As a family we love getting out of the city and exploring new places. Due to the stage of life we find ourselves in with small kids these tend to fall within a radius of a few hours drive, but what that does mean is that we are discovering some real hidden gems of the Cape!
Last weekend we headed off to De Hoop – a nature reserve owned by CapeNature but with accommodation run by The De Hoop Collection. We left on Friday around midday and headed out on the N2 to discover this spot near the Southern Most Tip of Africa. The 3 hour drive was scenic and enjoyable but the last 60km of the journey were dirt road which meant we had to slow down and keep kids entertained for a bit longer than we had anticipated!
We were greeted warmly by a troop of baboons at the gate and then headed up the hill and soaked up the amazing view over the fynbos and on to the famous De Hoop dunes. We had booked in to a self-catering house so after picking up our key went to unpack and settle in. Various accommodation is available from luxury to budget. The house we stayed in was one of the Opstal Houses and it was clean and neat with all the basics required by a family. The beds were beautifully made up and very comfortable and there was a fireplace in the lounge – a very important feature for winter weekends away! The house sleeps 6 and has a minimum cost of R2085 per night for the house. Other accommodation ranges from R295 for a camp site, R770 for a rondawel that sleeps 4 and goes up to R1795 per person per night for a stay in the Manor House.
We decided to do a bit of exploring even though the sun was setting so hopped in the car to take a short drive. On our way in we had come across a herd of bontebok as well as a couple of ostrich and we were keen to see a few more of the other animals listed in our guide book. After our little adventure drive which involved each of the kids taking turns to “drive” the car on the dirt road, it was time for supper and even though there was the option of a meal at the restaurant we opted for a night in with soup, bread and a family movie in front of the fire – exactly what fun weekends away are made of!
Next week I’ll share more of what we did on our weekend at De Hoop so come back on Monday for Day 2 of our De Hoop Diary.
More about De Hoop
Situated just three hours’ drive from Cape Town, the 36 000 hectares of De Hoop conservation area forms part of a World Heritage site. The 19km vlei stretches across the reserve and is home to rich birdlife, including breeding Pelicans. The shoreline offers some of the best whale viewing in the world with 40% of the global Southern Right Whale population using it as an annual breeding ground. In “peak season” between 80 to 300 whales can be seen in the bay. They generally leave by end November. Weekend activities are often organized around themes such as a cookery weekend, photographic weekend, musical weekend, wine tasting, star-gazing and whale watching weekend. Guided walks, mountain and quad bike trails are also offered.
Tel: +27 (0)21 422 4522 or 0861 334 667
Reserve: +27 (0)28 542 1253
Images: by Kathryn Rossiter
Disclaimer: I was invited to De Hoop as a guest and my accommodation was complimentary but all thoughts and photos are my own