Vlei, the name given to the voluminous body of water on the De Hoop (Cape) Nature Reserve, it is moving in ebbs and flows. A symphony of sultry sounds sing out of the nearest tree, the hammerkops and black oyster catchers are elated in the moments of sun that kiss their feathers, such juvenile joy, almost trying to out do one another decibel by decibel, the wind has a slight chill as it moves the almost wild water and besides this, silence.
I’m seated at one of two swimming pools here at “De Hoop Collection”, this one in particular is sold as an “adults only” swimming pool (and sadly is not what you may have pondered by it’s description, for me anyway) with the promise of utter sophisticated solitude thanks to often boisterousß children being sent to swim in the “family pool” a few plaas type cottages away you are promised lawns laden with pool loungers and picturesque views as far as the water flows and a flying crow goes.
I imagine , This also makes Spa treatments far more luxurious as from what I can see the spa beds all look out onto the voluptuous Vlei. I envision post pedicure and a hot stone massage you could drink some tea or as I am now, a glass of The Berrio -Weathergirl and plough into a ploughman’s platter for two, even if you’re travelling alone and forget all together that there is anywhere else to possibly be.
No place as pleasant as where I am right now, I assure you!
Sadly, It’s day two, the final of my little “off the grid” hiatus and I’ve just returned from the Marine Protected beach a mere 17km away, a scene from Survivor sees more humanity than this photogenic, secluded spot.
The basic beauty of De Hoop, which one can almost miss from their minimalist website is the sheer magnificence that appeals to: every eye, palette, budget and even, age.
From expats with large DSLR lenses and extended binoculars looking for the minuscule yet Majestic Malakite kingfisher on an afternoon boat cruise, a 3 year old gushingly giggling over the blue bummed baboons on the lawn in the misty mornings, or even a gay boy from the winelands who cant stand the feeling of beach sand between his toes and the way it sticks to every part of you like the remanence of a bad relationship, yet still walks for 6km on bare sand to find the perfect hideaway.
There’s a moment for every visitor, whereby you just have to take a moment of silence, stand still and have Vicky Sampsons “my Afrikan dream” slowly strum in your mind.
The accommodation offering is no different; from contemporary Cloete Suites, where I am staying-obviously, to quaint affordable rondawils perched about the Vlei in and amongst nature, I promise you, it doesn’t get closer than that. I’ll probably book there next, despite only having the absolute bare minimum in terms of amenities, this is possibly the most authentic and afforable of experiences here at De Hoop, I believe.
If you’re with child or have many already- I pity you- the village huts looked sweet I say this as I cycled (these are available from reception) to the Ostriches and larger buck at the entrance to the De Hoop Accommodation area.
From what I could tell these “chalets” were larger, family type self catering styled spaces with kitchens, perfect for family time and a safe space for the kids to be exposed to the local beauty South Africa has to offer.
Just under three hours from the Cape Town, if your car is suited to slightly off tar travelling there’s no excuse not to add De Hoop to your next staycation. As Vicky Sampson sings “All I hear are the voices, telling me to go”
Getting to De Hoop Collection
Make sure you refuel, a full tank, before heading to De Hoop. It’s quite the way in (don’t trust the GPS lady she’s a liar) you’ll also do a bit of driving on the reserve for the beach or nature drives, about 50-80km so keep this in mind when planning.
-A 4 x 4 or raised suspension car is advised as the roads are not entirely level, especially after rain. So perhaps leave the Ferrari at home that weekend?
What to Pack-Accommodation
For me once you’re here you’re here, so bring with anything from civilasation that you may enjoy throughout your time here. (In hindsight for me, a bottle of Six Dogs Blue Gin, a few more six packs of Pink Tonic from Fitch & Leedes, a few magazines and some heathly Woolies type snacks, even more goodies if you’re booked into a self catering option)
As much as The rates are sold as Dinner Bed and Breakfast, I think a few treats in room would have made snacking easier. There are treats available at the on-site Curio Shop and if budget doesn’t matter by all means shop treats there. However if carefully curated holidays are you thing, throw in your favourite Woolies sweet tubs, prawn cocktails and a few veggie crisps and promise, you’ll thank me later.
What to pack-The Beach
After 17km, you’ll park your car in a lot and need to walk to the start of a few short trails leading to the Whale water. So perhaps back both trainers and slops or just trainers which you take off at the beach.
Pack reading material, some snacks because the on-site “food truck” is not reliable despite its advertised business hours.
Use a good 30+ SPF sunscreen and pack extra when you head to the beach. There’s little to no shade so travel to what I dubbed the second beach, just over a few rocks and down a wooden ladder.
There are great little caves and larger rocks you can hide under to protect your face etc. There are toilets at the entrance, but these are not in the best condition so pack a hand sanitizer and perhaps a disposable seat protector.
What to Pack-Boat Cruise
LENSES LENSES LENSES. If you’re using a DSLR camera with attachable lenses make sure you have a great zoom lens on hand or something suited to bird or nature photography. I missed quit a few beautiful birds, bee hives and some amazing landscape shots for not taking the right equipment.
Snacks and drinks are served on the boat which is great but be sure to use the bathroom before the boats leaves it’s about 2 hours on the water, with no loo break.
DE HOOP COMPETITION | Closes 31 January 2018
ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A 2-NIGHT STAY FOR TWO IN ONE OF DE HOOP’S UPMARKET SUITES
TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY
1. Suite type dependent on availability. Includes Dinner, Bed and breakfast. Excludes other meals.
2. Valid March-September 2018. Excludes public holidays, school holidays and special events
3. Excludes transport to and from De Hoop Nature Reserve.
4. Standard booking terms and conditions apply.
5. Only one entry per person per email address is allowed. Duplicate entries will be disqualified
6. Entrants must be 18 years of age and over.
7. Employees and suppliers of De Hoop Collection and their immediate families may not enter.
8. The competition closes on 31 January 2018 at Midnight (the sponsor has the right to change this date).
9. Winners will be announced within a week of closing date after a random draw takes place (the sponsor has the right to change this date).
10. The winner must allow the competition sponsors to make their identity as the winner public, as well as provide a recent photograph for publicity purposes.
11. The sponsor’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
12. The sponsor reserves the right to cancel or amend the terms and conditions of this competition.