Platbos indigenous forest | Africa´s Southernmost forest | Baviaanspoort Hills, Grootbos Road between Gansbaai and Hermanus

About us


Platbos Conservation Trust:
Nonprofit Organization Registration Number: 086-576-NPO

Platbos Youtube video

Krige familyWe became the owners of Platbos Forest at the start of 2005. Working and living beneath the canopy of this magical forest is the realization of a mutually held dream to live gently upon the Earth´s surface. Our children, Ayanda and Gustav, attend the local Afrikaans school in Gansbaai. At home, they learn first hand about the ecology of the forest. They may be ignorant about the latest TV programmes, but they can identify most of the tree species of the forest and many of the birds and animals that live here!

Our decision to live "off the grid" and power our home from solar and other renewable energy sources is a reflection of our aspiration to live, as far as is possible, harmonious and sustainable lives on the planet. Likewise, the activities and projects that have we initiated at Platbos - from our educational forest walks, to our tree nursery and Trees for Tomorrow reforestation project - are a commitment to work in harmony with the forces of nature. Our dedicated and motivated staff are very much part of the process and we could not realize our dream of conserving and extending the range of the forest without their valued input.

We invite you to visit the forest and experience it for yourselves; and for individuals and corporations to participate in our reforestation project and by so doing, help us to safeguard the long-term future and biodiversity of this unique forest.

Read more about the family´s fortuitous discovery of the forest and the challenges they faced relocating from the city to the countryside in Melissa´s "From the Forest" essays.

Francois Krige:

Francois KrigeAfter completing high school, I left South Africa to travel through Africa. Whilst in Central Africa, I met and traveled with a German forester through the rainforests of Congo. I later met up with him again in Germany. It was here that I first started working with trees in the forests of Germany. I was 19 years old.

After 3 years, I went to London and worked for a tree surgery company where I learnt the art of urban arboriculture: climbing and pruning city trees and how to fell both large and small trees. I returned to South Africa in 1991 and started working on Oak trees for farmers of the Boland and Bokkeveld and developed a passion for climbing and preserving old oak trees. In 1995 I returned to my home town, Cape Town, and built up a tree surgery and tree felling business in the city.

Sometime around the year 2000, I became concerned about the ecological implications of burning fossil fuels in a heavily mechanized business in order to preserve a few trees and kill a great many. It was only in 2004 that Platbos Forest presented itself as the opportunity to beat my swords into plough shears. Here I utilize my knowledge and experience in an ecological way in an environment that daily confronts me with a deep sense of privilege. To manage, preserve and expand this forest is not the culmination of 20 years of hard work so much as the start of the greatest, and I believe, most rewarding challenge of my life.

Melissa Krige (nee Saayman)

Melissa KrigeMy earliest memories are of the natural world. As a child, I was enchanted by flowers, their colour, form and scent and felt a kinship to animals great and small. This love has been a touchstone throughout my life, and it is what guided me to change my course of tertiary studies from psychology to horticulture. I sensed then already an urgency for humanity to make a shift in the way it perceived and interacted with nature.

My training in horticulture provided me with a wealth of practical skills for working with plants. Fascinated by the healing power of plants and vibrational medicine, I went on to study the essential oils and aromatherapy, flower remedies and colour therapy. These healing modalities work energetically and holistically on all levels of being: body, mind and soul. Living as we do in an old growth indigenous forest that occurs within the fynbos biome - renowned for its aromatic herbs - I am surrounded by a veritable medicine chest of healing plants and so my passion for learning continues.

Since living in the forest, I am increasingly aware of the intelligence of nature. Old, natural forests have particularly strong energy fields and so it is not surprising that this would be so. Plants and trees, indeed all of nature, have an intrinsic intelligence that is responsive to our thoughts and actions; particularly if these are positive and loving. There is much in the way of anecdotal evidence to illustrate this. One of my favourites is the story of a gardener in Messina, the town of my birth, who grew a 10 foot Baobab in just 2 years - this is more than three times faster than usual. Ask to explain its rapid growth, the 80 year old Mr Scholtz replied that he prayed for it.

My own discovery of the tree energies of Platbos has brought a deeper sense of purpose and meaning to my life here, and through my Tree Spirit Retreats, I share my simple techniques for connecting with the tree energies. The Findhorn Gardens in Scotland are a showcase of what can be achieved when we co-operate with the intelligences (or devas as they are also called) of Nature. If ever there was a time to work in partnership with the Earth energies, it is now.

Guided by knowledge, love and respect for the ways of Nature, and the will for it to be so, I believe that we can restore our beloved Earth back to a state of balance, harmony and abundance. Whether it´s growing a thriving vegetable garden on the windswept sands of Khayelitsha, rehabilitating the Brazilian rainforests, planting trees in your local park or restoring the forest edge at Platbos, each and every contribution is of importance and an opportunity to co-create with Nature.

A Blessing for Platbos Forest from a good friend of the Forest

Blessed are thee who wander in this realm - lighted footprints showing the Way - blessed Light streaming forth from the Heavens, a sign for all to See. Seeking the treasure Within, Love pours forth in Great Abundance bringing peace, nurturance and effervescent Joy.

22nd September 2008

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Francois and Melissa with their children Gustav and Ayanda Groot vadersbosch Groot vadersbosch Francois Forest flower Forest flower Forest flower Honey bee on sour fig
Platbos Conservation Trust