Hidden away on wooded coastal hillsides between Cape Town and the Garden Route, this is a special spot for adventurous kids (and their parents!) to play on pristine beaches, spot whales and learn about local flora and fauna on guided treasure hunts.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is a 2,500-hectare estate filled with native fynbos vegetation and over 100 bird and mammal species, as well as a clutch of stylish suites from which nature-loving humans can enjoy it all.
Rooms: Rooms are split across 2 lodges, each of which has its own decorative style, as well as a restaurant and pool. Garden Lodge Suites are wooden mini-cottages which follow a contemporary chalet style (and welcome all ages). They have wood-burning stoves and half-glass walls to let the sunshine in and allow plenty of bird-watching opportunities from the living room. The One-Bedroom Luxury Suites in the Forest Lodge (which only accommodate children over 12 years) are more stylish in design: think clean white walls and chunky wooden furniture. Bedrooms have huge beds with duck down duvets and the living rooms open onto a wooden deck with beautiful views.
Food: There are special kids’ menus in both restaurants and snacks are on offer for younger guests. Kitchenette fridges are well-stocked and fresh fruit is delivered daily – so there’s plenty to keep little tummies happy. Up at each restaurant, dishes include peanut satay marinated duck breast and buttermilk omelette risolle with poached pears. The accompanying wine list is very good.
When to go: Every season has its benefits: June-December is prime whale-watching time (they mate off Walkers Bay, and calve in October-November), August-November is best for spring flowers. December-March is summer: warm, sunny and busy (but the sea is still cold). April-June is autumn, a quiet time with good bird and animal viewing.
Customer review: “We had a fabulous stay and the staff couldn’t have done more to make us feel more welcome. Our room was lovely and the food was excellent.” Georgia, United Kingdom (27.11.14)