Rustic cabin and tented camp set in Africa's southernmost indigenous forest

Budget Getaways Review

You're not even halfway through Blyton's classic, The Faraway Tree, and already the kids are hankering after a real forest adventure... Problem is, the rooikrans pushing up against the Vibracrete in the backyard doesn't quite cut it.

Well, have we got the spot for you! Platbos Forest is a unique swathe of indigenous forest covering the lower slopes of the Baviaanspoort Hills, 15km from Gansbaai. It is here where friendly hosts Francois and Melissa Krige have turned their passion for all things green and ecological into a gentle way of life.

Their guest accommodation embodies this same deeply-felt respect for Mother Nature and comes in three forms, namely, Old Olive Cabin, Platbos Forest Camp and Honey Bee Suite

Tucked under the Platbos twisted canopy is Old Olive Cabin, a rustic timber cabin aptly named after the 800-year-old wild olive tree that stands nearby. The cabin is well and truly buried in the forest, with access to the front door via a short walk along a narrow path.

Stepping inside, the main bedroom has a double bed, with an additional double sleeper couch in the lounge for the kids. The kitchen is fully equipped and open-plan to the living area, where you’ll also find an indoor fireplace. 

Your bathroom comprises an open-air hot shower and a compost, waterless toilet, which we’re assured is a far cry from your average longdrop.

Platbos has on principle cut itself off from the clutches of our high-voltage parastatal - everything here is off-grid, which means solar lighting, donkey boiler hot water and gas cooking. 

All linen and towels are provided, as is wood for the donkey boiler.

For even closer commune with nature and ideal for a slightly larger group, Platbos Forest Camp is situated about 200m from the cabin, with an equally appealing setting beneath the forest canopy and plenty of open space, nooks and crannies to keep the kids enchanted. 


The Forest Camp is yours to book exclusively and sleeps four. There are two tents with twin beds, as well as a Tipi tent, which serves as a social hub. You’ve got a semi-enclosed kitchen and cooking area equipped with pots, pans, cutlery and gas cooker. Hot showers are al fresco, as is the funky washstand and basin.

Towels and linen are provided at the Forest Camp, but be sure to bring along the Pretzel headlight (rip-off Chinese version of Petzl), as only candles are supplied.

Secluded and also booked exclusively is the Honey Bee Suite, set beneath a magnificent white stinkwood elder. Honey Bee has a single ‘open air’ bedroom and is well suited to couples looking for a spot of privacy. Honey Bee has a small equipped kitchen with stove, an outdoor shower heated by a donkey boiler and a cozy fire and braai area. All linen and towels are provided.

There’s more than enough to keep you busy in and around Platbos. Head off on the two-hour forest trail, with useful info sheet in hand. Gather yourself unto yourself on the labyrinth (marked by mother-of-pearl shells). Head out and explore the surrounding area, with wine farms, horse riding on the beach and coastal trails among the options. Prepare for your Monday meeting with the boss with a shark dive off Gansbaai.

Shade and silence doesn’t mix much better than this.

Getaway Facts: Platbos Forest
Where15km from Gansbaai
GPS co-ordsS 34°33'56.7782''  E 19°27'15.7819''
Sleeps4 (Old Olive Cabin), 4 (Forest Camp), 2 (Honey Bee Suite)
Meals availableno
Activitiesbirdwatching, hiking, mountain biking, quad biking, stargazing, walking, whale watching, wine routes

Guest Comments

"Platbos is a wonderful establishment to get back to basics and in touch with nature, the long drop toilet was the only challenge, hopefully there is a more eco-friendly way of doing this in 2015. Otherwise stunning experience was had." (Leigh Mitchell, visited January 2015)
Getaway reply: "Thank you Leigh for your feedback, we appreciate it. Our intention is to upgrade all of our accommodation units to flush toilets, composting loos are very eco-friendly but we know that they can be a challenge for some guests. Our new unit, the Bush Buck Suite, will be completed in a month or two and will have a flush loo, watch this space!" (Melissa Krige)
"The setting is wonderful. A good place to get away from the noise of the city and the rush of life." (Michelle Battaglia, visited December 2014)
"The setting is wonderful. A good place to get away from the noise of the city and the rush of life." (Michelle Battaglia, visited December 2014)
"This is truly a hidden gem. We stayed at the Honey Bee Camp. This place gives you the best of both worlds. For the nature fanatic and those looking for some outdoor fun this is the place. If you looking to camp but want some luxury you going to the right place. It is a true relaxing escape, very peaceful and tranquil. Nice nature walks in the forest. My only crits would be if you allergic to bees stay out the forest. As well as the website nor any of the communication with the place warns you of baboons. We did not see any for the weekend but there is a big sign in the kitchen warning not to feed the baboons and pictures in the reception. If you like me and have a fear of baboons this can spoil your weekend as it almost did mine. But other than that a great place." (Lana Brown, visited December 2014)
Getaway reply: "Dear Lana, Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback on your stay at the Honey Bee Suite, we are so glad that you enjoyed the peace of the forest and appreciate your comments and suggestions. Thank you also for suggesting that we make note of the baboons that visit the forest on our website, this is a good suggestion and we will be following it up soon. But just to put your fears at bay, the baboon troop that occasionally visits the forest to eat the tree berries and are still wild and unused to humans, they run away if they see you. The reason for the baboon warning signs is to prevent our guests from creating a problem by inadvertently feeding the occasional visiting baboon, who is thus far not habituated to human food and therefore wild and scared of humans. Our signage in the forest does instruct walkers to please stay on the paths, if they do so, they will not encounter a bee nest in a tree and should not be stung. We live in the forest and my husband, who is allergic to bees, has not been stung at Platbos for the last 5 years. Thanks again for your positive feedback and constructive suggestions." (Melissa Krige)
"We had an absolutely wonderful time, just far too short. We will definitely be going again. Superb setting in the forest of indigenous trees, tranquil, quiet, plenty of space for little ones to run around, and the shower and toilet good to use." (Val Wiese, visited April 2014)
"Platbos Forest is a unique, magical and very special experience. The solitude and peace and the feeling of remoteness are the right ingredients for anyone wanting to unwind and relax. The walks through the forest are clearly marked and very interesting. This is definitely a piece of paradise to which I would return regularly if I didn't live 2000 kilometres away. Most highly recommended." (Sue Wagner, visited September 2013)
"Wow what a peace of heaven. The simplicity of the living space blends wonderfully with the forest allowing you to forget about the nonsense of urban and enjoy life. The stars at night are amazing. The trees each speak to you. Double WOW." (Kamal Jay, visited August 2012)
"For those who are serious about a way of life that is unhurried, simple and deeply tranquil, this is a superb location and experience. Spending a weekend at Platbos was a way to show my daughter another reality, a world close to and in nature. Melissa, Francois and family are great hosts, their presence is much like that of the trees - silent yet ever present and attentive, thoughtful and generous." (Jackeline Plank, visited September 2012)
"This is a great spot if you like rustic, "roughing it" living (gas, no fridge, donkey for hot water). You are also pretty much left alone, so privacy is big. Its a back-to-nature experience!" (Susanne Tonsing, visited June 2012)
"The forest has a quality of stillness that feeds your very soul. It's such a gift to be able to stay there amidst the bird calls, buck, wild cats and whispering trees. There was even a robin's nest with babies above the bathroom mirror." (Lisa Foale, visited October 2012)
"We'll be back!" (Chris Berens, visited January 2012)