Tucked out of the way on a long, rough road, De Hoop is a large, coastal nature reserve located in South Africa’s Western Cape province about three hours’ drive from Cape Town. Encompassing an area of 34,000 hectares and with over 70km of wild coastline, this strikingly beautiful reserve is home to a great diversity of land and sea animals, along with some wonderful bird and plant life. Resident wildlife includes the elusive leopard, Cape Vulture, Cape fox, yellow mongoose, mountain zebra and the common ostrich, plus the reserve is well known for some of the best land-based whale watching in the world (May/June to Novem-ber).
There are no fewer than 20 places to stay ranging from budget-friendly, self-catering chalets with their own braai area, to more luxurious, fully-catered lodges. All the accommodation options are managed by the De Hoop Collection which has a welcoming reception area complete with a curio shop selling sundries and souvenirs, a full-service spa and an in-formal restaurant.
There’s a range of outdoor activities to take advantage from leisurely coastline and inland to mountain biking trails, bird watching and guided game drives. Relaxing on the beach, exploring the rock pools and snorkelling in the clear blue waters is a real treat, not to mention the privilege of sitting atop sand dunes to observe the many southern right whales who come to this beautiful place each year to breed (seasonal).
Due to the warm offshore waters, the climate is generally favourable year-round and while De Hoop is fairly isolated and somewhat challenging to reach by road, it’s easy to explore independently once you get there. We find De Hoop works well for more adventurous and independent types who would enjoy the opportunity to walk, explore and relax independently amidst stunning coastal scenery.