“It’s more than just a retreat – it’s total surrender”
De Hoop is one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature. This beautiful reserve is a favourite for hikers, cyclists, and bird and whale watchers. The reserve, which is 34 000 hectares, is just three hours from Cape Town, in the Overberg.
The neighbouring marine reserve, which extends 5km out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa. It conserves a vast and fascinating variety of marine life. The reserve is a World Heritage Site.
De Hoop has one of the best hiking trails in South Africa: the Whale Trail. This route offers coastal and mountain walking, with spectacular views and, of course, plenty of opportunities for whale watching. This route is a five-day trail featuring well-equipped accommodation on each of the five nights, including the newly-built Noetsie cottages, which are your stopover between days two and three.
To get a taste of De Hoop Nature Reserve, watch the video below.
To find out more, download the De Hoop Nature Reserve brochure.
Please note: The management of the tourism activities and accommodation facilities of the cottages and camping sites at De Hoop Nature Reserve (excluding the Whale Trail) is handled by De Hoop Collection.
How to get there
Potberg & Whale Trail:
Take the N2 from Cape Town to Caledon. Turn right at the second turn off to Caledon, where you will find the Venster Restaurant on your left side. Drive through Caledon and then continue on the R316 to Bredasdorp, via Napier. At the 3rd four-way stop street in Bredasdorp, turn left into All Saints Street (Engen garage on left corner). Travel approximately 8 km on the R319 to Swellendam (past the silos on right hand side). Turn right onto the gravel road signposted Infanta, Malgas and De Hoop. Travel for approximately 50 km straight on to Potberg. (Do not turn right at the De Hoop turn-off). Follow whale trail signs. Go past Ouplaas School. Potberg gate is approximately 10 km from the school.
Koppie Alleen & De Hoop Collection:
Take N2 to Caledon. From Caledon drive through Napier to Bredasdorp. From Bredasdorp take the R319 to Swellendam. At about 6kms turn right – sign posted De Hoop/Malgas/Infanta. Follow the gravel road for 35kms until you see a sign to the right – De Hoop Nature Reserve.
GPS Co-Ordinates (for reserve office/campsite): 34.454040 S 20.400098 E
Office hours: 07:30–16:00
Tel: +27 (0)28 542 1114/5
Whale Trail and permit bookings Tel: +27 (0)21 483 0190
Day 1: Potberg to Cupidoskraal[caption id="attachment_4018" align="aligncenter" width="632"] Potberg Hut[/caption]
Trail distance: 15km Estimated time: 8 hours Get up early to tackle the first, and toughest, stretch of the trail. Hikers will walk to the top of Potberg (611m), which has breathtaking panoramic views of Swellendam, the Indian Ocean and the Breede River, Cape Infanta and Cape Agulhas. Keep your eyes open for the rare Cape vulture. The trail descends along the watershed above Grootkloof towards Cupidoskraal, where you will find erica and protea species that grow only here and nowhere else in the world! You can end your day by cooling off in the refreshing dam.
Day 2: Cupidoskraal to Noetsie[caption id="attachment_2353" align="aligncenter" width="632"] Cupidoskraal[/caption] Trail distance: 14.7km Estimated time: 8 hours On the second day, hikers walk to the Noetsie cottages. The Noetsie cottages have just been completely rebuilt on the footprint of the old cabins, with minimum ecological impact in mind. Day Two's trail follows the crest of the Potberg through mountain fynbos with unequalled views of the Indian Ocean and the Breede River. The route finally exits Potberg and leads onto limestone hills with strikingly different fynbos, then descends to the enchanting bay of Noetsie at the coast.
Day 3: Noetsie to Hamerkop[caption id="attachment_4019" align="aligncenter" width="632"] The newly built Noetsie huts
Trail distance: 7.8km Estimated time: 6 hours (3 hours of actual walking with the rest suggested for several break periods) There is ample time for exploring the coastline on this stretch, as day three takes you along the coast, with the Marine Protected Area on your left. Stilgat is a most enjoyable stop. Several vantage points lie ahead until you reach a beach stretching a short distance to Hamerkop Cottage.
