The Forest Hall Estate, built in 1864, was one of the first homes built in the Crags and Plettenberg Bay area of the Garden Route.
It was declared an Historical Monument by the South African Heritage authority in 1992, and has been splendidly restored to its original glory.
The original nineteenth century yellow-wood and stink-wood floors, stairs and doors of the home have been beautifully restored to show off the features that made these woods so prized for interiors and flooring.This and many other original aspects of the home, including the very close proximity of the same forest from which the wood was sourced, impart not only a sense of time and history, but lend the house a uniquely natural and authentic feel. The atmosphere of a colonial gentleman’s family home still pervades, and with it the peace and tranquility of a time gone by and a slower, gentler experience of a less explored Africa.
“The position is romantic, the woods, with the mountains beyond them,
all combining to compose a scene of liberty and beauty” (J. Aubertin,
“The size of it alone is impressive. In the lofty entrance hall with
its seven meters high ceiling, a striking feature is the gallery edged
by a stinkwood balustrade which runs the length of the hall
facing the front door. Everything is in a larger than normal scale.
The ceilings in the other rooms are all at least four meters high and
the fireplaces are huge. (Patricia Storrar, Portrait of Plettenberg Bay, 1978)
The Manor House is situated within a large area of smooth green lawn, but it is surrounded by indigenous forest. From each of the windows guests are treated to uninterrupted and breath-taking views – in one direction over this forest to the foothills above the Kurland Polo fields, and the Outeniqua mountain range; in the other over the Tsitsikamma to the Indian Ocean.
The indigenous forest that covers much of the Estate is home to vervet monkeys and baboons; bush-buck and wild pigs can often be seen at dawn on the border between the forest and the lawns.