Forest Odyssey

Meeting the Teacher Trees of Platbos

These are experiential courses which offer participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves within the healing energy of Platbos – an ancient indigenous forest and home of the African Tree Essences. The courses are suited for therapists who would like to incorporate the African Tree Essences into their chosen healing modality as well as individuals who feel drawn to forests and trees and who would like to deepen their connection to Nature.

~ The Chakra Tree Essence Odyssey ~


~ The Harmonic Tree Essence Odyssey ~

Fourteen different tree types make-up Platbos. Like branches spiraling up the Tree of Life, the African Tree Essences offer a framework of supportive energy to illuminate life’s pathways.

While each Platbos tree species holds its own set of qualities, they also share correspondences with the chakra system. Our Forest Odyssey courses each cover 7 of the 14 tree essences. The focus of these courses is to experience the healing energy of the trees first hand and so foster a deeper, more personal relationship with each of the Platbos Tree Essences.

The Chakra Tree Essence Odyssey

Over the course of this 2-day workshop, you will meet with and experience the energy of 7 of the 14 “Teacher Trees”:

This course encapsulates Milkwood (Root), Rock Alder (Sacral), Wild Peach (Solar Plexus), Spike Thorn (Heart), Wild Olive (Throat), Fine / Pock Ironwood (3rd Eye) and the White Stinkwood (Crown).

The Harmonic Tree Essence Odyssey

Our focus for this 2-day course are the 7 trees of Platbos which Melissa calls the “Harmonic Trees”:

White Pear (Tree of Joy), Black Bark (Tree of Self Knowledge), Hard Pear (Tree of Forgiveness), Sea Guarrie (Tree of Inspiration), Saffron Wood (Tree of Comfort), Cherry Wood (Tree of Serenity) and the Myrsine Mystery (Tree of Grace)

  • Both Odysseys are offered once per year for groups (maximum of 7 participants) and by prior arrangement for individuals.

  • It is not a requirement for completing the Chakra Tree Essence Odyssey before participating in the Harmonic Tree Essence Odyssey.
  • The courses are each held over 2 full days at Platbos.

  • Facilitator: Melissa Saayman, producer of the African Tree Essences and co-custodian of Platbos.

  • The courses are non-residential. Subject to availability, participants may book accommodation independently at Platbos. Alternatively, there is a wide choice of other options close by to Platbos.

  • Medium physical fitness is required to attend the course: The forest terrain is gentle but we will walk much of the 50-hectare Reserve visiting the Trees.

  • As time is limited, participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the workings of vibrational / flower essences ahead of time.

  • Please email for the next scheduled course and applicable fees.

Individual Retreats

Melissa offers personalized retreats at Platbos Forest for individuals or couples who would like to discover and then attune to their own special Teacher Tree. These Forest Retreats can be tailored to a day visit, or to two or more days in our self-catered accommodation. You will spend 4 hours on the first day with Melissa – walking the forest together, finding your special tree and receiving its messages through guided meditation practice.

  • The fee for the first 4 consecutive hours with Melissa is R1550.00 per person: This includes admission to Platbos and one Tree Essence but excludes accommodation which must be booked and paid for separately.
  • Any additional appointments with Melissa are R550.00 per person per hour.
  • These Individual Retreats need to be planned and booked well in advance.

The forest is a deeply healing space and it is recommended that many hours are spent in communion and in silence with the trees over the course of the Forest Retreat. Please read more in Melissa’s article Shinrin Yoku ~ Forest Bathing.

Forest Odyssey Courses

Feedback from previous Courses held at Platbos

“Oh wow, my time with you and your magical forest has just been the most wonderful experience and time for me, I shall remember it forever! I learnt so, so much, from the beautiful trees, the forest, from our fellow participants (now friends) on the course and of course from you. Your course is incredibly well presented and so beautifully delivered. Your energy is so calm, so giving and so kindly tranquil. You carry the essence of every single tree in the forest within you and it was a privilege to be with you in your home.” ~ Elaine Lensley, The Crystal Rainforest, Grahamstown

“I can highly recommend this course, it is a deeply profound and Magical experience and Melissa is a wonderful facilitator and teacher.” ~ Loraine O Hagan, African Tree Essences & Life Alignment Practitioner

“The course was absolutely awesome; it was a special honour and privilege to meet you and be with the forest and the incredible trees. I have never felt quite such a high spiritual vibration in nature.” ~ Melanie Lewis

“I am really enjoying working with the African Tree Essences; I find that my healing sessions are shorter and have taken on a new feel since using the Tree Essences which feel like a wonderfully supportive, transformational portal for my work.” ~ Debbie Zacharias, BodyTalk Practitioner

“The wisdom that these trees shared with me will continue to unfold. The vast receptacle of knowledge that they contain individually, will continue to filter through. The collective forest intelligence seeps into Spirit, and will continue to nourish long after the physical self has left”. ~ Sally Britton

“I felt so excited that I was able, each time, to tune in to the tree and receive its messages and healing.” ~ Anna Aronis, Ethnopsychology Practitioner

“Thank you for being the ambassador of Platbos Forest and for offering to the world the trees’ special messages, gifts, knowledge, unconditional love, healing and most importantly their wisdom.” ~ John Souglides, Ph.D.