Revealing the enchantment of Tsitsikamma’s forests at first light


The first time Lize-Mari Delport encountered the Tsitsikamma forests felt like pure magic. Though she’d visited the surrounding areas her whole life, she’d never experienced anything quite like being fully immersed in the dense ferns and trees. “To walk among the fireflies at dusk or wake up at first light with the calls of the monkeys is just amazing,” Delport says. This indigenous forest has a unique feel to it. To understand it, you have to venture deep within.

Delport’s starting point is a forest spa at the end of an unassuming gravel road. Trogon House is an isolated site in the Western Cape, completely surrounded by a private forest reserve. Built among the treetops, the structures are made with natural materials and big glass windows to bring in the forest views. It’s a conscious design which allows guests of the spa venue to appreciate, rather than harm the natural surroundings. Boarded walkways take you through the treetops, lending a sense of myth and mystery. “In this serene space, I can invite the forest inside and connect with nature,” Delport says. It’s a beautiful reminder of our impact on the environment, and its influence on our wellbeing.

For the last three years, Delport has been showing off this relatively unknown attraction of the Garden Route as the manager of the venue. “It allows me to share our beautiful country with the world,” she says. Just 15 minutes away, the picturesque beaches of Plettenberg Bay offer a contrasting, yet equally captivating view. While South Africa is filled with spectacular sights, the forests of Tsitsikamma remain precious to Delport. Nearby, sanctuaries offer opportunities to get even closer to bird and animal life. “I love living in this part of South Africa,” Delport says. “The possibilities of nature activities is endless.” The wealth of natural beauty that inhabits this place is an experience to treasure.