Recently we got the opportunity to stay at The De Hoop Collection in the De Hoop Nature Reserve close to Cape Agulhas and Arniston.
The De Hoop Collection is a member of Cape Country Routes and the first private/public partnership in the South African hospitality industry, which opened in the De Hoop Nature Reserve in 2007. The Reserve is situated in the Overberg region, a short three hour drive from Cape Town along the world renowned Garden and Whale routes. It is the perfect holiday destination for families, couples, groups, honeymooners and wedding parties. The ideal stop-over en route from the Cape Winelands to The Garden Route.
De Hoop Collection offers a wide range of accommodation designed to suit all budgets however we stayed in the Cloete Suite 1, which is so gorgeous and romantic, particularly in winter since amenities include a free standing bath, fire place and a 4 poster king bed, making it the ideal stay for couples looking for a peaceful getaway.
Overlooking the beautiful vlei with a plethora of spectacular bird life is the staple of De Hoop’s dining scene, The Fig Tree Restaurant, where we enjoyed our delectable dinners, lunch and breakfasts. We were lucky enough to watch bontebok, eland and ostrich grazing on our doorstep most of the weekend.
One of the various activities offered is to experience the pristine fynbos and wildlife on the reserve from an open safari vehicle. A qualified field guide will interpret rare and endangered species including Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra. The drive will encompass some of the beautiful scenic areas of the wetland and there will be opportunity for viewing and identifying some of the Birdlife occurring in the reserve and sipping on a sundowner.
De Hoop Reserve in South Africa is one of the world’s best land based whale-watching areas. Every year, a large population of the world’s Southern Right Whales come to these shores to breed. It is said that they come so close to the shore that visitors can relax on the unspoilt sand dunes, watching in awe as these beautiful creatures calve, blow, breach and belly-flop. Season runs from end of May to November. In season 500-600 whales call De Hoop home. Though we weren’t lucky enough to see whales during our stay – we did see a large amount of dolphins while we relaxed on the sand with no one in sight, watching the pod go by. What a sight!
After returning from the beach, we spent a magical two hours on an afternoon eco ‘booze cruise’ on the vlei where we witnessed some rare birds such as fish eagles and rare buck species, two “Klipspringer’s” jumping up the side of the hills. De Hoop is paradise for bird enthusiasts with its more than 260 species of birds, including the endangered Cape Vultures. As a colony of almost 200 vultures roost and nest in the Potberg Mountains exciting Vulture hikes and viewing opportunities are offered; other activities include interpretive marine walks, hiking and mountain biking trails, tennis or boules.
On Sunday morning we took a magical hike before breakfast and watched the sunrise over the vlei. We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful scenery and sounds of rare birds and pristine, calm waters rippling. De Hoop is truly a nature lover’s paradise with unparalleled peace and tranquillity and may well be one of the Cape’s last unspoiled hidden gems.