfect for families or friends traveling together. The adjoining freestanding suites are set amidst an ancient Milkwood forest and the particular tree outside our bedroom window is reminiscent of a Van Gogh masterpiece.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Sitting on your private deck, taking in the incredible vistas.

We decide to luxuriate in our exquisite accommodation, foregoing some of the activities on offer; horse riding, fat biking down the sand dunes and a historical cave tour and instead, enjoy what is at our fingertips – tranquility immersed in the most serene setting. An afternoon spent sitting on our private veranda overlooking Walker Bay is just what we all needed and too soon, it is dinner time.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

The beautiful exterior of the restaurant at Garden Lodge.

The restaurant at Garden Lodge is beautifully illuminated and the menu is perfectly created to suit every palate. A unique and special footnote on the menu states that ‘if you’d like to taste more than the usual number of courses, please ask your waiter for taster-size portions of all your selected dishes’. With the freshest and most organically sourced ingredients, each meal is masterfully crafted. We are all offered amuse-bouche of cauliflower pannacotta with beetroot aioli, followed by a palate cleanser of orange sorbet by waiter team Ziyanda and Dickson.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Delicious grilled beef fillet with peppercorn sauce.

I order the pan-fried prawns’ main course as a starter portion and my husband tries the crispy duck leg. For the main course, my husband and I both decide on the grilled beef fillet with peppercorn sauce while our daughter chooses her favorite – pizza! Why I order dessert is a good question, but I simply cannot resist the ‘passionate about chocolate’ conclusion to my meal – itakuja mousse, azelia aero, passion fruit inspiration ganache & passion fruit ice cream.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Bathroom with a view.

After dinner, we take a leisurely stroll back to our suite. Structured from stone, thatch, and timber, the inviting interiors are reflective of international trends, combined with African warmth. Our anticipatory excursion the following morning makes us turn in early, but not before enjoying a cleansing shower with the Grootbos Just Pure fynbos shower products. The elevated bed is covered in the softest white cotton bedding and the 100% down duvet ensures that slumber comes easily.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

A seal swimming close to Geyser Rock.

Kelly meets us in reception after our delicious breakfast to drive us to Dyer Island Cruises in Gansbaai. Marine guide, Jax Bath, presents an introduction and safety briefing, after which we depart with the rest of the group to board the vessel Dreamcatcher in search of the Marine Big Five. First up, we pass the Marine Dynamics boat where people are shark cage diving, spotting a few copper sharks coming in for a feed.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

A southern right whale-brindle mom with her brindle calf swimming side by side during our search for the Marine Big Five. Photo courtesy of Dyer Island Cruises.

Our next sighting can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime viewing – a southern right whale half-brindle mom with her brindle calf. The captain turns off the boat’s engines, and mom and baby playfully approach, leaving us all breathless with wonder. On our way to Geyser Rock, where a large colony of seals resides, a juvenile penguin is swimming alongside the boat.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

A penguin at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai.

Back on terra firma, we depart to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary where injured, oiled or distressed penguins and birds are cared for. These cute critters have a great chance of being reintroduced back into the wild where they belong.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Grootbos offers a 5-star way of life.

The fresh sea air has taken its toll and as we head back to Grootbos, we realize that a delicious lunch will be waiting for us. Just like the well-thought-out activities, superb accommodation, delectable food, jaw-dropping views and minuscule attention to detail, you can expect the 5-star way of life at Grootbos.

www.grootbos.com

| Photographs courtesy of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and by Heléne Ramackers

*** Views expressed are the author’s own.

*** Thank you to Gillian Gernetzky from Nicky Arthur PR for arranging our stay and for Grootbos Private Nature Reserve for hosting us.

About The Author

Helene Ramackers

Heléne Ramackers is a freelance journalist who enjoys interviewing local and international celebrities but thinks she has found her calling amongst the travel writing fraternity. A creature comfort girl at heart, she loves all things opulent. Her first taste of the bushveld was all it took to get bitten by the ‘bush-bug’, an absolute life-altering experience. She now longs for the expanse of wide open spaces, a pollution-free sky and the roar of a lion lulling her to sleep. When she’s not fantasizing about her next leopard sighting, she thrives on taking photographs of her family and loves capturing the beauty of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows and the magnificence of the full moon. Born and bred in Cape Town, this wife and doting mother love visiting the beauty that is right on her doorstep – the splendor of Table Mountain, the crashing waves at Bloubergstrand and the alluring scenery of the Winelands. To add Upscale Living to her portfolio is a dream come true!

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