- pristine wilderness lodge
- beautiful views
- superb service & guides
- family friendly
Grootbos is a superb wilderness eco-lodge set in pristine fynbos overlooking the Western Cape’s majestic Whale Coast.
Nestled within a 2500 hectare private reserve, Grootbos consists of two lodges containing 27 suites in total; The Forest Lodge boasts sleek modern minimalist design and is adults only (12+), families usually stay in the Garden Lodge, with its sensitively designed modern eco-lodge feel. All rooms boast large glass walls & terraces wrapped around superb views of the reserve.
Whilst comfort and service is second to none, the big draw at Grootbos is the small things. The plants and flowers of the fynbos, the wild coastal and mountain scenery and, of course, the passionate wildlife guides who more than anything, make this place special. From June to November, this is a prime southern right whale watching location, but it is well worth a visit any time of the year.
The drawback of course, is that it is an expensive option. However, do bear in mind that all meals and most activities are included in that rate. And given the quality of service and guiding (which puts many far more expensive safari lodges to shame), we think this is one of those occasions where you won’t regret paying for quality.
Meals are included and are inventive and generous, served from an a la carte / set menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll want to stay at least three nights to be able to cover all the bases at breakfast, whilst the five course evening meal is always something to look forward to.
Horse riding, guided walks, 4WD tours on the reserve and visits to the Coast are all included in the standard rates. Horse riding is suitable for beginners and riders of all abilities.
For Families: Grootbos proudly bears the title of ‘best family hotel in the world’ from Tatler Travel Guide and it is easy to see why. Children and adults will love the wild sandy beaches, horse rides and infectiously enthusiastic guides. From the moment we arrived, the 6 year old received a level of service that I rarely receive as an adult. Yes there is an inviting children’s games room, lots of hot chocolates, fruit cocktails and guided activities specifically for the children, but it is the small touches that make it all work. From the junior sized shower to the incredibly well groomed ponies and the fact that the moment your children’s thumbs even begin to twiddle a member of staff is on hand to entertain them. Importantly, all this is in addition to the many opportunities to stick together as a family and enjoy a guided beach walk or fynbos tour.
Families are usually accommodated in the Garden Lodge (the more minimalist Forest Lodge is 12+ only). Families of four with two younger children will fit into the one bedroom suites in the Garden Lodge. Larger families can sleep in the two bedroom luxury suites in the Garden Lodge
- Elegant guesthouse and historic wine estate
- Tranquil rural setting with lovely views
- Fine dining restaurant, pool, tennis courts
- Excellent provision for families
- Variety of activities available.
- Cozy cottages or luxury rooms
- Private 1000 hectare nature reserve
- Contemporary boutique guesthouse
- Direct beach access, variety of water sports
- Ideal for whale watching (seasonal)
- 10 minute drive from downtown Hermanus
- 9 comfortable rooms
- Tranquil guest house
- Sea, mountain or garden vistas
- Direct beach & cliff path access
- Excellent Sea Views
- Boutique Guest House
- 8 Bedrooms
- Swimming Pool
- 17 rooms & suites
- Attractive manor house & Villa in a garden setting
- Cliff path access & indigenous Fynbos
- Close to beaches, hiking trails, wine farms & whale watching boats (seasonal)
- Contemporary coastal hotel
- Ocean views
- Restaurant, pool, & gardens
- Seasonal whale watching
One week holiday combining the best of Cape Town with gorgeous lodges in the Winelands & Whale Coast.
Tailor-made Luxury 8 days
From $1,088 per person
Can't praise tour dust enough, they helped us to create a holiday of a lifetime that has given us family memories we will treasure forever. From start to finish the whole experience was exactly what we wanted and more. Due to covid we waited 2 and a half years for this trip but worth the wait.
Carly R reviewing Value KwaZulu-Natal Safari and Mauritius on 07 November 2022
We had an absolutely fantastic time, thank you! My comments here contain just very minor things which could have improved it - please don’t take it as any criticism of the holiday which we absolutely loved, but small tweaks which could have improved it even further!
Arrival and transfer were superb - lovely to be met straight off the plane and smoothly transferred straight to the waterfront.
You should note that Lawhill no longer has a dedicated reception - this caused a couple of issues getting into the accommodation and meeting our guide. Just worth letting people know as nothing which wasn’t overcome with a couple of calls to the complex reception.
The accommodation itself was ideal for us - spacious, clean and a great base to relax and go out to dinner.
Our guide from AWOL, Bevan, was first class - really friendly knowledgeable and great with the kids. 10/10!
The tours were a perfect balance for us of interesting stuff for adults and children
If I could change anything from our holiday, I’d have had an extra day at leisure in Cape Town, so much to do in the city itself.
Also worth noting the cable car to Table Mountain seems to be closed during August - just worth noting in advance as we had planned to do that. The aquarium was a good second best though which the kids probably enjoyed more!
Departure was a pain - our car didn’t turn up at 4.00 as per the schedule which was a pain, particularly that early in the morning. On contacting them, they said it has been booked at 4.45 - an extra 45 mins sleep would have been good - just worth double checking those in future.
