The white shores run off from the smooth dunes and break with the white foam of crashing waves, and distantly behind the breakers the water is smooth and still… except for an enormous tail rising solitary out of the ocean, waiting to plunge back into the cold waters with a triumphant crash.
Once again, pods of whales are returning to our beautiful coastline! De Hoop Nature Reserve’s marine area is one of the most important calving and nursery grounds for whales (especially the Southern Right Whale), and it is in the cooler winter months that these magnificent mammals return to our home to raise their young ones. Every year the whales return in large pods, and while they rest in the safety of De Hoop’s reserve, they excite their audiences with magnificent jumps, dives and astounding agility as they launch themselves out of the water in acrobatic twists. Visitors would be amiss to forget this beautiful celebration of one of the world’s largest endangered species.
De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of the largest areas that Cape Nature manages, taking up 34,000 hectares in the Overberg region, and the marine area stretches all along the width of the reserve and still extends 5 kilometres out to sea. This is only one of the reasons that 40% of the world’s population of Southern Right Whales visit this shoreline each year to breed and nurse. The reserve is the ideal environment for mothers with young calves to swim safely, without the risk of unwanted disturbances or dangers, while the males make sure to celebrate in spectacular acrobatic displays for their visitors. It is due to the attraction of these massive mammals that De Hoop has become one of the world’s greatest land based whale watching sites, helping it to be named a Marine Protected Area, which guarantees the safety and future of these beautiful creatures. Thankfully these are not shy creatures, and coming right up close to the shore, they are easily spotted so that visitors can view them breaching in awe from the comfort of unspoilt sand dunes.
Nature lovers can experience this pristine environment up close by walking the De Hoop Trail, a stimulating exploration of both the De Hoop Vlei and the magnificent De Hoop Coastal Reserve.
This fully catered luxury trail runs over three nights, with two full days spent walking, at your own pace, with a well- informed, interpretive guide. The trail is fully catered with fine cuisine that is quite unexpected on a walking trip and accommodation is luxurious.
Besides the striking indigenous plant, abundant bird species and small antelope… visitors are treated to astounding shows by the calving Southern Right Whales! At any time between June and December, hikers will likely be given the opportunity to witness at least 50 of these sea giants in our marine reserve.
Make your winter getaway in De Hoop’s vast landscape, traversing smooth dunes and white shores, watching wild seas tumult and break against the extending shoreline… and witness the beautiful return of our whales as they raise their young ones for the years to come.