Day 4: Hamerkop to Vaalkrans[caption id="attachment_2354" align="aligncenter" width="632"] Hamerkop Hut[/caption] Trail distance: 10.5km Estimated time: 6 hours The long beachwalk on day four can be quite strenuous. Allow time to rest. On the way you pass Lekkerwater lodge. Look out for the shy oystercatchers and whitebreasted cormorants basking in the sun. The intertidal pools on the wave-cut rock platforms and coral reefs are remarkable sights. The last stretch to Vaalkrans ambles through diverse coastal vegetation.
Day 5: Vaalkrans to Koppie Alleen[caption id="attachment_2357" align="aligncenter" width="632"] Vaalkrans hut[/caption]
Trail distance: 7km Estimated time: 6 hours (3 hours of actual walking with the rest suggested for several break periods) This is a short hike through coastal thickets with ample time to soak up the last of the scenic landscapes. There are two alternative routes for high and low tide. Hippo Pools offers great swimming before the path leads up to Koppie Alleen where the trail ends.[caption id="attachment_2361" align="alignnone" width="176"] Whale Trail Map (right click the image, save as)[/caption] Accommodation There are five comfortable cottages along the Whale Trail. Luggage transport This is slack-packing at its finest. Your extra luggage is transported every day to the next cottage, so all you need to carry on the trail is a day pack. The 60-litre transport containers are waiting for you at Potberg cottage. Up to 14 units per group of 12 are allowed, or seven units per group of six. Hikers pay for each container transported to the next cottage, including units used as cooler boxes on the trail. Please note The Denel Overberg Testing Range occasionally uses the eastern sector of De Hoop Nature Reserve for missile testing. CapeNature receives limited notice of these tests. Although we try to minimise disruption to our hikers, it may be necessary for us to evacuate groups from the Whale Trail while the tests are being conducted. By participating in the Whale Trail, you acknowledge and accept that missile testing may be conducted at any particular time. You further accept to indemnify CapeNature, its employees, agents, contractors and any other persons affiliated thereto, from any damage, loss or injury, which may occur as a result of an evacuation or otherwise. For more information please contact our booking office on +27 (0)21 483 0190.
Pak 'n piekniekmandjie en ry tot by Koppie-Alleen! Fantastiese strand en lifelike plankiespad om tot by strand te stap. Ons sal weer en weer gaan!
I have just done this amazing trip through mountains and along the coast with 10 of my women friends. What a memorable journey! What made it all even more special is how the staff runs this very smooth operation! The service is outstanding and exceeded my expectations by miles. And the cherry on top was following: I dropped my cell phone on the last day when we were back at the starting point. I only realized it half way back to Cape Town and phoned Lesley Ann to please help me find it. In her professional and kind style she insured me they will have a good look and get back to me. Not only did they go through the effort to look for it and finding it somewhere on the ground, they also couriered it to my doorstep WITHOUT any CHARGE! All I got to here is: “That is the service we give We are nice people ” And I can assure you, the staff is more than just “nice”, they are amazing, warm, joyful and very professional!
I will return as many times as I can, that's for sure!
Wunderschöne traumhafte Einblicke.
Wir hatten das Glück den Marine walk morgens früh um 7.00 mit Lous zu unternehmen.
Es waren wunderbare Eindrücke, viele Dinge die wir alleine nie gesehen und Wege die wir nicht gegangen wären.
Vielen Dank Louis!!!
Die Unterkunft war sehr originell und das Restaurant (Frühstück + Abendessen) super.
Sehr zu empfehlen.
What a gorgeous place teaming with a diverse range of animal life on land, in the air, and underwater. Idealistic beaches , "like the ones in paintings" as a friend described them. I will be back.
How do you want to get involved?
Bookings are processed through our Call Centre during office hours Monday to Friday 07h30 to 16h30 and Saturday 08h00 until 12h00 noon (CAT).
Our friendly tourism booking officers will take you through the booking process and answer all enquiries.