Newlands Forest: A Magical Morning of Exploration, Wonderment and Connected Forest Bathing.

Immerse yourself in nature’s healing embrace with our transformative ‘Forest Bathing’ Experience, in Newlands Forest. Join me for a journey of stillness, reflection, and connection amidst the whispering trees and babbling streams.

Hello nature lovers,

This past Sunday, I was honoured to host our first Newlands ‘Forest Bathing’ Experience. I’ve been walking in Newlands Forest ever since I arrived in Cape Town in 2017. I’ve explored its diverse range of trails, enjoyed listening to its babbling streams, looked upwards in awe as the late afternoon sunlight streamed through the greenery, and found a deep sense of peace, quiet, and stillness in its depths. This has proven incredibly helpful for my overall sense of wellness.

Newlands Forest.
Guests posing in the heart of Newlands Forest. @Capetownmonkey

For a while, I’ve wanted to start offering experiences that are more aligned with this immersive way of being in nature, and I’ve spent the past few weeks and months preparing just such an experience.

On Sunday, I was met by my guest from Germany, at the Newlands Forest parking lot. This is a busy starting point, especially over the weekend, and I quickly drew us off the main path and into a secluded section of the forest where large flat rocks sit effortlessly on the flat, clear, and earthen forest floor; a perfect place to sit and chat.

After asking my guest a few questions, I moved into an explanation of why I created this experience with a focus on how we can utilize nature in often therapeutic and meaningful ways. I’ve been spending time in forests and nature in general for many years, to help ease the stress and anxiety of modern living, and it was exciting for me to be formally sharing this with a guest.

I then led us in a short guided meditation, drawing our focus inwards on our breath, on our bodies sitting gently on the rocks, and on the sounds of the forest animals around us. I invited us both to set a gentle yet firm intention for the morning; to connect with the magic of the forest with presence and awareness. Intention setting is powerful and even taking a short moment before engaging in a particular activity to set one’s intention can colour the whole experience in a meaningful way.

Newlands Forest
The beauty of the forest flora on show. @Capetownmonkey

And then we were off. Within 5 minutes, we had lapsed into silence and remained that way, slowly moving through the forest, for a good 15 minutes. I took us to what is known as ‘Paradise’ or ‘Lady Anne Barnard’s cottage’, a dilapidated stone cottage in a section of Newlands Forest. This, I feel, was a good opportunity to reflect on the concept of impermanence in the world, especially of manmade objects. 300 years ago the cottage served as the Master Woodcutter, his family, and a whole garrison of soldiers’ home. Today, it lies in ruins. Nothing stays the same. Nothing is permanent.

We then climbed gently through the forest, picking out our way carefully amongst the slightly technical path. While a flat and easy-to-walk path is often best for traditional ‘forest bathing,’ I find that a slightly technical section can also serve as a meditation support; one has to concentrate on where your feet land, how your body moves through the forest, where any overhanging trees might present a danger… all of which is good fuel for bringing the mind back into the present moment.

The morning was slightly warmer than anticipated, and so, by the time we reached the upper section of the forest, there was a light perspiration on both of our foreheads; my guest grinned broadly, and I knew that we were both enjoying the time. But, having exerted ourselves, it was time to rest, and we did so in a gorgeous section of pine trees, the entire floor covered in brownish-red pine needles.

Newlands Forest
Connecting with the aliveness and variety of the forest. @Capetownmonkey

After a 15-minute rest, chat, and snack, we were off again and slowly slipped into a very informal guided walking meditation; I drew our attention first into our physical bodies as they moved slowly beneath the expansive forest canopy, then to the external sights around us; the sunlight playing tricks through the tree leaves, the contrasting colours of the forest, the far-off mountain ranges peeping through the tree branches. We then connected with our sense of sound; the wind slowly caressing the upper branches, birds tweeting, children laughing in the far-off distance, and the sound of our trail shoes connecting with the gravelly path beneath us. Last, we ended with the sense of touch; the feel of pine needles between our fingers, the rough caress of tree bark on our palms, the smoothness of a tree leaf. All beautiful, all special.

Our walk ended with a slow, quiet, descent down through the forest and back, full circle, to the car park. A look of quiet, of presence, played in my guest’s eyes and in mine too, as a later photograph revealed.

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I’m so pleased that I had the opportunity to share some of the forest’s secrets with another human, and I hope to provide many more similar experiences in the near future.

With love,


P.S. Join me on our next forest bathing adventure and reconnect with nature’s healing embrace. Book your spot now: (Note: if you’re South African and want to book this experience please email us).

Tell me, fellow nature enthusiasts, what’s your most cherished memory from time spent in the forest? How do you find peace and connection in nature’s embrace?”

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