A network of likeminded nature-based businesses committed to driving sustainability through tourism

The Long Run

The Long Run supports, connects and inspires nature-based tourism businesses to achieve the highest standards of sustainability.

Where profit meets sustainability

Helping business, nature and people work together

The Long Run is one of the world’s largest sustainable development initiatives. This invitation-only network comprises members who exchange learnings, insights and knowledge.

Its parties are united by the desire to maintain a healthy and productive planet by excelling in the areas of conservation, community, culture and commerce.

The story

The Long Run was launched by Jochen Zeitz in 2009 with Sir Richard Branson as co-chair. Nine destinations (including Grootbos), who were already demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, were invited to collaborate with The Long Run to develop an approach and strategy that has grown into the movement it is today.

The members of The Long Run continuously demonstrate that profit can and should go hand in hand with productive ecosystems, and prosperous communities. We hope to inspire others to do the same.

Global Ecosphere Retreats®

In 2015 The Long Run’s Global Ecosphere Retreats (GER)® standard was granted recognition by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. GER® status represents the highest level of membership in The Long Run community.

Each nature-based tourism business that has gained GER® status has shone in the areas of conservation, community, culture and commerce and is a centre of excellence in sustainable business practices. 

Grootbos is one of only 10 Long Run members to achieve GER® status in the world and is the only one to do so in South Africa.

The 4Cs

The 4C framework is a practical guide for businesses to internalise sustainability. It acknowledges the importance of business viability to secure biodiversity conservation and community well being. In turn, it emphasises the importance of nature and supportive communities in sustaining nature-based businesses.


Conservation is to recognise the value of the natural world and to acknowledge its contribution to the global ecosystem. Members of The Long Run strive to serve as custodians of their piece of the natural world, so that collectively we can safeguard life as a whole.


The Long Run members support the spirit of community. We strive to positively impact the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we operate. We aim to ensure that our fellow members have the skills and tools they need to survive and thrive.


Culture is what divides us as people, yet learning about different cultures is also what unites us. At The Long Run, we believe that respecting cultural diversity – and finding ways to work together – is crucial to the success of our global future.


Guests are attracted to an establishment’s natural beauty and cultural charm. In turn, members of The Long Run reinvest the profits gained from tourism commerce, to safeguard the very things that attract those visitors in the first place.

Grootbos is the only Long Run member in South Africa to achieve Global Ecosphere Retreats®️ status.

Click the button below to read more about the Long Run and this special accolade.


Recognised leaders in sustainable tourism

  • The Grootbos Foundation was formally established in 2003
  • Beyond our programmes, we conduct research into ecological, educational and social issues – and then craft impactful solutions.
  • Our membership of the Long Run enables us to learn, to share and pioneer new approaches.
How Grootbos drives positive impact travel

From inception Grootbos has been more than a luxury destination. Sustainability is immersed in the operational DNA of the Grootbos lodges and the Grootbos Foundation drives the conservation, community and culture C’s.

We work with fellow members, partners and associates from around the globe to together learn, be inspired and keep abreast of the latest standards in each of the 4C areas of interest.

Community - 15 years of vocational training

The Green Futures College provides horticultural, field ranging and eco-tourism training to members of neighbouring communities.

Conservation - 22,202 ha of endangered fynbos under conservation

The Agulhas Green Corridor project is working to connect the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy with the Agulhas National Park.

Conservation - 947 plant species: 6 new to science

Through our ecological research on Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, we have identified 947 unique types of fynbos.

See Foundation Website
Enjoy the warmth of our hospitality

Grootbos Foundation and global recognition

Grootbos is a world leader in sustainable tourism and has been awarded some of the highest international accolades possible, making us one of only a handful of lodges to achieve this.

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Grootbos invites you to experience our country's most precious floral biome and marine wilderness like never before. Enjoy unique guided experiences while being treated to five-star luxury at our lodges and villas.

Our Secret Season special offers South African residents an exclusive discounted rate and additional benefits. 

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.

See New Garden Lodge See Florilegium