De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop is a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and beach lovers. This marine reserve, situated in the Overberg region only three hours from Cape Town, is one of the largest in Africa and has a fascinating array of plant and animal life. During the winter and early summer months it is particularly popular amongst whale watchers. The iconic Whale Trail is a five-day slackpacking trail with gorgeous coastal scenery.

Main attractions

  • The beautiful waves and salt water of the adjacent De Hoop Marine Protected Area extending 5km out to sea (great ocean views from atop a sand dune)
  • Whale watching is excellent in season
  • The only remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture in the Western Cape occurs in the Potberg section of the reserve
  • Birding on De Hoop Vlei
  • The five-day Whale Trail

Stilgat’s ladders invited adventure and snorkelling in magical turquoise pools. The adults sat on the rock pinnacles and reminisced about the barefoot freedom of childhood holidays, while the children went off to explore rock pools, weaving moments into memories.

– Ron Swilling, Wild 24


  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Birding
  • Picnicking
  • Swimming and beachcombing
  • Game viewing

Top sightings: Southern right whale, bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, eland, grey rhebuck, caracal, yellow mongoose, Cape vulture

Accommodation: Self catering cottages, camping, overnight hiking chalets

Gate times: 07:00 – 18:00

Nearest centre: Bredasdorp is 50km away (about 40 minutes).

Know before you go

  • The last section of road form Bredasdorp to the entrance gate of the reserve is gravel.
  • The Whale Trail is one of the most popular hikes in South Africa and it may be necessary to book a year in advance.

Contact reserve: +27 (0)28 542 1114

Whale Trail: CapeNature Central Reservations +27 (0)21 483 0190, [email protected]


Visit De Hoop Nature Reserve’s home page.