grootbosIf one is living in the Southern hemisphere and in particular anywhere far south of the equator, it is a widely accepted truth that one will have to travel quite a distance to see the relics, structures and historical artefacts that are usually on Lonely Planet’s or Fodor’s list of “101 things to see before you die.” This is especially true for those who appreciate art. To stand in front of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Monet’s Water Lily Garden requires a lengthy plane trip and a hefty travel budget. But those wishing to see masterpieces need not travel too far from home as nature has been painting her own colourful garden that spans further than any painting could.
western_cape_south_africa_-_grootbos_private_nature_reserve3The floral kingdom of the Western Cape and in particular the rich floral diversity that exists in the Grootbos Nature reserve, Gaansbaai is a living example of nature’s artistic genius.

In an area that covers 2500 square hectares of land, there are over 765 plant species, including over 9000 species of Fynbos (which includes the King Protea), most of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Apart from the obvious bounty of nature that exists in Grootbos, the real boon is that it is only two hours away from Cape Town, which means no long haul flying is required, no visa, and respite from the crippling exchange rate.

grootbos_2Even though it may not be far from Cape Town, in this case the journey is just as remarkable as the destination as travelling to Grootbos takes one along the coastal road that goes through the town of Hermanus – famous for its whale festival.

The exclusive Grootbos Nature Reserve Lodge is the ideal place to stay for a weekend away, and your money is well spent as a significant amount of their profits go to uplifting the local community by focusing on education and skills development. Winter to early spring is the best time to visit the reserve, as during these cold, wet months the Fynbos is at its most spectacular.

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By Jess Handley