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WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is set amidst mountains, ancient indigenous forest and overlooks the rich marine haven of Walker Bay.
Grootbos is located in one of the world’s “hottest” of hotspots in terms of biodiversity, the Cape Floral Kingdom. Many of the plants found here are of conservation concern and, as many as 70% of the plant species are found nowhere else on Earth.
Grootbos, together with the Grootbos Foundation is committed to the conservation of the Cape Floral Kingdom and the upliftment of the communities therein, representing a progressive tourism model that is inclusive.
Since 1991, Michael Lutzeyer and his family, have transformed dilapidated farmland into a melting pot of luxury accommodation, responsible tourism, and biodiversity. In 1999 Grootbos was instrumental in establishing the 308,000-acre Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy, encouraging other local landowners to clear alien species and document any plants that are a conservation concern.
The creation of the Grootbos Foundation, the non-profit partner for Grootbos formalised the conservation and community work in 2003 with the express purpose and vision to: Conserve the Cape Floral Kingdom and uplift the community therein.
Grootbos and the Grootbos Foundation, together understand that conservation does not occur in a vacuum, but is surrounded by a faltering economy and a community that are disconnected from the surrounding environment and conservation efforts. Conservation and community need to together respond and together address the urgent threats to conserve this unique biodiversity.
Grootbos and the Foundation support the surrounding rural communities by educating, inspiring and empowering members of the local community and youth through it’s programmes reaching over 12,000 beneficiaries each year.
The Grootbos, 5-star eco-lodges, and two exclusive use, private villas (6 bedrooms & 4 bedrooms) offer an immerse luxury experience. The free-standing lodge suites are set amongst the fynbos and offer expansive views over Walker Bay and the surrounding landscape. The curated Grootbos guest activities maximise the experience of the exceptional landscape and nature of the reserve.
Sustainability is a guiding principle applied throughout Grootbos and includes stringent carbon and water footprint monitoring. Recently Grootbos has undergone an external audit process that concluded that Grootbos sequesters more carbon than they emit. They have offset their emissions and are able to confirm that Grootbos is not only carbon neutral but carbon negative. Each guest stay at Grootbos is offset by their sustainability process and work.
Grootbos joined The Long Run in 2012 and has been committed to the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as contributing meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region in South Africa.
The Grootbos Foundation, the non-profit partner of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve formalised the Grootbos conservation and community vision with its formation in 2003. The vision can be summarised as, the conservation of the Cape Floral Kingdom and uplift the community therein.
Located within the Cape Floral Kingdom, in the Western Cape of South Africa, Grootbos is set in the smallest yet most diverse of the six floral kingdoms of the world and a UNESCO Heritage Site. This region is recognised as one of the world’s “hottest” of hotspots in terms of biodiversity and conservation concerns, with 70% of the plant species found nowhere else on Earth.
The Grootbos Foundation has a dedicated conservation team, including botanists, entomologists and other specialists, focusing not only on floral diversity but specialities infaunal monitoring, entomological research and alien clearing management.
Their conservation team cross-pollinates their specialities and together work to better understand the biodiversity of the region. Some of the highlights include the positive identification of 879 plant species, seven of which are completely new to science. A faunal survey, through motion sensor cameras, identifying many threatened species, previously undetected in the region and an entomology and pollinator programme that are conducting groundbreaking research documenting the insect world and the roles they play across the Agulhas Plain.
Grootbos has understood that conservation needs to occur beyond immediate boundaries and include a landscape-level conservation perspective. In 1999 the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy (WBFC) was formed to do just this and today this collaborative conservation drive works to conserve over 21,700 hectares across the region. Four threatened vegetation types and 49 landowners form the base of this conservancy and the WBFC is managed and administered by the Grootbos Foundation.
Grootbos and the Grootbos Foundation, together understand that conservation does not occur in a vacuum, but is surrounded by a faltering economy and a community that are disconnected from the surrounding environment and conservation efforts.
Grootbos and the Foundation support the surrounding rural communities by educating inspiring and empowering members of the local community and youth through its programmes reaching over 12,000 beneficiaries each year.
The Grootbos Foundation community programmes include their vocational education programmes through the Green Futures College, Football Foundation multi-sports, sport for development programme, support of community early learning centres and their careers, employability and entrepreneurship programme.
Food security, sustainable livelihoods and building active citizens are central themes of their community programmes. The Grootbos Foundation programmes reach over 12,000 beneficiaries each year.
Grootbos celebrates a rich botanical culture located in the Cape Floral Kingdom. The botanical theme is woven throughout the many touchpoints on the Grootbos reserve and includes a botanical flower safari, a bespoke amenities range based on the surrounding fynbos, and a range of botanical teas that combine the secrets of our endemic plant world.
Another element to their cultural pillar at Grootbos is the fascinating paleontology of the region. The nearby limestone caves date back tens of thousands of years and the Klipgat cave experience offers a tangible experience of a Stone Age World.
Grootbos believes in the potential of tourism as a key lever and catalyst in the achievement of sustainable development. Beyond luxury, Grootbos is committed to a progressive tourism model and the potential positive impact tourism is able to drive.
The aim is to run the commercial business in harmony with conservation, community, and culture (the other 3C’s).
Grootbos has two luxury, eco-lodges (Garden & Forest Lodges) and two private exclusive use villas (6 bedrooms & 4 bedrooms). Their Forest and Garden lodges are set amongst the endemic Cape fynbos and overlook the spectacular views of Walker Bay.
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