De Hoop Diary – Day 2

Last week I posted Day 1 of our De Hoop diary and today I’ll be sharing a bit more about our weekend there. De Hoop offers some great activities including organized bird and fynbos walks each day in the nature reserve and a marine walk down on the beach, but we opted to lie in a bit longer than the 7am meeting time considering the cold weather and later in the morning went off to discover the vlei and the dunes for ourselves.

The area is a haven for birds due to the large vlei, over 260 bird species make this area their home! We loved taking a walk down the edge to get a closer look at the flocks of flamingos and pelicans as well as the other water birds.

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De Hoop is perhaps most well-known for it’s huge dunes so we went off to discover these. So. Much. Sand. The kids had a ball running and rolling, jumping and building. It was the perfect place to do an impromptu family photo shoot…. In fact the entire weekend offered plenty of photo opportunities,which I loved – and not just of my kids but of the stunning scenery all around us!

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In the afternoon we took ourselves off on the “Self-Guided Hiking Trail” that follows the edge of the cliff above the vlei and has the most breathtaking views. Along the walk were a few marked places to stop and learn more about the historical significance of the area in our guide book. It was a beautiful time of the day and all the birds were out enjoying the last of the sunshine. We even spotted a couple of shy dassies on the rocks below us. After a quick visit to the kiosk at reception for some chips and sweet treats we went back the way we came stopping a few times to enjoy the peaceful picture below us….

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As I mentioned already their is a restaurant on the premises which is great for those not quite prepared to cater for themselves all weekend – and also because the nearest shop is back down the 60km dirt road!! We enjoyed a delicious meal on Saturday evening – lamb shanks done to perfection. And the kids had very yummy homemade hamburgers with chips. On our way back to the house we drove straight into the middle of a herd of eland right outside our house which the kids found very exciting.

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The next morning we packed up and took a slow drive back out of the reserve when we bumped into the baboon troop enjoying some grooming fun on the side of the road.

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We had a wonderful time soaking up the sights and sounds of nature at De Hoop – it was so lovely to chill out and to just be quiet and relaxed as a family. So much of our lives is crazy busy and it was lovely to rest and not rush for a change! We found that spending more quality time with the kids and doing things together meant that even through they are still young they weren’t nearly as demanding as they usually are at home. They seemed to soak up the time and attention. Just sitting outside on the patio eating our rusks and milo watching the birds was a special time which doesn’t always happen at home. I highly recommend taking time out to get away and do something different in a new place with your family.

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.

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

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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