The De Hoop Reserve is situated just three hours drive from Cape Town on the world renowned Garden and Whale Routes. It is in the Overberg region near the southern tip of Africa and can be approached from either Bredasdorp or Swellendam.
The Overberg area is characterised by quaint towns, a blossoming wine industry and delicious local dishes. The 36 000 hectares of De Hoop conservation area is a World Heritage Site comprising rich biodiversity and over 70 kilometres of pristine coastline. A 19 km vlei (wetland) stretches across the reserve, which is on the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance. With our variety of activities and things to explore, we recommend a minimum 2 night stay.
The De Hoop Nature Reserve is situated east of Bredasdorp. The reserve is about 260 km by road from Cape Town, and may be reached via either Bredasdorp or Swellendam. The last 60 km of either route is along gravel roads and takes an hour to travel.
Why choose De Hoop Nature Reserve:
- Perfect holiday destination for families, couples, groups, honeymooners and
- World-class land-based whale watching in Season
- Paradise for keen bird enthusiasts
- De Hoop Reserve has around 260 bird species
- Cape Natures Flagship Reserve
Every year, some 40% of the worlds Southern Right Whales come to these shores to breed and De Hoop Nature Reserve is an important destination for these creatures. Females and their calves swim in the clear waters, while males put on spectacular displays. These endangered mammals ensure that the De Hoop Reserve in South Africa is one of the worlds best land based whale-watching areas. As a marine reserve and World Heritage Site, De Hoop guarantees a safe nursery for these pods of visiting cetaceans. They come so close to the shore that visitors can relax on the unspoilt sand dunes, watching in awe as these beautiful creatures calve, blow, breach and belly-flop.
Season runs from: End of May through to November. In season 500-600 whales will call De Hoop home. Sightings of 50-75 during height of season.
The reserve has a Mediterranean climate and receives most of its rain during winter (May-Aug). Relatively warm off-shore waters result in mild winters and warm summers, with a mean annual temperature of 17,5C. Rain falls throughout the year, with a peak in August and an average of 380 mm per year. Weak fogs also occur. The most frequent summer winds are east, west and south-east. In winter, westerly
and south-westerly winds prevail and speeds may reach 60 km/h or more.
- Mammals over 86 species - most common: eland, bontebok, baboon, Cape mountain zebra, grey rhebuck, duiker, steenbok etc.
- Marine life: Southern Right Whales, dolphins and seals occur in the waters off the coast (3 nautical mile protected marine reserve)
- Birds over 259 species - some of which include: Cape griffon vultures, ostriches, African oyster catcher and many more.
Fig Tree Restaurant:
Situated in the main Opstal area, next to reception, De Hoop Collections Fig Tree Restaurant offers day and overnight visitors a
welcoming and comfortable setting in which to enjoy local culinary
creations. The building that dates from the 1800s was built by farmer Cloete as his sheep shearing shed and renovated by De Hoop
Collection to a warm, cosy restaurant.
The Fig Tree Restaurant is open daily, from 08h00-21h00, and serves
breakfast, lunch, dinner, picnic options, teas, coffees and cakes and
is licensed. Ask about our local wine selection, craft beers and ciders.
De Hoop Spa:
Treatments can be booked at our onsite Spa to allow for a different
kind of relaxation and rejuvenation. Soak up the peace and quiet of the reserve setting as you enjoy a treatment. Please enquire at
- Guided Bird Walk
- Guided Eco Boat Cruise
- Guided MTB Trail
- Marine Walk
- Vulture experience
Accommodation at De Hoop Nature Reserve
The accommodation at Opstal Camp is close to the hub of central offices, restaurant, deli and shop and offers a variety of accommodation options.
The sandstone buildings on the opposite side of the vlei (wetland) are known as Melkkamer. This remote and exclusive homestead is a 40 min drive from the Opstal area and boasts 3 units dating from the late 1800s. There is no electricity and all the units have gas powered appliances, with candlelight and lanterns adding to the
romance and charm of this unique area. A generator is available for the Melkkamer Manor House and Melkkamer Foremans Cottage and is switched on at pre-determined times for the convenience of our guests.
Campsite Rondawels are thatched cottages with 2 beds with outdoor shared showers and toilets. Perfect for guests looking for simple
and affordable accommodation with a braai area, but no other kitchen facility. The Opstal area is the hub of the reserve and a great location from which to explore the whole area. These chalets are a great base among the diverse fauna and flora.
Before you leave home, this is what you need to know:
What to pack
- Comfortable walking shoes
- sun hat and sun glasses
- binoculars and a small torch
- camera and memory cards
- light neutral coloured clothing
- bathing suit
- warm jackets are essential (May October)
The nearest fuel station is 15km from the reserve at Ouplaas and operates from Monday to Friday. Alternatively, the closest towns are an hours drive away and are Bredasdorp and Swellendam.
The Curio Shop is the same venue as the reception and sells the following items:
Cooldrinks Snacks (Chips, Chocolates, Biscuits, Biltong, etc) Braai meat & wors Ice Wood & Firelighters Exciting books about the environment, birds, mammals, childrens books etc A Beautiful range of bags Special gifts T-shirts, caps & hats Limited food
The curio shop mainly sells gifts and food supplies are limited. The above list is only an indication of what you can expect and you are sure to find many gems that make perfect gifts for your loved ones.
Arriving at De Hoop Nature Reserve:
Conservation fee is payable at the gate on arrival.
Please ask about the current price when booking.
Wildcard holders get free entry and children under 12 are charged half price.
- Gates open at 7:00 and close at 18:00 on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun
- Gates open at 7:00 and close at 19:00 on Saturdays
Check in time is at 14:00 and check out at 10:00
Reception and general information can be found at the Opstal Camp.
All activities can be booked at Reception and generally depart from the meeting tree. Please confirm departure point at reception when booking your activity.