De Hoop Nature Reserve in South Africa represents a treasure-chest of natural and cultural assets. The diversity of 1 500 plant species is amongst the highest in the Cape Floristic Region. Guests on the De Hoop Whale Trail can see a large percentage of rare, endemic or threatened species.
Enjoy the privilege of walking amongst pristine fynbos vegetation. There is also a great animal diversity - from marine creatures like Whales and Dolphins to African wildlife like Zebras and Bontebok.Enjoy the privilege of walking amongst pristine fynbos vegetation. View the flowering plants at close quarters. There is also a great animal diversity - from marine creatures like Whales and Dolphins to African wildlife like Zebras and Bontebok.
De Hoop Nature Reserves provides a safe refuge for rare mammals such as the Cape Mountain Zebra and Bontebok. Smaller predators and various bat species, the latter in a large breeding cave, can also be found. These limestone cave systems are unique and preserved in a pristine condition.
De Hoop Nature Reserve in South Africa is known as one of the world's most important calving grounds for Southern Right Whales (during the winter months from July to November). It is also an important nursery area for depleted angling fish species.From a cultural-historical perspective, visitors to De Hoop Nature Reserve experience a bygone era. The reserve houses undisturbed archaeological sites of great significance. The historical homesteads, the Melkkamer and Potberg are well-preserved architectural examples.
A vlei is a shallow seasonal or intermittent lake. The De Hoop Vlei is a 16km long Ramsar site (wetland of international ecological importance). This highly productive ecosystem is the breeding ground for aquatic birds and other organisms who can feed undisturbed.
Many of the 260 bird species which occur at De Hoop can be seen here at the vlei. It also boasts several pairs of African Fish Eagles. Their high-pitched call, the so-called "voice of Africa", contributes to the wild charm of this area.The De Hoop Vlei is also a safe shelter for 12 waterfowl species during the dry summer months. Visitors can spot as many as 13 species of migrant waders, for example the Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stints or Ruffs. Whiskered and White Winged Terns visit this vlei in summer because then the water level drops and the mud flats are exposed.
The Melkkamer (The Milk Room or Milk House) is situated on the western bank of the De Hoop Vlei. This remote area originally was the centre of the farm called "The Hope". The Melkkamer homestead was built in 1907. It has Neo-Cape as well as Edwardian and Art Nouveau features.
The Melkkamer homestead is the epitome of stylish elegance. It has tall chimneys, high ceilings and spacious verandas.
Guests on the De Hoop Trail will be accommodated at the recently restored Manor house in luxurious en suite rooms for the duration of the trail (3 nights). The atmosphere at the Manor house is relaxing with a Colonial-Africa ambience.
Additional guests, if required, can be accommodated in the restored Foreman's Cottage. A generator provides electricity during hours required for lighting. Kerosene lanterns are also available.
In mid afternoon, you arrive at the Manor house after a slow informative trip from the main Opstal Reception area. Enjoy sundowner drinks and canapés before being introduced to the Melkkamer area of De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Your trail guide will explain and brief you on the routine for the next couple of days. He will be happy to answer any questions. You spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure and will indulge in a wholesome evening meal. After dinner, you have the opportunity to socialize or to partake in an informal guided interpretive star gazing activity.
Day 3 begins with a cup of tea, coffee or fresh fruit juice. Enjoy a light breakfast and a transfer to the beach at Koppie Alleen. Here, you will have the opportunity to walk along the undeveloped coast and experience protected marine life in the rock pools.
Guests can have some fun on the spectacular sand dunes and take great photos. Enjoy Whale and Dolphin sightings in season at De Hoop Nature Reserve. You will be driven back to the Melkkamer Manor accommodation after lunch where you will have traditional high tea. The late afternoon is at your leisure. In the evening, culinary experiences are prepared on the open fire.You will also be taught about the fynbos vegetation in this area of De Hoop Nature Reserve. You will return during late morning for a brunch and a midday siesta. In the afternoon, after the heat of the day, you will go on a short walk. You will return before sunset for a delicious dinner cooked over the fire.