De Hoop Nature Reserve: Whale Watching And So Much More

Koppie Alleen
Koppie Alleen

Spending a day at De Hoop Nature Reserve is a favourite in our family as it is a short 45-minute drive from Swellendam.  This world heritage site is 34 000 hectares large and as the Marloth Nature Reserve, it is looked after by Cape Nature. It is a playground for nature lovers, hikers, cyclists, bird and whale watchers.

Whale Watching And Your Bucket List

So you thought Hermanus was the only whale destination in South Africa?  Not even close!

The Southern Right Whales make their extraordinary journey between July and November every year.  This is a spectacular sight to witness and should be on your bucket list! De Hoop Nature Reserve is a breeding ground for the southern right whale. Approximately 120 whales return to these blue waters every year to mate and calve. The high dunes at Koppie Alleen offer an excellent vantage point for whale watching in a natural setting.

Wildlife At De Hoop Nature Reserve
Wildlife At De Hoop Nature Reserve

Fauna And Flora

The wildlife is easy to spot, which makes the driving through the reserve relaxing.  It is home to 86 mammal species. If you are very, very lucky you might spot the caracal or even a leopard.  Easier to spot is baboons, bontebok, cape mountain zebra, eland, grey rhebok and yellow mongoose.

The reserve has the largest conserved area of lowland fynbos in the Western Cape. Of the 9 000 plant species found in the Cape floral region, the reserve and its surrounds have an estimated 1 500 species.

Bird Watching

  • De Hoop Nature Reserve is the only remaining Western Cape breeding colony of the rare Cape Vulture.
  • There are more or less 260 bird species in the reserve.

My Trip Tips:

  • Pack sunscreen and swimwear and spend some time on the beautiful beaches in summer.
  • It is easy to spend an entire day here, but if you have extra time combine is with a trip to Malgas.
  • De Hoop can also be visited en route to the southernmost tip of the African continent:  Cape Agulhas
  • Have breakfast or lunch at their restaurant, The Fig Tree.
  • Fancy some pampering, have a look at their spa treatments available.
  • The road leading to De Hoop is a gravel road, but in my experience, the road can easily be travelled on with any car.
  • For more information about the small conservation fee payable to enter, opening and closing times click here to go to De Hoop's website.

I would love to hear from you! Let me know about your trip to De Hoop Nature Reserve in the comments.

Pool Overlooking The Breederiver
Pool Overlooking The Breederiver

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