If you desire to escape from the city to unwind, reconnect with nature, re-unite with your family and forget all about the stresses of life – visit the De Hoop Nature Reserve, a three-hour drive from Cape Town on the world renowned Garden and Whale Route, near the southern tip of Africa.
De Hoop Nature Reserve with its Marine Protected Area is one of CapeNature’s flagship nature reserves, approximately 36 000ha in size and extends 5km out to sea, and is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa, providing a sanctuary for a vast and fascinating array of marine life. The reserve is also the largest conserved area of lowland fynbos in the Western Cape and its diverse flora includes 1500 species, many of them endemic to De Hoop’s specific climate and soil. In total De Hoop Nature Reserve boasts 86 mammal species, more than 260 bird species and over 250 species of fish in its marine reserve.
Whale watching: De Hoop Nature Reserve is probably most commonly known for its enormous Southern Right Whale migratory calving population. Females and their calves swim in the clear waters, while males put on spectacular displays. During the whale watching season, particularly from August through October these endangered mammals ensure that the De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of the world’s best land based whale-watching areas.
Wildlife: The De Hoop Nature Reserve is a safe, outdoor destination with the ultimate wildlife experience for the whole family where all ages can relish the freedom to explore the reserve. Not only is there plenty to do, but guests are spoilt at a truly “family friendly” retreat to spend quality time with their loved ones.
Outdoor: Few other reserves offer as complete an outdoor experience as De Hoop with the endless white beaches, towering sand dunes, the vlei, intertidal rock pools and diverse fauna and flora with the Potberg Mountains as a backdrop.
Bird watching – Birders can observe and enjoy birdlife, game, otter and even porcupine sightings on the shores of the De Hoop Nature Reserve wetland/Vlei by taking an Eco Boat Cruise, while the adventurous can embark on a journey to the cliffs of Potberg Mountain to view the endangered Cape Vultures – the Western Cape’s last surviving colony of these amazing birds.
Activities are diverse and guests can choose a guided Bird walk experience around the vlei area with a qualified field guide focused on the identification of flowering fynbos and the behaviour of the birdlife found in De Hoop Nature Reserve. Others can find the Interpretive Marine Walk exploring coastal rock pools and sandy beaches more interesting. Hikers and cyclists can have close-up encounters with bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, eland, baboons and ostrich while running or mountain biking through the rich fynbos plains or along the deserted coastline.
Cycling: Get the chance to cycle with a qualified field guide who will share his knowledge of less obvious natural and historical aspects of De Hoop Nature Reserve. There are 4 cycling trails to choose from: 12km, 13km, 28km and 30 km and trails can be linked to make your own route around the terrain.
Other: Lazing on the beach and snorkelling in the many turquoise rock pools is simply another way to pass a rewarding day. Guests can also experience the magnificent stars and constellations that the clear De Hoop night sky has to offer at night and learn about the various star signs and other interesting facts about the sky.
De Hoop Nature Reserve offers the following activities that can be booked at reception: Vulture Experience, Eco Boat Cruise, Guided Bird Walk, Interpretive Marine Walk, Stargazing and Star Identification, and Guided Mountain Bike Trails.
Rich Cultural Heritage
De Hoop Nature Reserve has a rich cultural history dating back to the Stone-Age. Hunter-gatherers lived off the veld and coastal resources in the area thousands of years ago. The ‘middens’ of the nomadic Khoi tribes can still be found all along the De Hoop coast.
The H-shaped homestead of the earliest registered owner, Pieter Lourens Cloete, still stands and forms part of the Opstal accommodation establishment. The farm changed hands many times and in 1956 the area was proclaimed as a Nature Reserve. In 1979 the Homestead was declared a national monument and the restoration of the buildings, then in a state of disrepair, began. The Manor was further furnished by CapeNature and the wife of one of the current private investors Nini Stephens from the nineteenth century.
De Hoop Collection Accommodation
With so many accommodation options available for families of 2, 4, 6 and 8, it’s easy to choose the perfect option according to your needs and requirements.
Guests can choose between affordable campsite rondawels, self-catering chalets, to more luxury self-catering cottages, suites, and the Opstal and Melkkamer Houses.
Enjoy a culinary experience in the cosy Fig Tree Restaurant which is open daily and offers a la carte menus for breakfast and lunch and set dinner menus, as well as snacks, teas, coffees and cakes.
Picnic baskets can be pre-ordered and enjoyed on the beach, under a fig tree, or next to the reserve’s 19km vlei.
Relax and rejuvenate at the Spa @ De Hoop and inhale the healing powers of nature with ingredients inspired from Africa and South Africa – a true experience to the senses.
De Hoop Collection provides a beautiful backdrop for events including weddings, family reunions and other special events. De Hoop Collection offers a unique wedding venue under the wild Fig Trees and will arrange everything for your special wedding day with a number of options to choose from to create a unique and unforgettable weekend wedding celebration with family and friends.
During the winter season De Hoop Collection will treat guests to yoga retreat weekends; Wine, Whales and Music; Winetasting and team building weekends.
View the De Hoop Vlei MTB that will hosted at De Hoop Nature Reserve from 22-24 September 2018!
For more information on the De Hoop Vlei Experience please visit www.dehoopvleimtb.co.za
Contact Race Director, Anneke Viljoen on 084 228 0414 or via email at [email protected]