Fancy a holiday with a conscience? In this episode of ExtraVirgin, Natascha visits the private eco-reserve of Grootbos in South Africa to discover an extraordinary landscape where five star luxury and a genuine commitment to sustainable, ethical and community -focused practices go hand in hand.
Almost at the southern tip of Africa tucked between mountains and forest, Grootbos luxury eco reserve is National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World set in a floral wonderland, with 800 plant species, including 400 on the red data list as threatened. There are ancient milkwood foresets and mountains covered in meadows of flowers, wild windswept beaches where southern right whales breach just off shore and the brave can dive with great white sharks. On land there are floral safaris or hikes with botanists, ancient caves to explore, wineries to visit, or a tour of Grootbos’ own farm that proves incredible fresh food for the lodge’s guests.
Part of the Grootbos ethos is to support and nurture local talent, to provide opportunities when there were none. The not-for-profit Grootbos Foundation has an educational and training program – training young horticultural students on their farm and others in eco-hospitality and tourism training, Their Football Foundation financially and emotional supports young people in sport, providing training, inclusive sporting programs, uniforms, education, female empowerment mentoring and healthy meals. The third arm of the Foundation is in eccology and conservation, working to protect this extraordinary and unique environment with ecological research, tree planting, the removal of invasive introduced species and creating a conservancy in partnership local landowners.
In this episode of ExtraVirgin, Natascha talks to Grootbos operations manager Clayton Niemand about how the lodge goes about protecting this unique region and putting their serious committment to sustainabiltiy into practice on a day to day basis, while still giving international guests an unforgettable 5-star experience.
If South Africa is on your travel radar, then have a listen. If it’s not, have a listen anyway, it may well become a new bucket list entry.
*Natascha was a guest of Grootbos