Lekkerwater Beach Lodge has just opened in the beautiful De Hoop Nature Reserve, 3.5 hours from Cape Town, South Africa. Here’s why you should visit.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
Within an easy drive of Cape Town is De Hoop Nature Reserve, a marine protected area and one of the best places in the country for land-based whale watching. From July to November, the southern right whales journey from Antarctica to these warmer shores around De Hoop to mate and birth their calves. Even in June, we saw breaching whales from Lekkerwater’s breakfast table and a mother and calf drifting along in the sunshine.
Aside from whales, dolphins are a frequent sight – we saw them surfing and jumping on multiple occasions.
De Hoop is also a protected fynbos area. Fynbos is the vegetation native to the Western Cape and part of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Take nature walks along the coastal slopes to discover more about these fascinating plants.
You might also spot bontebok, Cape mountain zebra or eland. There are lots of birds in the reserve, too, including South Africa’s national bird, the blue crane. There are Cape leopards as well, but the most you’re likely to see of these elusive cats is their prints (spoor).
Cape vultures live here, too. The colony is a major conservation success story, after the population was pulled back from the brink of extinction by local farmers. The vultures – an essential bird in ecosystems due to their role in clearing up carcasses that might spread disease – were nearly wiped out due to a reduction in their habitat and poisoning. Part of the project to restore their numbers is the donation of livestock carcasses to the ‘vulture restaurant’. You can visit the clifftop colony in De Hoop and watch them soaring on the thermals.
The new Lekkerwater lodge is on the site of a retreat that once belonged to former South African President, F.W. de Klerk. Prior to de Klerk’s residency, the area had a number of private homes that were cleared to make way for a missile testing ground in 1983. However, after a couple of years, the plan was scrapped and in 1985, the government handed De Hoop over to CapeNature for conservation.
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge – which officially opened in April 2019 and is run by Natural Selection Safaris – consists of a family unit with two bedrooms and six individual chalets, all facing the beach and the Indian Ocean.
Though close together – so as to keep only to the site de Klerk occupied and reduce the lodge’s footprint – the units are all private and the noise of the waves means you can’t hear anything outside your own room. Beds and balconies overlook the surf. There’s a fireplace for chilly winter evenings, when hot water bottles are slipped in between the sheets during turndown.
Lekkerwater currently operates set two-night itineraries, with guests arriving and departing on the same dates.
Meals are communal (think South African cuisine such as bobotie – spiced mince with egg-based topping, served with rice – or a braai/BBQ), though you can choose to dine separately out on the deck for lunch, if you like. Self-service is encouraged – help yourself to a coffee or glass of wine at any time.
You are free to do as you like during your stay at Lekkerwater, though there are scheduled activities you can join.
Go on a guided walk around the rockpools to find creatures such as octopuses and starfish and watch African black oystercatchers, cormorants and gulls. There are also guided fynbos nature walks and a chance to see the vulture colony that nests in the nearby Potberg Mountain cliffs.
Other than that, you can stroll down the beach (empty aside from the occasional Whale Trail hikers) or just kick back on the deck and spot whales or dolphins in the ocean.
Need to know
Stays are currently for two nights only, with set arrival dates (contact us to find out more).
All food and drinks (aside from Champagne and premium spirits) are included in the rate.
Activities are included, too.
Getting there: Hire a car – it’s an easy 3.5-hour drive from Cape Town and you don’t need a 4×4 – or we can organise a car and driver. Helicopter transfers are possible, too.
More about De Hoop and the Whale Coast:
South Africa’s Whale Coast