De Hoop - One of the Most Beautiful Reserves on Earth

De Hoop - One of the Most Beautiful Reserves on Earth

South Africa
South Africa

 

This article will be fully updated with new pictures from my recent visit until April 7. So check out again!

 

When Is the Best Time

De Hoop is one of my most favourite parks in the world. Thanks to the poor road condition and the long drive from Swellendam De Hoop is still a hidden gem. One of the rare destinations which are worth to visit throughout the year. From October until March it is great to swim in tide pools at low tide. Summer is also the time with little rainfall. The chance of increasing precipitation starts in May and lasts until September with its peak in August. It has a Mediterranean climate with hot summer, mild winter, and most rain occurs during wintertime.

From June to November Southern Right Whales visit the shore, and it is one of the most important nurseries from July to October.

Between September to March, you may spot breeding pairs of Oystercatchers. Summer is perfect for birding at the De Hoop Vlei. 

Gates are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. in summer and from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. in winter.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Swellendam
South Africa
South Africa

De Hoop Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site and still a hidden gem. For us, it's one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's an almost 60 km drive from Bredasdorp and Swellendam part of it is gravel to the entrance of this outstanding reserve. The journey leads along farmland where you may spot the blue crane in a high number. You can either stay in one of the towns or even better stay inside of the park for several days. You have to leave the reserve in the evening if you don't have accommodation booked. Gates open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. in summer and winter at 6 p.m. Nowadays there is a range of accommodations and even a very nice restaurant. When we visited the reserve for the first time in 2005 only basic self-catering cottages and camping existed.

It's incredible to walk for hours along the whale trail, and you'll discover different small beaches or even southern right whales depending on the season. The huge dune chain at Koppie Alleen is impressive as the considerable amount of elands.

This majestic southern right whales got their name "right whale" because they are slow-moving and these whales were the right ones for hunting. They can grow up to 17 meters and weigh 30-60 tons. They occur close to the shore. Therefore, you may have a high chance to spot southern right whales along the whale trail in De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve, from July to October even with calves. If you plan to hike this exceptional trail; booking far in advance is essential. The famous whale trail is 55 km long and last five days. The massive dunes at Koppie Allen are good as well to observe the whales. In my opinion, September and October are the best months to get to most out of one vacation. It has a Mediterranean climate with hot summer, mild winter and most rain occurs in the wintertime.

Birding is outstanding with lots of oystercatcher breeding pairs and even the rare Cape vulture. There were only around 30 cape vulture in the reserve. With lots of effort, it became a conservation success now with numbers of about 150 birds. At the De Hoop Vlei which is a Ramsar wetland are many species of water birds.

We haven't seen so many elands anywhere else than here, and even the mountain zebras and bonteboks are common. There are several hiking trails including the famous whale trail which last 5 days now.

 

More information

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…