De Hoop Nature Reserve

Dunes at De Hoop

Travel to De Hoop Nature Reserve – Fynbos, Mammals & Whales

Located only 3 hours from Cape Town lies a special nature reserve situated in the Overberg region, near the southern tip of Africa. The 34,000 ha. De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of the largest natural areas in Western Cape and is a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and, during the winter and early summer months, whale watchers.

The adjacent De Hoop Marine Protected Area, which extends three nautical miles (5 km) out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa and provides a sanctuary for a vast and fascinating array of marine life. A typical Mediterranean climate prevails in the region – summers are warm and winters mild. De Hoop is important for the conservation of lowland fynbos and has the largest conserved area for this rare vegetation type. The Bredasdorp/Agulhas and Infanta area has an estimated 1,500 plant species (of approximately 9,000 species found in the Cape Floristic Region).

De Hoop is home to some 86 mammal species. Most notable are the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, as well as eland, grey rhebuck, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard. Marine mammals such as dolphins and seals occur in the waters off the coast and southern right whales calve and mate in the sheltered bays of De Hoop each year between May and December. At least 250 species of fish occur in the marine protected area. De Hoop is famous for its variety of resident and migratory bird species and more than 260 species have been recorded on the reserve. The De Hoop Vlei attracts large numbers of water birds. The only remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture in the Western Cape occurs at Potberg. The Potberg Enviromental Education Centre promotes understanding of the region’s environment.

A number of scenic hiking trails, suitable for different levels of fitness, take travellers through this beautiful Park. Drive around to observe game or birds in their natural environment. See the whales frolicking in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

During season, relax on the wide deserted sand dunes whilst looking out for whales.

De Hoop Nature Reserve is situated around 50 km east of Bredasdorp and approximately 260 km from Cape Town. The reserve may be approached from either Bredasdorp or Swellendam. The last 50 km of either route is along gravel roads.

  • Look out for whales in the marine area of the park
  • View some of the 86 different wildlife species, including rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra
  • Hike one of the scenic routes through the rare Fynbos plants


Africa Travel Information