Grootbos Nature Reserve is situated on the Agulhas Plain in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a region of unprecedented biodiversity value, under extreme pressure from factors such as expanding urbanization, agriculture, poaching, uncontrolled fires and invasive alien plants.
Socioeconomic issues are amplifying the effect of these threats. For generations the plight of poor rural communities has been largely ignored. In many of the towns and villages poverty is rife and as much as half of the inhabitants are unemployed. It is imperative that solutions combine the needs of the region’s people with that of the environment.
At Grootbos our conservation initiatives are therefore focused on providing sustainable nature based livelihoods for local people as well as protecting and restoring our unique natural heritage.
To achieve these goals, the non-profit Grootbos Foundation was established during 2004.
Funds generated by the Grootbos ecotourism business, together with donations received from guests and other donors are invested through the foundation into implementing key conservation and development projects. In this way all Grootbos guests are directly supporting biodiversity conservation and social upliftment in the Walker Bay region.
The key projects developed by the foundation to achieve its goals are: Green Futures, Growing the Future, the Youth Development Programme and Future Trees. To visit these innovative projects and meet the inspiring people behind the scenes, join Grootbos on a guided Social Responsibility Tour.
Restoration and Responsible Tourism
Since 1991, Grootbos has grown from a 123-hectare farm to now include seven farms totaling 2500 hectares of land under conservation. Much of this land had previously been poorly managed as cattle and flower harvesting farms to the detriment of the region’s biodiversity, and provided few livelihood opportunities. Over the years Grootbos staff have cleared all alien vegetation from the property, restored damaged areas and now manage the land according to strict ecological principals. The tourism development and associated non-profit programmes of the Grootbos Foundation now employ in excess of 150 full time staff, some 80% of whom are from local disadvantaged communities.
An Investment in People and the Environment
The Cape fynbos is world-renowned as a flora biodiversity hotspot and for more than 20 years, Grootbos has promoted its beauty, interpreted its intricate stories, researched its many secrets and developed a suite of projects focused on preserving this exceptional natural region.
By staying at Grootbos you are directly contributing to the conservation of the reserve and surrounding natural area as well as the development of sustainable nature-based livelihoods amongst local communities.
What's new at Grootbos - New Garden Lodge and Florilegium
The last year has been a busy one at Grootbos. We rebuilt our beloved Garden Lodge entirely and re-opened it in April 2022. We also officially launched the Grootbos Florilegium - Africa's first contemporary florilegium - which is a collection of botanical illustrations created by local and international artists, depicting the charismatic plants found on our reserve and the surrounding regions.
Click below to learn more about these exciting developments.