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South Africa: Gansbaai – Platbos Forest Cabins

Platbos Forest offers self catering accommodation in an indigenous forest found on the Baviaanspoort Hills in Gansbaai. This ancient forest has trees that date back over a 1000 years in age. This endangered and rare ecosystem is one of a kind and worth the visit.

It was time to say goodbye to Cape Town and head east along the cape to the small coastal town of Gansbaai, which was about a two-and-a-half-hour drive. Our route followed the coast, passing south of the most famous wine regions of South Africa, centred around the town of Stellenbosch. There are numerous vineyards in this area, several of which are open to visitors. We had been enjoying the South African wines during our stay, but we didn’t have any interest in a vineyard tour, but we thought we’d do a short detour to see what the town of Stellenbosch was like.

The day had started as a beautiful one, but as we travelled east down the Cape, the clouds rolled in, and the sun disappear. By the time we reached the seaside town of Hermanus the sun was gone, and rain was in the air. As we rolled through Hermanus nothing really appealed about the town (I am not sure we gave it a fair shot to be honest), but just as we left the town there was a beach that looked nice, even in the grey weather. Hermanus is famous as a place where whales, particularly southern right whales pass through this time of year – but with a grey-coloured sea and sky with poor visibility our hopes were not high of seeing a whale – and sadly, that proved to be the case. But this did not stop us from taking a walk along the beach, which has some lovely sand dunes. We stopped briefly to watch a couple of young boys skimming across the waves on boards before jumping back in the car and continuing on to Gansbaai.

I had booked us to stay in the Platbos Forest Cabins about 15 minutes away from the town of Gansbaai in the Platbos Forest. Luckily, the combination of GPS and Google Maps got us to the entrance of the forest and from there we followed the signs which led us to a dirt road for a couple of kilometres. Now the road was very bumpy with large rocks, and we were travelling in a tiny hatchback car with low clearance. Even when I was driving slowly it was hard not to bottom the car out. Finally, we reached an open field where we had to pick up our car and collect the wood for our fire and the water heater for the shower. A trail led us through the forest about 100m to where our cabin was. It was in a small opening with a fire pit and a separate bathroom. To call this a cabin was misleading as all the walls were canvas, which you could roll up so the space was completely open to the elements. The weather didn’t really suit that so we just opened one panel. The ‘cabins’ are totally off-grid, so we had solar-powered lights, a gas stove for cooking and wood burning stove for heat. All this said the ‘cabin’ was cosy and with some lovely wooden furniture and was very spacious.


Platbos Forest offers self-catering accommodation in an indigenous forest found on the Baviaanspoort Hills in Gansbaai. This ancient forest has trees that date back over 1000 years in age. This endangered and rare ecosystem is one of a kind and certainly worth the visit.

This exclusive forest camp means that guests can enjoy the forest area all to themselves.


As the accommodation is off the grid there are no electrical appliances. Gas for cooking and crockery for six persons per unit is available. Should you require more, please bring this along. A communal freezer is available at reception and there is an outdoor fireplace.

Bush Buck Suite (sleeps 2)
This is an open plan bedroom with a sitting area, kitchen and an indoor fireplace. All linen, towels and bedding are provided.

Honey Bee Suite (sleeps 2)
The suite offers a double bed with a mosquito net, all linen, towels and bedding. The walls of the bedroom are canvas blinds that can be rolled up as desired. There is a fully equipped kitchen with pots, pans, cutlery and crockery. The hot tub is situated underneath a white stinkwood tree and uses untreated river water for a really authentic experience

Forest Camp (sleeps 4)
The camp has two tented units with two single beds each. All linen and towels are provided. There is a fully equipped kitchen. The Forest Camp provides cutlery and crockery for four guests.

The Olive Cabin (sleeps 3)
The Olive Cabin is the perfect getaway for couples or a small family of three (two adults and one child or one adult and two kids). The Old Olive is totally off-grid but there are solar lights that come on in the evening. The cabin is situated right in the forest.

Online Booking:
Type:Basic accommodation in a beautiful setting
Prices:Around R1500 per night

Best time to visit Gansbaai

South Africa’s winter and summer seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere; June to August is the coldest period while December, January, and February are characterized by hot weather, little wind, and blue skies. Summer is therefore the best time to visit if you plan on hiking or enjoying the beach. However, winter offers the best underwater visibility and is therefore the optimum time for shark diving. Additionally, while sharks can be seen all year round, June to September offers the highest chance of great white sightings. May to December is whale migration season.

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