Earlier this year it was revealed that South Africa was voted the fifth most ‘Instagrammable’ spot in the world. The news was such a hit with locals that the same travel site, Big 7 Travel, did a follow-up article with the most ‘Instagrammable’ spots in South Africa – revealing fifty unique regions and landscapes that catapulted our country so high up the global list.
Featured at number fourteen on ‘Big 7 Travel’s’ listicle was a place I’ve heard so much about – De Hoop Nature Reserve. Situated out in the Overberg region and close to Cape Agulhas, the most southern point of Africa, De Hoop offers the complete outdoor experience; ocean, wildlife, mountains, moving sand dunes and more. The entire reserve spans over 340 square kilometres and is also a popular hotspot for land-based whale watching.
With crashing waves, fynbos kaleidoscopes and the Potberg mountains on my mind, I felt it was time for a midweek getaway and decided to book a two-night Otter suite experience at De Hoop Collection…
Arriving at De Hoop and driving through the reserve is an experience on its own – bursts of luminous fynbos carpet the surface area and towering dunes peak on the horizon, while close-up encounters with bontebok, rare Cape mountain zebras, eland and baboons all encapsulated our very first impression of De Hoop.
At the reception, we and several other guests from all over the world were treated to a refreshing welcome drink and handed our map and key to our suite which was situated right on the edge of the breathtaking vlei. After settling in we decided to join the eco-boat cruise – a two-hour sundown excursion where we met nature guide William and bird enthusiast Sandy who had been coming to the resort on vacation for almost a decade. We discussed nature, discovered bird species we’d never seen before and learned of the magnificent history of the vlei over local wine and snacks.
Activities are diverse and plentiful at De Hoop so after chatting to William we decided to book a vulture viewing experience and mountain bike exploration for the following day. We headed back to our suite, wondering if each bird that passed us by could be a rarity…
The Otter suites are private and secluded, perfect for someone who enjoys their privacy like me, but De Hoop collection itself offers a wide variety of accommodation, from affordable self-catering chalets and more luxurious self-catering cottages to upmarket fully catered lodges. Our suite featured a king size bed, elegantly draped with mosquito nets, a fully stocked mini bar, coffee, a presser and snacks. The bathroom was of absolute quality, decked out with Charlotte Rhys room spray, body wash, shampoo and bath crystals plus an oversized ball and claw bathtub that I found myself soaking in as soon as we got back.
On both evenings we ate at dinner the resort’s famous Fig Tree restaurant which has recently been reinvented and relocated on-site to overlook the vlei. The new spot is spacious and effervescent – a tranquil setting in which to enjoy a variety of birdlife and local culinary creations. Before being seated at our table, we were given a private tour of De Hoop’s brand new wine cellar. Built in a silo behind the restaurant is a beautifully designed space within ‘the-round’ where the finest wines of the area are showcased on a rack that holds over 3 000 unique and acclaimed bottles. We ordered a bottle of the Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc Semillon ’16 from their antique selection and settled down at our table for dinner – a three-course set menu with two options for each course and an option for vegans too.
The Fig Tree restaurant is run by Head Chef Marcia Tyobeka who has 15 years experience in the kitchen. Her passion and knowledge of local produce and ingredients are really savoured in every bite of her culinary delights. Some of her divine creations during our stay included entrees like; springbok carpaccio with pickled fig, cream of cauliflower soup, deep-fried camembert cheese with sesame seeds and the salmon and spinach roulade. For mains, we were spoiled for choice with either; chicken Kiev, rack of lamb, king prawns or melanezane. Breakfast at The Fig Tree restaurant is just as grand with a colourful continental spread including everything from the exotic fruit to a variety of cured meats, cheeses and fresh croissants. Plus there’s the option to order a full English Breakfast.
Our second day at De Hoop started off with an early hike out in the Potberg mountains for one of the collections latest activities on offer – Vulture viewing. The experience is enthralling and educational – we learned that the current population in the region stand at approximately 300 vultures who are all living and thriving in their natural habitat. Vultures are also currently endangered and from what we learned, highly misunderstood too. Our challenging hike to the lookout deck was rewarded with breathtaking mountain views, vultures circling up ahead and a delicious snack board of cured meats, cheese, fruit and crackers.
Few other reserves offer such a complete outdoor experience as De Hoop does. Picturesque stretches of beach, intertidal rock pools, rare fauna and flora are all that make this globally acclaimed getaway so special. Whether you’re into birding, hiking, biking, snorkelling or lounging at the pool after a pampering treatment at the spa, De Hoop’s unique dreamscape and diverse facilities offer the perfect setting for relaxation, adventure, eco-education and the perfect Instagram selfie…
Continue reading below images to find out about De Hoop’s incredible winter special for group bookings and our personal guest tips and more…
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Escape to a fynbos fairytale this season and experience the untouched wonder of De Hoop as we did. Go as a family or a group of mates with their incredible winter special. Book a six sleeper self-catering unit and only pay R1900 PER UNIT, not per person (original price R3717). Head on over to their website for a well-deserved break.
To find out more about De Hoop 40% OFF WINTER SPECIAL visit the website where you can also make your reservation.
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To sum it all up for our readers, here are our five reasons why we would return to De Hoop Collection in a heartbeat:
- An untouched gem – De Hoop is a magical place filled with exquisite wildlife, stretches of white sand beaches and rolling mountains.
- Excellent and friendly service. The staff at De Hoop are welcoming and helpful – they even helped us remove a bat from our unit at 11,30 at night – with a smile.
- Mouth Watering cuisine – every bite at The Fig Tree Restaurant was memorable. The dishes are tasty and playful like their ginger and lavender creme brulee.
- A variety of activities to suit everyone. From vulture viewing to snorkelling, whale watching and world-class spa treatments, there’s never a dull moment at De Hoop.
- The facilities. Our unit was clean and classy – for an outdoor living experience, we got hotel quality suites! Plus our unit was cleaned each day and replaced with fresh linen and towels.
Our Tips For Guests:
- Bring binoculars! Seriously, the wildlife and birdlife out at De Hoop is magnificent, make sure you don’t miss a thing!
- Bring walking shoes. The terrain is rugged and rocky, bring closed walking shoes.
- Sunblock, Sunblock and more sunblock.
- Self-caterers, while there is a small shop on site, it’s best to ensure you bring all your goods along from home and they keep limited supplies.
- Make sure you have enough petrol to leave when you arrive as there is no petrol station from the reserve for quite some kilometres.
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