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 Camp

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. It also has a double and three-quarter bed if needed. The Tipi is best for summer as it's not entirely waterproof. 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 unimposing Honey Bee Camp. Honey Bee has a single permanent tent and is well suited to couples looking for a spot of privacy. Shaded by a large tree the camp 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 Camp)
Meals availableno
Pet-friendlyby request
Activitiesbirdwatching, hiking, mountain biking, quad biking, stargazing, walking, whale watching, wine routes

Guest Comments

"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)