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DDe Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape offers some of the best whale watching experiences in the world. It is also renowned for its rare and endangered plant life and beautiful hiking trails through the fields of fynbos that are part of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape province is most famous for its incredible whale watching, but offers much more to do and see for the whole family.
The reserve is situated in the Overberg region about 3 hours’ drive from Cape Town and covers approximately 34 000 hectares, with its entire length classified as a marine protected area.
Beautiful hiking trails of varying lengths, through fynbos and along this Western Cape nature reserve's beaches, offer a fascinating view of its rich animal life.
Its sunny weather, huge sand dunes and tidal rock pools offer fun for the family, but its greatest attraction remains the offshore breeding grounds of the southern right whale. These, however, are not the only whales that make their way past this nature reserve on the Western Cape's southern coast. Rare humpback and Bryde's whales have also been spotted along with dolphins, porpoises and seals.
Visitors are not allowed to fish or remove organisms from the protected area, but they can experience its rich marine life by snorkelling in gorgeous rock pools and viewing some of the 250 species of fish found here. The reserve is also very popular among cyclists for its many trails, and bird watchers for its 260 species of birds, among them rare Cape vultures.
The life on land is just as diverse, with 86 species of mammal on the reserve, including baboon, grey rhebuck, leopard, caracal, Cape zebra, yellow mongoose and rare bontebok. De Hoop Nature Reserve also protects the world's smallest and most threatened plant life – the Cape Floral Kingdom's fynbos.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
The De Hoop Collection
Tel: +27 (0)21 422 4522
Tel: +27 (0)87 087 8250
How to get here
From Cape Town, take the N2 to Caledon. From Caledon, head to Bredasdorp. From Bredasdorp take the R319 to Swellendam and follow the signposts. De Hoop Nature Reserve is approximately 230km from Cape Town.
Best time to visit
From June to November every year is whale watching season, with peak viewing months between August and September.
Drive, hike or cycle.
Length of stay
A stay of 2 nights or more will give ample opportunity to enjoy the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
What to pack
Warm clothes, binoculars and a camera are essential.
Where to stay
There is a camp in De Hoop with self-catering cottages and several campsites. Near the beach is an enormous house called Lekkerwater, which is excellent for groups of 8 or more.
What to eat
The reserve boasts an excellent restaurant.
The annual Hermanus Whale Festival is held in September.