The Vulture Experience is the newest and most exciting addition to the already jam-packed activity list that the De Hoop Nature Reserve has to offer. De Hoop Collection is currently running a competition offering an educational and sought-after bi...
34.4222° S, 20.5455° E
New Year's resolutions are made to be broken, so why not use the time to create a bucket list of things To Do for 2018? Choose a dozen challenges (one for each month), twelve hobby or craft courses, twelve differently themed restaurants, twelve adventure activities or anything else that blows your hair back. Don’t stop doing anything, just start doing more! With this thinking in mind, we’ve created a Top 12 Bucket List for you - compliments of De Hoop Nature Reserve.
January: Up close and personal with Cape Vultures
Top of the bucket list for 2018 is undoubtedly a visit to the last surviving committee of Cape Vultures which have made their home in the Potberg Mountain Range in the De Hoop Nature Reserve. The vultures roost in the surrounding cliffs and gorges, and the committee has grown to an impressive number of around 200 vultures since CapeNature embarked on raising awareness and educating local communities as to their importance. A guide will lead you along a fynbos encrusted hiking trail to a viewing deck where you can marvel at these huge birds of prey. Serious bird lovers are in for a treat because the territory is shared with Verreaux's Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Jackal Buzzards and Rock Kestrels which all make for a memorable viewing experience.
February: Summertime and the living is easy
The warm days of February are perfect for leisurely picnics under the shade of one of the massive old fig trees that dot the area around De Hoop’s Fig Tree Restaurant. If you would rather enjoy a more secluded picnic, then find a spot overlooking the vlei or head for the dunes and sandy white beaches at Koppie Alleen, where you can enjoy quality time with family and friends as you reconnect with nature.
March: Count your lucky stars
Stargazing at De Hoop is a must for all lovers of the night sky. A ‘Stargazing and Identification’ outing with a knowledgeable guide to lead you through the galaxy is a must if cosmology, planets, constellations and asteroids are your thing. At De Hoop Collection, the clear night sky is a perfect backdrop for stars that seem brighter and, with no street lights to distract, this is an astrophotographers dream come true. Pinpoint all the star signs on heaven’s canopy or, quite simply, wish upon a star, as you wonder about the man in the moon.
April: The rides of your life
Choose between a guided eco-quad biking or MTB trail that will take you through a floral kingdom of indigenous fynbos and past buck, birds and baboons as well as other game species. This one to three hour ride takes place at an ecologically friendly pace and you will learn more about the less obvious natural and historical aspects of De Hoop Nature Reserve.
May: Enjoy natures garden
Situated in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the month of May is the perfect time to explore De Hoop and reflect on all the bountiful treasures our planet has to offer. Occupying only 0.04% of the world’s landmass, the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is one of only six floral kingdoms in the world, has been classified as a World Heritage Site. Situated at the southern tip of Africa this is the only floral kingdom to be fully contained within a single country and it has the highest known concentration of plant species in the world. An incredible 70 percent of the Cape’s 9,600 plant species grow nowhere else on our planet but here.
June: Sunrise at the vlei
De Hoop Vlei is a Ramsar wetland which is of great international ecological importance and a must-visit for any keen nature lover. This is where much of the game of De Hoop congregate at different times and this vast stretch of water lures visits from otters and porcupines. The De Hoop Vlei Trail is 19 km long and for those who want to enjoy this awesome ecosystem in a less strenuous way, there are eco boat tours on request.
July: Family fun time
Spend quality time with the kids as you take a winter break at De Hoop Collection, the ultimate family getaway. There are kiddies programme at set times of the year. Programmes include, among other things, stargazing, entry-level guided walks, biking trails (complete with kiddies MTB’s) a tennis court and swimming pool for those brave enough to take a winter swim.
August: Indulge yourself
SPA@De Hoop offers guests the opportunity to pamper themselves - body, mind and soul. Indulge in some major grooming with a weekend away where you can select one of the many treatments on offer. De Hoop partners with Africology & ELEMIS to transform your skin with an eco-friendly range, fragranced only with pure essential oils. This one is not just for the ladies and is perfect for couples needing some TLC and a relaxing break. In between visits to the SPA, you get to cosy on up around a roaring fire and spend some quality time unhurriedly observing the wildlife that peacefully interact and roam freely around the main accommodation area.
September: Celebrate with wine, whales and music
The month of September brings with it De Hoop’s much awaited, ‘A Weekend of Wine, Whales and Music’! Pack your bags and escape for a fun-filled weekend, as you celebrate the arrival of Spring. Grab a glass and sample internationally acclaimed wines from top wine estates in the region, while you snack on platters of delicious canapés. The soundtrack is the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the setting a pristine 34,000 hectare nature reserve. Round the weekend off with a visit to the beach in the company of a marine biologist, where you will enjoy a highly educational look at marine life.
October: Have a whale of a time
Each year Southern Right Whales flock to the Cape South Coast and during the months of June through to December the coastal cliffs, dunes and beaches offer visitors to the area front row seats to one of the greatest shows on earth. These gentle giants pass their time nursing their new born calves and happily cavorting with each other, only metres away from the shore. De Hoop is known as one of the last places where nature lovers can observe these modern day giants without the distraction of throngs of tourists and the sound of traffic. It's just you, nature and the majestic Southern Right Whale.
November: Keep calm and go birding
There are over 260 species of birds at De Hoop and the challenge is to mark as many of them off the De Hoop bird, mammal and marine checklist as possible when you go on a guided field trip on a nature spotting adventure.
December: Fun in the sun
De Hoop Collection offers sun worshipers stretches of white sandy beaches where the only footprints on the sand will be your own. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the cool Indian Ocean and experience the tranquillity of deserted coastlines that are off the beaten track. Crystal clear rock pools are the perfect observation ponds to view the intertidal ecosystems that lie safely undisturbed. Dolphins and seals are often seen off-shore and at least 250 species of fish occur in this marine protected area.