Special: De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve is the most Southern National Park in Africa and became a World Heritage Site in 2004. We had the pleasure to visit the amazing Nature Reserve which is renowned for its Fynbos vegetation as well as whale watching. Especially in the South African winter, you got perfect opportunities to see several whales enjoying themselves right on the coastline.
The 34.000 ha large De Hoop Nature Reserve was one of the Nature Reserves we visited while travelling through South Africa.
The hard facts of De Hoop Nature Reserve definitely sound great, but there’s a little problem when it comes to this National Park: It’s actually located quite far away from everything else. Cape Town is a mere four hour drive, while even the small town Swellendam on the Garden Route is two hours away.
Nevertheless, it’s a real experience getting to De Hoop Nature Reserve as you can just reach the National Park via gravel roads.
Animals at De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve is renowned for whale watching, but is actually great to admire land animals, too.
You’ll find dozens of different land animals in the National Park. When we entered, we instantly drove by some zebras.
Later, we also saw different antelopes and bucks. Several of these only exist in this region of South Africa. Another interesting animal we saw several times are ostriches which seem to have a very good time at De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Even though we are no experts when it comes to naming the special kinds of antelopes and bucks, we are sure experts will instantly see which of the animals we pictured are very rare!
Whale Watching at De Hoop Nature Reserve
Being at De Hoop Nature Reserve, whale watching is a real must-do! There’s a special spot in the National Park which is absolutely perfect for whale watching.
On an elevation, you can enjoy great views of the ocean. When we arrived, it didn’t take longer than one minute to see the first whale jumping out of the water.
We are actually quite sorry that the whales are tough to see on the pictures we made, but as you know: Whales are quite fast when it comes to jumping out and back into the water.
Nevertheless, whale watching at De Hoop Nature Reserve is absolutely recommendable even though the route to the “whale watching hill” through the National Park is quite long.
Nature at De Hoop Nature Reserve
Whale watching is amazing, but the nature at De Hoop Nature Reserve is, too.
It’s not only the amazing beaches and shores you can enjoy when watching whales, but also the nature you can see everywhere else.
Beautiful fynbos and other plants you won’t find in many other parts of the country make it extremely enjoyable driving through De Hoop Nature Reserve. If you got more time and want an even more intense experience of De Hoop Nature Reserve, you should definitely go hiking.
The paths where cars are forbidden are supposed to be even more interesting!
Overall impression of De Hoop Nature Reserve
We only spent a few hours at De Hoop Nature Reserve as we drove from Swellendam to Hermanus that day, but we didn’t regret the little detour. The location of De Hoop Nature Reserve may not be perfect for everyone doing the Garden Route, but going to the National Park is totally worth nevertheless.
In winter, you pretty much get a guarantee to see whales. On the way, you’ll also stumble upon several other interesting animals and a great vegetation. There’s rarely more we could have loved to see at De Hoop Nature Reserve!