Being a grown-up doesn’t mean you’re too old to love the idea of living in a tree house. Knysna’s Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve offers the ultimate tree-house fantasy. Built overlooking the indigenous forest and an estuarine wetland, these elevated luxury tree-house suites offer the perfect weekend playground.
There are two types of tree suites available: the Classical Tree Suites and the Moroccan Tree Suites.
We got to stay in the North African version with its bold shades of purple, yellow and ochre complemented by Moroccan lamps, mosaic basins and gloriously wild views of the forest.
Here everything is designed around touchy-feely comfort, Swazi cotton sheets, coir carpets, silk pillows and an electric blanket for those chilly Knysna evenings. The bathroom is a major highlight. Both the shower and bath have full-length windows that let the forest “inside”.
Meandering wooden boardwalks take you all over the place, to the open-air boma for meals, to the spa for treatments and to the sandy paths that lead you on forest walks or to picnic spots. Great pains have been taken to ensure environmental impact is minimal.
According to owner Kit Stewart McVitty, the very idea of Phantom Forest was sheer lunacy. She says: “If anybody said to me a few years back, ‘You are going to build tree houses in an area you can’t get anything to’, I would have told them they were mad.”
But Stewart McVitty is not one to shy away from a challenge and the effort was worth it. Knysna’s Phantom Forest Eco-Reserve is now one of the prime examples of environmentally friendly tourism and a great place to hang out for the weekend.
There is a Winter Warmer special on until September: Classic Tree Suites, R1 050 per person sharing; Moroccan Tree Suites at R1 450 per person sharing. Go to www.phantomforest.com, e-mail [email protected] or Tel: (044) 386 0046. Denise Slabbert stayed at the Knysna Phantom Forest on a complimentary basis