“It’s more than just a retreat; it’s total surrender” – Whale Trail hiker
De Hoop is one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature. This beautiful reserve is a favourite for hikers, cyclists, and bird and whale watchers. The reserve, which is 34 000 hectares, is just three hours from Cape Town, in the Overberg.
The neighbouring marine reserve, which extends 5km out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa. It conserves a vast and fascinating variety of marine life.
De Hoop has one of the best hiking trails in South Africa: the Whale Trail. This route offers coastal and mountain walking, with spectacular views and, of course, plenty of opportunities for whale watching. This route is currently a four-day trail as upgrades to the Noetsie cottage are taking place. The trail will revert to a five-day trail once the cottage’s upgrades are complete.
To find out more, download the De Hoop Nature Reserve brochure.
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.
How to get there
Potberg & Whale Trail:
Take the N2 from Cape Town to Caledon. Turn right at the second turn off to Caledon, where you will find the Venster Restaurant on your left side. Drive through Caledon and then continue on the R316 to Bredasdorp, via Napier. At the 3rd four-way stop street in Bredasdorp, turn left into All Saints Street (Engen garage on left corner). Travel approximately 8 km on the R319 to Swellendam (past the silos on right hand side). Turn right onto the gravel road signposted Infanta, Malgas and De Hoop. Travel for approximately 50 km straight on to Potberg. (Do not turn right at the De Hoop turn-off). Follow whale trail signs. Go past Ouplaas School. Potberg gate is approximately 10 km from the school.
Koppie Alleen & De Hoop Collection:
Take N2 to Caledon. From Caledon drive through Napier to Bredasdorp. From Bredasdorp take the R319 to Swellendam. At about 6kms turn right – sign posted De Hoop / Malagas / Infanta. Follow the gravel road for 35kms until you see a sign to the right – De Hoop Nature Reserve.
GPS Co-Ordinates (for reserve office/campsite): 34.454040 S 20.400098 E
Office hours: 07:30–16:00
Tel: +27 (0)28 542 1114/5
Whale Trail and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190
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Thank you very much to the friendly and efficient staff at de Hoop for making our first camping holiday as a family a great success.
When you drive in, over the high hills, you feel as if you are entering a forgotten and magical place.
Even though it was fully booked, we only saw a few people and it never felt crowded.
It was lovely to be able to walk around and view the animals and birds,
The Birding walk was interesting and the guide was very nice. It could have been longer because the walk was much easier than expected and the trail fairly good, so I wasn't tired at all.
The beach was just beautiful and the kids spent ages looking into rock pools and looking for fish. We didn't do the marine walk because it was a bit expensive.
The booklet we bought was interesting and great fun to tick off the things we saw. It might be nice to have a book or poster somewhere, where people can identify something new that they have seen while out walking. Instead of asking the staff all the time.
Thanks to the baboon monitors who kept the cheeky baboons at a distance so that they were comic relief and not the big problem that they could have been.
My husband enjoyed the biking very much, but said that the 30km route needs a little maintenance as the restios across the path are a bit painful against the shins and the sandy parts had to be walked.
I did the 3km vlei walk (because I am not a hiker) and it was easy and enjoyable, with various terrain and views.
Meeting Professor Tony was a highlight of the trip. His snake show was great and changed our whole opinion of snakes. He helped identify birds, insects, buck, etc and generally took the time out to chat and inform anyone who was interested. As our kids put it "A totally cool guy". Please thank him for us.
We had a fantastic holiday and feel very lucky that we were able to visit de Hoop.
We will definitely come again.
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