Transfer to Madikwe was superb again and really easy
Accommodation was good - I guess this might be because we originally booked a couple of years ago, but the bed for the kids was a bit small for a 9 and 11 year old. Our bed was so big however that Chloe just bunked down with us so no problem at all. Food and service was first class.
Our safari guide, Pride, was amazing. I’d recommend a private safari to anyone - we were able to be flexible with times and destinations (for example on one day he picked us up a couple of hours early to we could drive much further into the reserve which was rewarded with some cheetahs, another day we went on an all-dayer rather than morning and evening) - mixing things up to see more made a great experience even better.
Transfer back to Johannesburg was just as easy
Johannesburg hotel was ok - nothing special but for a transfer hotel it did what we needed!
Transfer to and from the resort was seamless
The resort is lovely - food, accommodation and facilities all great. After such a busy start to the holiday we didn’t really take full advantage of all the water sports but anything we did do was really easy and great fun. Would definitely recommend it to others!
For a family like ours the drinks package wouldn’t have been good value so pleased we just went full board (having a few drinks during the day and a bottle of wine with dinner our bill came to about £450)
Just to note a specific plus from the resort: I has some issues with my banking whilst away - the resort waived the fees on my phone call back to the UK to sort it out. Little things like that really make a great impression and reflect so well on the management.
Thank you again for all your work helping us get there in such difficult times. Great memories of a superb holiday for all the family!
Matt W reviewing South Africa Madikwe Safari and Mauritius on 31 August 2022
I don’t know if you collect feedback but thought it might be useful for you! Happy for you to use any of my comments in testimonials etc.
We had an utterly amazing holiday and firstly I want to thank you for your patience during what was a very frustrating process for all of us / my procrastination, then covid, date changes, flight cancellations / I can’t quite believe we got there in the end and the trip lived up to all our expectations. Our itinerary felt pretty much perfect so thank you for all the advice and steering in the right direction.
Thank you also for your flexibility in terms of allowing us to book certain aspects of our trip independently (Cape Town) and then adding flights at a later date. The flexibility to do this and change dates etc was brilliant.
Originally we intended to self drive, mainly to save cost and then I got nervous about it and we had transfers for the whole trip. Once we were there I was aware that pretty much everyone one was self driving and that the N2 route was actually quite straightforward. In retrospect we could have done self drive however my husband and I both agreed that for us the transfer option was probably best. Although a straightforward route, the N2 is quite a hairy road with lots of trucks and there was a definite etiquette for driving and overtaking. Our son is quite anxious and I think he would have found the driving stressful and so we feel we made the right choice.
It obviously meant that we were not able to do any self drive safari but this did not matter, I would not have wanted to the advantages of being taken with someone who can spot things we would never have seen, imparting huge amounts of knowledge and having the right vehicles for going off road were worth every penny.
St Lucia, this was a great place to start our safari, we did a night drive (highly recommend), a day safari up to Cape Vidal and also a boat trip on the estuary. Would recommend all of it. Our accommodation at Lidiko Lodge was comfortable and they do a lovely breakfast on a gorgeous terrace. The rooms are quite dark and although there was nothing wrong with it, it was probably our least favourite accommodation on our trip.
Ghost Mountain Inn, we arrived here after 4 full on days in Cape Town and then 2 days in St Lucia so were ready for a bit of a rest and it really was lovely. We had lovely rooms, enjoyed the pool, food and did a fantastic trip to visit the local Zulu village and then a morning game drive into Mkhuze park (they have hides here and it was wonderful to watch the animals come to the waterhole to drink) it felt slightly more intimate than watching them from a vehicle.
Rhino River Lodge, undoubtedly the highlight of the trip. It was a wonderful experience from start to finish. The food was lovely, the level of service was amazing (little touches like hot water bottles on your seat at dinner and hot flannels and an aperitif handed to us as we returned from our evening game drive. It was 3/4 star rather than 5 star and the rooms were quite rustic (very comfy beds) but we really liked that (not 5 star people) and felt very comfortable with the children who were made very welcome and there were food options to suit them (although mostly they ate the adult food but nice to have an alternative, simpler option). The ONLY downside is that you can hear the N2 from the lodge and initially it bothered me a bit but actually it was such a fabulous place it didn’t really matter in the end but maybe something to flag to other clients.
Fairlight Beach House – I’m glad we only had 1 night here as actually the weather at this point was not great but it was a great place to gather ourselves before the flight home (I would NOT have wanted to go straight from Rhino River to the airport to fly home). Lovely, super comfortable place to stay and we spent the morning watching dolphins and whales breaching less than 100m from the shore line.
My only regret is that we didn’t make it to Drakensburg Mountains (Rorkes or Fugitives Drift). If I was planning the trip again I probably would just do 2 nights (instead of 3) at Ghost Mountain and add one extra day to give another 2 nights to get to the mountains.
Thank you Lisa and I really hope that we will have the opportunity to do another 'Big Trip' at some point soon and book through you!
Josine B reviewing Value KZN Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 30 August 2022