Just before lockdown I had the pleasure of visiting De Hoop Nature Reserve for the weekend and little did I know that it would be some time before I could enjoy beautiful open skies and stretches of sandy beach again. It’s been a tough couple of months for many but with spring starting and the travel industry slowly opening up there has never been a better time to reconnect with family and friends while supporting local economy.

What’s great about the De Hoop Collection is that it has accommodation to suit all budgets as guests can choose from De Hoop Village houses, fully equipped cottages some close to the vlei to private suites. Melkkamer has three secluded houses that can accommodate groups with private chef services. The best news is that until the end of November guests will get 40% off on all the accommodation offered at De Hoop, you need to book and pay by end of September.

While choosing which type of accommodation will suit your needs best, there are the activities that guests can look forward to while at the reserve. Bird lovers can enjoy a guided +-2-hour bird walk starting at 8:00 am every morning. Participants will have fun identifying the many bird species at the reserve and also learn a bit about the behaviour patterns of the various species. If you would rather take it easy and still enjoy the birdlife, a boat cruise on the vlei is highly recommended. The eco boat cruise begins at 11:00 am every morning with tea and coffees and some pastries to be enjoyed on the boat as well as an option of an afternoon cruise with drinks and snacks on board.

My absolute favourite activity is the guided marine walk exploring coastal rock pools and sandy beaches with a few surprises that the experienced guide will keep pointing out as you follow the trail. Expects lots of interesting seaside creatures that you only ever see in a marine museum. If you absolutely enjoy bikes there is an MTB bike trail that’s about 2-3 hours long and you will get to ride among the wildlife. Bikes are available for hire at the reserve.  There is so much more to do and for a more romantic setting guests can choose to have a picnic for two in a private setting. The last activity that I have to mention is the vulture experience at the cliffs of the Potberg Mountains that is very special as it is the last surviving Cape vulture colony in the Western Cape. Get your hiking shoes on and I promise you the view from the top is worth it.

I just got word that lots of southern Right Whales are in the bay already. All specials subject to availability and need to be booked and paid for by 30th September. To take advantage of the current specials – phone 021-422 4522 or email res@dehoopcollection.co.za, www.dehoopcollection.com