If Green is the new Black – Platbos is the new Health Retreat
How often do we read about rejuvenating, reenergising, and restoring our body and mind in stunning looking spas and health retreats? Glossy brochures of wellness centres with pictures of beautiful people wrapped in white, fluffy bathrobes walking through tranquil facilities, offering an array of holistic and sometimes even eccentric treatments that come with big promises and hefty price tickets.
The question is do we need fancy retreats to relax and rejuvenate? Can nature provide us with the same health benefits, if not better?
The potential health benefits of nature is well-known, especially in terms of relieving stress levels and therefore improving a whole range of physiological symptoms, such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, but also reducing depression and alleviating ADHD.
So maybe all we need is to spend quality time in a beautiful natural environment on a more regular basis, embracing its peace and tranquillity. Places that provide us with the healing power of breaking our daily routines. Off-grid areas that empower us to leave mobile phones and gadgets at home, as they are of no use in nature. This and more is what Platbos offers by the bucket load.
Platbos is an ancient indigenous forest, close to Gansbaai in the Overberg. Its unique tree species composition is dominated by White stinkwood, Hard and White pear, Milkwood and Pock Ironwood, a type of forest not found anywhere else in Southern Africa. Over time, this rare and endangered ecosystem survived fire and agricultural development, two factors that changed most of the surrounding areas into a mix of Fynbos, alien vegetation, and farmland.
Under its canopy of light green leaves and beard mosses, you find a fairylike and peaceful environment home to many animals and birds, including Aardvark, African wild cat, Bushbuck, Caracal, Duiker, Honey badger, Cape leopard, and Porcupine. Some of its trees are more than 1,000 years old and are small ecosystems in their own right. Their gnarled and intertwined branches and trunks are pieces of art shaped by time and Mother Nature.
Platbos was purchased by Francois and Melissa Krige in 2005. Their love for this exceptional piece of forest and their passion to protect it, required them to be resourceful. They built their off-grid home in Platbos to be close at hand. Since, they have worked tirelessly to clear aliens, develop a tree nursery, purchase more land for both reforestation and necessary fire breaks, create forest trails for people to enjoy and explore, and develop interesting accommodation.
The four totally off-grid self-catering units are built under the forest canopy and offer overnight guests an unpretentious forest experience in glamping style. Waking up by the first daylight, the sound of the birds, and raindrops falling off the trees on the cabin roof is the best alarm clock and an early morning walk through the forest is the most invigorating and reenergising exercise to set you up for the day. Spending quality time in Platbos is definitely as good, if not better, than checking into a luxury spa.
I know the words unique, gem, and magical are somewhat cliché and often even misused. However, these words could not describe Platbos better. I have definitely fallen in love with this piece of forest heaven.