De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve De Hoop Nature Reserve De Hoop Nature Reserve De Hoop Nature Reserve De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
 
          De Hoop Nature Reserve

For info on Day visits or Overnight stays, click here.

De Hoop Nature Reserve is situated east of Bredasdorp, near the southern tip of Africa 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.

De Hoop Nature Reserve is approximately 34 000 ha in size and one of the largest natural areas managed by Cape Nature Conservation. 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 fascinating array of marine life.

Flora & Fauna

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 Nature Reserve is important for the conservation of low-land 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 Nature 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 Nature Reserve each year between May and December. At least 250 species of fish occur in the marine protected area.

De Hoop Nature Reserve 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.

Things to do:

One of the most unusual aspects of the De Hoop Nature Reserve is that visitors may leave their cars at any time and walk anywhere in the reserve - as long as they are careful not
to trample the natural vegetation.

There are four walking trails of different lengths. Read More

An 11 km circular drive starts at the office and takes visitors through some of the most interesting features of the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

An additional drive of 14 km to Koppie Alleen on the De Hoop coast.

The De Hoop Mountain Bike Trail is laid out in the eastern sector. Two or three days are needed to enjoy the trail and advance booking is essential. Read More

Snorkeling in large, clear rock pools, where you are likely to see the finest examples of inter-tidal ecosystems in the Western Cape.

Whale watching is one of the highlights at De Hoop Nature Reserve. Every year an estimated 120 individual whales return to calve and mate. The high dunes at Koppie Alleen are an excellent vantage point for whale watchers.


Walking in the De hoop Nature Reserve
Vlei | Coastal | Potberg | Klipspringer

1. Vlei Trail
There are three variations to the trail (Gebe Trail, Heron Trail and Coot Trail) and hikers may walk the entire 15 km to Die Mond, or cut their walk short by circling back along one of the two jeep tracks. All three variations of the Vlei Trail are signposted.

The Gebe Trail, the longest route, takes approximately three hours to complete and affords hikers good views of the vlei as well as ample opportunity for bird watching.

The Heron Trail may be walked in less than two hours while the shortest route, the Coot Trail, may be completed in an hour. Top of Trails

2. Coastal Trail
The Coastal Trail allows hikers to either enjoy a beach walk or an exploratory ramble along rocky shores. Use the boardwalk to get to the water's edge and walk to your left if you want to explore rock pools, limestone cliffs and rocky outcrops. The beach walk is to your right. The dunes present an unusual and fun-filled walk. Both walks are best at low tide when the beach sand is most suitable for walking and coastal limestone platforms become exposed. The rock pools are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Top of Trails

3. Potberg Trail
There are two trails in the Potberg Mountains. The northern route marked as the Potberg Trail, is 10 km long (four hours) and takes you to the top of Potberg from where there are good views of the Breede River valley. Top of Trails

4. Klipspringer Trail
The shorter Klipspringer Trail is 6 km long (two hours). Hikers have a good chance of sighting the rare Cape Vulture when they walk this trail. The Cape Vulture colony at Potberg, with 24 breeding pairs, is the only remaining breeding colony in the winter rainfall region. Top of Trails


De Hoop Mountain Bike Trail

Cyclists start at the Potberg Environmental Education Centre, where vehicles can be left, and ride through to Cupidoskraal (11 km) carrying everything needed with them. The Cupidoskraal hut is used as an overnight base from where cyclists may embark on day rides to the coast along demarcated jeep tracks. The trail hut provides comfortable accommodation for 12 people, with storage for their bikes. A 2 ring gas stove, indoor fireplace, lighting, pots and pans are provided. Bedding and eating utensils must be brought along. There is a dam about 300 m north-east of the hut where you could swim, but this water also supplies the hut so please do not pollute it. Drinking water is provided from rain tanks. Firewood is provided, use it sparingly!

The Routes
Vaalkrans | Lekkerwater | Hammerkop | Stilgat | Noetzie

1. Vaalkrans Route
This route follows a steep cemented jeep track and then makes its way down to the coast along a fairly straight track, alternating between limestone and sand. The turn-off is 5 km from Cupidoskraal and it is a further 7 km to the coast.Top of Routes

2. Lekkerwater Route
This route has a good road, with some very smooth downhill sections towards the coast. It leads down to a private house on the coast. The turn-off is 2 km from Cupidoskraal and it is a further 5 km to the beach.Top of Routes

3. Hamerkop Route
The Hamerkop and Stilgat routes are the most demanding. Hamerkop is predominantly limestone and rock, with very little smooth riding, but the more experienced cyclist will find it most enjoyable. The route leads past a collection of old holiday cottages in various stages of repair. A memorial stone east of the beach for those who drowned is evidence of the dangerous currents on this coast. The turn-off is 3 km from Cupidoskraal and it is a further 3 km to the beach.Top of Routes

4. Stilgat Route
This route is similar in character to the Hamerkop route, although more rocky and difficult, and should provide the more adventurous rider with lots of fun. The views on the way down to the coast are truly magnificent. The coast is harsh and rocky and the sea is dangerous, but a few rock pools provide safe snorkeling and swimming. The turn-off is 8 km east of Cupidoskraal and it is a further 3.5 km to the coast.Top of Routes

5. Noetzie Route
It is a fairly long ride out from Cupidoskraal in an easterly direction to Noetzie, but this is an easy route, with just a few sections of sand. The last steep slope down into Noetzie is the only difficult part. Just before going down stop and admire the beautiful views of the bay. There are some rock pools and at low tide the rocky bay is fairly calm for swimming. The turn-off is 10 km from Cupidoskraal and it is a further 3 km down to Noetzie.Top of Routes


De Hoop Day Visits or Overnighting

De Hoop Nature Reserve is open for day visitors between 07h00 and 18h00 (Fridays 19h00).

Camping ~ there are 7 campsites within the reserve. Ablution facilities with hot water are available. These sites are not equipped with electric power points, but each has running water and private braai facilities. Grids are provided. Toilet paper is provided.

Self-catering Cottages ~ eleven cottages may be hired in the reserve. Ranging from basic (overlooking the De Hoop vlei) to the more luxurious and spacious lodge at Lekkerwater (on the shores of the marine protected area). To Top

De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve