Have you ever been somewhere so unique to you that it becomes a permanent part of your mind — a thought that reoccurs on a regular basis? For me, it is De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape of South Africa. I’ve visited this nature reserve twice in the past year and thought of sharing with you why De Hoop Nature Reserve should be on your bucket list.
The De Hoop Collection offers a wide range of accommodation. From affordable self-catering chalets (ideal for solo or romantic getaways) to more luxurious self-catering cottages which we opted for this time around. These 3-bedroomed houses are set in amongst the Milkwood trees near the opstal area. They have spacious bedrooms, separate sitting room and dining room with a fully equipped kitchen. Bathrooms are equipped with both showers and a bath, with a separate toilet.
THE DUNE FIELDS & MARINE LIFE:
De Hoop lies at the southernmost tip of Africa, where mountains meet the sea and create a fusion between freshwater and marine habitats that support a staggering array of terrestrial and aquatic life. De Hoop Nature Reserve is also one of the best land-based whale watching areas in Africa.
Personally, one of my favorite parts of De Hoop has to be the dune fields that lies adjacent to the coastline within the De Hoop Nature Reserve and are amongst the most significant intact dune fields within South Africa. It is the perfect setting for beautiful photographs or even doing midmorning yoga.
One of the best ways to get to know a new place is to get off the beaten path. De Hoop provides ample opportunity for those of us who like to do a little exploring. From hiking through the 36 000 hectares reserve or doing a marine walk to viewing endangered Cape Vultures up-close-and-personal or watching the sunset during a guided eco boat trip.
South African cooking has so many different influences: African, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian – no wonder it’s been called the ‘rainbow cuisine.’ Many of these influences can be tasted at De Hoop’s Fig Tree Restaurant.
The building that dates from the 1800’s was built by farmer Cloete as his sheep shearing shed and renovated by De Hoop Collection to a warm, cozy restaurant.
The Fig Tree Restaurant offers a la carte menus for breakfast and lunch and set dinner menus. Delicious picnic baskets can be pre-ordered from reception and enjoyed on the beach, under a fig tree, or next to the reserve’s 19km vlei.
Few other reserves offer as complete an outdoor experience as De Hoop – sea, sand dunes, the vlei, a floral sensation of rare fynbos plants, diverse antelope, and the Potberg Mountains.
I’d love to hear from those of you who have been to De Hoop Nature Reserve. Let me know if you’ve visited in the comments below and if have any further recommendations of things to do/ see whilst there!