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PPlatbos Forest, near Hermanus in the Western cape, should have become extinct millions of years ago when the area’s climate changed. But the indigenous forest endured and is now considered a scientific oddity.
Some of the hardier trees in the forest are over 1 000 years old. They’ve stuck around even though there is no river course to feed them. A drier climate hasn’t fazed them either. The trees have clustered to conserve water, and have formed nutrient ‘islands’ to survive. It’s a botanist’s paradise with a splash of South African magic.
The Platbos experience is a personal one. Owners Francois and Melissa Krige interact closely with guests, and have a wealth of information to share. Guests are invited to explore an enchanting 2-hour forest trail suitable for all ages.
The forest teems with life. Bird watchers should look out for flycatchers, robins and woodpeckers. At night, owls hoot from the treetops. Tree frogs, toads and snakes make their home there too. The Krige family’s forest camera has even captured porcupines and the elusive caracal cat.
Visitors wishing to stay in the area are invited to make use of the forest’s self-catering campsite. It’s an opportunity to go off the grid and experience nature at its finest.
The Krige family takes responsible tourism very seriously. Their office, organic nursery and home are solar-powered, and all waste is recycled. They are also attempting to reforest areas that were once felled to make way for agriculture. You can help by sponsoring an indigenous tree to be planted.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)82 4110448 (general enquiries)
+27 (0)76 9233349 (accommodation enquiries)
Things to do
Visit the whale-watching town of Hermanus, which is a 40-minute drive away from Platbos.
What to pack
Pack comfortable walking shoes.