So I have been pondering over this post for a while. I am actually a little bit speechless about our stay here. I am lost for words. Which is a big thing as I normally have so much to say. Our visit to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve near Gansbaai was just THAT good. Yes it is five-star so you can expect it to be amazing but I found it was the staff who made our stay the most magical.
A few years ago Darrell had fought a fire there. He had come home and told me all about this beautiful place. I looked online and was mesmerized by the beauty. Then one of my favorite bloggers did a review of her and her little family’s stay there and I knew that we just had to go. Kim Grey had been there with her husband and her little boy and as I was pregnant with a little one when I read the review I knew I would just love to go there when my baby was the same age as hers as it look ideal for young families.
When Elijah was seven and months old Darrell had secretly booked us all a trip away there as a birthday surprise for me. Very tragically Darrell died two weeks before my birthday.
Fast forward a few years later and Elijah and I were invited to go spend some time there. I was so excited but also a little bit apprehensive as this was the last place that Darrell and I were going to go away to as a family. Well I should not have been because everyone was so kind and loving to us the whole time we were there.
We arrived at the resort on a Thursday at two o clock and were met at the parking lot by our wonderful guide. She took us up to the lodge while my car was unpacked and our bags taken to our room. Everyone we met knew our names and a little bit about ourselves. It made me feel so special. And of course Master Elijah was treated like a little prince. We were given welcome drinks, one kiddie and one grown up one and asked if we would like anything to eat. I was still full from our last meal but little Elijah piped up that he would love a toasted cheese sandwich with tomato sauce. His wish was granted and the yummiest plate of food arrived. He gobbled it all up and would not let me taste even a tiny bite. Then we were shown to our room to rest a bit before our fynbos safari.
Our room was superb. Elijah kept telling me he was so happy we had moved here. The front door opened onto an entrance hall with the most beautiful paintings and flowers from the reserve. Then there was the enormous living room, with mini bar fridge and coffee/tea and hot chocolate making facilities. The fridge was filled with the most yummy chocolates, wine Champagne and any kind of drink you can imagine. There was also a fresh fruit basket and biscotti made in their kitchen. I had a Nespresso coffee and Elijah had a hot chocolate to warm us up before we went out to explore with our guide. I dressed my little guy up in so many layers and went down to the parking lot so we could hop on to our open topped safari vehicle. Elijah was besides himself on the Landcruiser. We were taken on a magical tour of the floral kingdom that is Grootbos. The scenery is beyond beautiful. While we were driving around Elijah whispered to me that he loves it here and he can feel his dad around us. With a huge lump in my throat and trying not to let him see my tears I told him that his dad had fought a fire here so he was quite right, plus his dad goes everywhere with us in our hearts and I can also feel him there with us.
We then went off to see the Grootbos farm where there is the Food Production and Life Skill College Grootbos Foundation’s Growing the Future project.
Set right on the property, Growing the Future involves members of the local community in cultivating fresh produce, which they sell back to the lodge, forming a perfectly symbiotic relationship. Elijah got to see where all the herbs and vegetables are grown and to choose two eggs for his breakfast from the chicken coops. We then got back into our Landcruiser, wrapped ourselves up in the blankets they provide and made our way back to our home for the night to get ready for dinner.
Being from drought stricken Cape Town the huge bath looked so enticing. I am so used to saving water though that I only allowed ourselves a very shallow bath but even that was a treat. All their soaps and shampoos were fantastic and yes I tried them all.
With Elijah all warmly dressed in his pajama’s and me in something more suitable to night time dinning we made our way back to the lodge. The food deserves a whole blog post on it’s own. It was a five coarse meal and every bite was delicious. Even though the food was five-star gourmet they had a very kiddie friendly menu and Elijah had a ginormous cheese pizza and the highlight of the meal was that he was taken into the kitchen to meet the chef and to help make his own desert. That also gave me a few minute to savour the yummy lamb chops I was eating without a little one chattering away. I must say that even though it was a five coarse meal they really accommodated the fact that I was alone with a toddler and each course was swiftly taken away and the next one served.
After dinner we were so tired that the plan of watching a movie in our living room was thwarted and we just climbed into bed. But not before Elijah had seen that a “fairy” had magically come into our room,closed the curtains and left him the sweetest gift of pick up sticks and a little good night note. It is the little things like this that make us long to go back.
We woke up bright and early and so refreshed. Elijah was swanning around the room in the tiny little Grootbos gown that had been so thoughtfully left for him to use. He loved the idea of us matching. We sat on our private balcony having a hot drink before we got dressed and made our way back to the lodge for breakfast. Elijah was so excited for his eggs. He proudly asked the waiter for them. When they arrived he refused to eat them and so I asked him why he had ordered them. He told me that he just wanted to see them hatch. Oh dear. He then settled on a big bowl of oats porridge made with cream. I had the same and also some yummy treats from the buffet.
And then it was off to ride ponies! Elijah was so brave and went on a thirty minute outride over the reserve with the sweetest pony Sparkles although he was told he was allowed to call him Sparkie as he was now his friend. I just loved watching him taking in all the sights while up on horse back. The two grooms who took him where so fantastic and you could see they love children.
After his ride we just went to relax in our little home away from home. I really lost my heart to this magical place and can not wait to go back. I was a bit hesitant when planning this trip with Elijah as traveling alone with a toddler seemed daunting but that was so far from the truth and it has done us the world of good. As we were driving away Elijah told me that he loves going away with just the two of us and I fully agree. I love going away with just you, Elijah.
Thank you so much to everyone at Grootbos and the Grootbos Foundation for spoiling us and showing us around the magical place you call home. It was definitely food for the soul for both of us.