De Hoop Nature Reserve
Only three hours from Cape Town lies a special nature reserve situated in the Overberg region, near the southern tip of Africa. De Hoop Nature Reserve is approximately 34 000 ha in size and one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature.
It is a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and during the winter and early summer months, whale watchers.
The adjacent De Hoop Marine Protected Area, which extends three nautical miles (5 km) out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa and provides a sanctuary for a vast and fascinating array of marine life.
De Hoop Nature Reserve is situated east of Bredasdorp, approximately 260 km from Cape Town. The reserve may be approached from either Bredasdorp or Swellendam. The last 50 km of either route is along gravel roads.
A typical Mediterranean climate prevails in the region; summers are warm and winters mild. The annual rainfall is about 380 mm and August is usually the wettest month. Sea mists also occur. The most frequent summer winds are east, west and southeast, while westerly and southwesterly winds prevail in winter.
De Hoop Nature Reserve forms part of the world's smallest and most threatened plant kingdom - the Cape Floral Kingdom. Fynbos is the dominant vegetation group and is largely confined to nutrient-poor soils in the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape. It is adapted to fire and drought and is defined by four growth forms:
· proteas - tall shrubs with large leaves
· ericas - heath-like shrubs
· restios - wiry, reed-like plants which are always present in fynbos
· geophytes - bulbs that store moisture in fleshy underground organs.
De Hoop is important for the conservation of lowland fynbos for it has the largest conserved area for this rare vegetation type. The Bredasdorp / Agulhas and Infanta area has an estimated 1500 plant species of the approximately 9 000 species found in the Cape Floristic Region.
De Hoop's many terrestrial habitats support a diversity of animal groups. The marine environment is likewise home to a variety of life forms.
The reserve has 86 mammal species. Most notable are the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, as well as eland, grey rhebuck, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard.
Marine mammals such as dolphins and seals occur in the waters off the coast and southern right whales calve and mate in the sheltered bays of De Hoop each year between May and December. At least 250 species of fish occur in the marine protected area.
De Hoop is famous for its variety of resident and migratory bird species and more than 260 species have been recorded on the reserve. The De Hoop Vlei attracts large numbers of water birds. The only remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture in the Western Cape occurs at Potberg.
The occasionally uses the Eastern Sector of the De Hoop Nature Reserve for missile testing. CapeNature receives limited prior notice and although we try to minimise disruption to our hikers, it may be necessary for us to evacuate groups from the Whale Trail while the tests are being conducted.
By participating in the Whale Trail, you acknowledge and accept that missile testing may be conducted at any particular time. You further accept to indemnify CapeNature, its employees, agents, contractors and any other persons affiliated thereto, from any damage, loss or injury, which may occur as a result of an evacuation or otherwise.
For more information please contact our booking office on 021 483 0190.
Please note: The management of the tourism activities and accommodation facilities of the cottages and camping sites at De Hoop Nature Reserve (excluding the Whale Trail) is handled by De Hoop Collection.
Download: De Hoop map and brochure.pdf
Download: De Hoop Species Checklists.xls
Use the map or list to select a reserve
1. Cederberg Wilderness Area
2. Bird Island Nature Reserve
3. Rocherpan Nature Reserve
4. Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area
5. Limietberg Nature Reserve
6. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
7. Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve
8. Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve
9. Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve
10. Marloth Nature Reserve
11. Kogelberg Nature Reserve
12. Walker Bay Nature Reserve
13. Salmonsdam Nature Reserve
14. De Mond Nature Reserve
15. De Hoop Nature Reserve
16. Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve
17. Boosmansbos Wilderness Area
18. Anysberg Nature Reserve
19. Swartberg Nature Reserve
20. Gamkaberg Nature Reserve
Garden Route and Little Karoo
21. Outeniqua Nature Reserve
22. Goukamma Nature Reserve
23. Keurbooms River Nature Reserve
24. Robberg Nature Reserve
Explore brochure (1,4mb).pdf