A while back I spent some time in Gansbaai, the 2015 winner of Best Destination for Responsible Tourism at World Travel Market. I’ve already written a blog on their amazing responsible tourism strategy, which I consider to be worldwide best practice. I’ve also written a blog about what to do here, and with so much choice you really should stay a night or two. So, to wrap up this series about my #RTroadtrip to Gansbaai, here are my top 5 places to stay (in alphabetic order as it would be impossible to do it any other way):
Farm 215 – a treat for body & soul
Farm 215 is a place to relax, recharge and restore. In the old farm house, the rooms have rustic wooden floors, comfy beds and large bath tubs. The fynbos suites have a floor-to ceiling and wall-to-wall window at the front, creating a feeling of being right in the middle of nature whether you are in your large bed, on the lounger by the fire place or in the bath tub. This is the perfect spot for getting away from it all, while still having Gansbaai’s exciting activities around the corner!
Grootbos – when only the best is good enough
Probably the best known place to stay in the Gansbaai area, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is just as amazing as the reviews suggest. The suites lie scattered in the fynbos, like petals from a rare flower. They are impossibly large and luxurious, and the views are out of this world. If you can drag yourself away from this cocoon of private luxury, there are plenty of activities on offer in the reserve such as guided walks, horse riding and sunset drives. The main building houses a large pool and several areas to relax and take in the views in, both outdoor and indoor. Meals are included in the rate, and the food is fancy, delicious and (of course) locally sourced and seasonal.
Platbos Forest – romantic glamping
Platbos is an ancient, indigenous forest where you can sleep almost in the wild. Small comfortable cabins with open walls (that can be closed with a tent canvas) lie in the shadow of thousand year old trees. There is a simple gas stove and an outdoor fire place; long-drops and fire heated showers. This is as close you can come to nature, while still sleeping in a comfortable bed and having access to a hot shower. Platbos looks like a fairytale forest, with its large trees covered in lichen and twisted by hundreds of years of weather and wind.
Saxon Lodge – comfort in the centre of town
In the centre of the village, with lovely views over the harbour, lies Saxon Lodge. This is an old house with wooden floors, individually designed rooms and perfect location. There is a lot of local art on display, and much of it is also available to purchase. From here nothing is far, whether you want to go for a meal or take a walk along the shore. You can also arrange to have a home cooked dinner, lovingly prepared by your host Caron (make sure you leave space for dessert!).
Whalesong Lodge – views to die for
Whalesong Lodge is perched on top of the cliffs at the edge of Walker Bay. Here, you can watch whales while having breakfast or afternoon drinks. This is a place that has nailed what so many hotels strive for; to feel like a home away from home. Make yourself a cup of coffee in the kitchen or grab a cold (locally produced of course) beer from the fridge. The bread is freshly baked each morning, the granola home made and one of the two cats may warm your lap while you are relaxing on the sofa.
These are my favourites because they are wonderful places to stay AND because they care about people and the environment. They employ locally and provide opportunities for staff to develop and thrive; they source products and services from the local economy; they use environmentally sound cleaning products and reduce their use of energy in many ways; and they support a vast array of local projects ranging from conservation to education.
This is just a small selection of accommodation available in Gansbaai. For a full list, refer to the Accommodation section of Gansbaai Tourism Bureau. My visit to Gansbaai was courtesy of Gansbaai Tourism and the individual establishments, but the opinions are (as always) my own.