Looking for a place to relax, unwind and experience outdoor activities? De Hoop Nature Reserve offers exactly that and more. Do not let the blissful silence fool you. There is a lot more than meets the eye. The myriad of languages around you, provides proof that this is a popular destination.
The drive and 40km gravel road to reach De Hoop is worth every minute, because here is where adventure and luxury meet.
Expect superb dining, fine wines and treatment exceeding five stars. The well groomed staff, neatly uniformed and knowledgable, have one goal in mind – to ensure a memorable experience for all guests. They regard themselves as family and by the time I had left, I felt part of that “family”.
Every moment of the stay was priceless. It is impossible to highlight a single experience. From the moment we parked our car everything was up to standard. Up to standard does not quite do this place justice. The service, food, treatment – the whole establishment, goes over and beyond what one can describe.
Upon arriving we received a tasty welcome drink. Indeed a pleasurable thirst quencher after the long drive. The manager on duty showed us to our room and arranged for the fire place to be lit later that evening. A fully stocked fridge, fruit basket and bottle of house wine, tasty I should add, was ready for our enjoyment. The rooms were beautifully decorated, neat and superbly cleaned. Even visiting a self catering house on the De Hoop Vlei, which was last used in July, was as clean as if guests were expected to arrive any minute.
We freshened up and made sure the Fig Tree Restaurant had our booking for dinner. Taking a walk on the grounds proved to be every bit the tourist, writer, artist and photographer’s dream.
Day one broke with great excitement. Adventure was waiting. Our tour guide came to introduce herself which provided a lovely personal touch. The personal attention was refreshing and unique.
As the first guests to be taken up for the prestige Cape vulture watching, this was not only a wonderful experience, but also a huge privilege. Hiking up the mountain proved to be somewhat challenging for this very unfit city girl. Once we reached the top, a whole new world dawned on me. The magnificent vultures played along and provided a show worthy of their equally magnificent surroundings.
Coming down the mountain was far easier. Our baboon friends entertained us by destroying the drinks baskets and thoroughly enjoying our refreshments. Reaching the picnic site, the havoc they caused met us. It was difficult to be angry as we were in their territory after all.
Both tour guides showed excellent plant, bird and other animal knowledge. Being bombarded with such information may be tedious, but these tour guides were anything but boring.
Our adventurous day continued with an eco boat cruise where we were delighted with snacks and house wine. Once again the tour guide proved to be every bit as knowledgeable, pleasant and professional as the previous guides that took us for the vulture watching. On the De Hoop Vlei we were spoilt with a wide variety of birds and even had the privilege of visiting “The Milk Room” on the opposite side of the Vlei.
After yet another eventful and informative tour, the therapist on duty at the spa was ready to provide us with a much needed back, neck and shoulder massage. Absolute bliss. No surprise that here too, the treatment was professional and the therapist friendly and excellent in her trade.
What a treat to receive a small gift at dinner that night to celebrate Women’s Day! To end of the eventful day our fire place was lit by the time we got back from dinner. Tired after the day’s activities, we turned in early on our last night. Our room was warm and inviting. All ready for a good night’s rest.
The following morning, and our last day, came too soon. After a hearty breakfast it was time for our guided mountain bike tour. Once again the tour was enjoyable, interesting and memorable. What a treat to be taken to Tierhoek. This is where the leopards come to drink and although they have not been spotted in months, we could smell the cat urine.
De Hoop’s scenery will kidnap you to a work of nature and excellence. Expect tastes that linger, delightful smells and a menu carefully planned by the chefs. Guests are left with the difficult decision of choosing. The restaurant is pleasant, the staff has good knowledge of the wine and even the music is delightful.
Be assured that your tour guides, like all other staff, will be well trained, knowledgeable and friendly. Your stay will be memorable, enjoyable and luxurious.
Being this close to nature is indescribable. To bring the full picture to words will require far more than one article. A visit to De Hoop will not leave you disappointed. This was definitely one of the most enjoyable places I have ever had the privilege of visiting.