Just over three hours from Cape Town, in the eastern, most exclusive sector of De Hoop Nature Reserve, is Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop Reserve.
De Hoop is undoubtedly one of the most glorious coastal reserves in Africa, and a secret even amongst South Africans. The reserve is famous for some of the best whale watching on the planet when, from July to November, Southern Right whales and their offspring flock here in their hundreds from Antarctica. And it’s not just whales – you’ll also spot sizeable pods of dolphin and all sorts of marine life at this the ultimate, land-based marine safari destination.
The reserve is a glorious mix of fynbos and beach, sand dunes and wetlands, all framed by the dramatic Potberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Of course there are whales, but the landscape itself is just as magnificent. The area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, classified as a World Heritage Site in 2004, and everywhere you turn you’ll find all manner of plant species, flowers and ecosystems. In fact, 12 of those species are found nowhere else in the world!
Lekkerwater offers a homely and comfortable beach experience in a magical setting. Each of the seven rooms are located right on a 6km stretch of pristine private beach, complete with stunning rock pools and fish life. Spend your days on walks with experienced naturalists, discovering an array of fynbos, a plethora of marine life, and a rare vulture breeding colony. Birders will also not be disappointed with over 250 species of birds recorded in the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
WHEN TO GO
The whale season throughout the winter months of June to October is big drawcard, but it’s not the only one and De Hoop really is a year-round destination. During summer (November to May), days are sunny and warm and blue skies stretch as far as the eye can see. Whilst the sea is still chilly, the water in the inland rock pools heats up nicely and it’s is a wonderful time to swim, stroll on the beach and enjoy the long, lazy summer evenings. And whilst you may not find whales, dolphins are ever present and an afternoon spent watching them from your veranda is magical.
As for the winter season, the first whales usually begin to arrive in the bay in June and the season can stretch to the beginning of November. The best months for whale-watching are considered to be August and September, but there can be as many as 400 – 600 whales present at any time. The winter days are shorter and perhaps a little colder and cloudier, but this certainly doesn’t detract from the activities and experience on offer.