Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop

WHERE THE MOUNTAINS MEET THE SEA

A mere three (and a bit) hour drive from Cape Town, in the eastern, most exclusive sector of De Hoop Nature Reserve, is Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop. Undoubtedly one of the most glorious coastal reserves in Africa, the area’s extraordinary beauty and blissful seclusion led ex-President FW de Klerk to choose the location for his ‘Camp David.’ The reserve is also famous for some of the best whale watching on the planet when, from July to November, Southern Right whales and their offspring flock here in their hundreds from Antarctica. It’s not simply whales either and you’ll also spot sizeable pods of dolphin and all sorts of marine life in this – the ultimate, land-based marine safari.

Lekkerwater itself (literally meaning ‘the place of good water’) offers a homely and comfortable beach experience in a magical setting. Each of the seven rooms are located right on a six-kilometre stretch of private beach, complete with stunning rock pools and fish life. Activities-wise, we’ve got walks with experienced naturalists, an array of fynbos to be discovered, a plethora of marine life to be explored, and a rare vulture breeding colony to be spotted (and that’s without mentioning the whales!)

Per Person From

ZAR 2,950

Details, Details

Why Book this Camp?

  • Journey through time in one of the most historic and scenically beautiful locations on the African continent.
  • Learn about the marine life, fynbos and pristine environment of the unusual reserve.
  • Eat dinner on the beach with the sand between your toes and the region’s finest wines on the table. There certainly aren’t many places to enjoy this in South Africa…
  • Experience some of the world’s best land-based whale watching straight from your bedroom.
  • Enjoy staying in a cosy and intimate lodge. Here, you will arrive as strangers and depart two days later as friends and comrades.

At-a-Glance

  • 7 rooms: 6 twin/double, 1 family unit with a second loft bedroom.
  • Ensuite bathrooms with indoor showers.
  • Wifi available: In room only (please note: there is limited phone signal at De Hoop).
  • Hairdryers: We try to encourage guests to enjoy the natural look! Hairdryers only available on request.
  • Battery charging facilities: In room.
  • Child policy: we welcome children aged 6 years and older. For children under 6, please contact us for details.
  • Disabled access: please enquire with reservations.
  • The lodge operates on two-night stays, with guaranteed departures every second day. All rates are based on a pppn basis (x two for a two-night stay).

What’s included?

All meals, daily activities and local drinks.

What’s not included?

  • Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities; personal travel insurance. We are unable to offer laundry facilities in the camp as all laundry is done off site.

Camp dates

De Hoop is open all year round

Soft opening – 15th April to 31st July 2019
High Season –
1st August 2019 to 30th April 2020

Activities

  • Lace up your boots for a walk through the fynbos. A part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, you’ll discover thousands of endemic plant species in the reserve including the national flower of South Africa, the King Protea.
  • Delve into the history of the area with informative talks.
  • Hop in a vehicle and drive to the Potberg Mountains to see the spectacular Cape Vulture colony (fit fiddles may even walk there).
  • Experience some of the best land-based whale watching in the world: as well as southern right whales, you’ll also spot the less common Bryde’s whales and perhaps even humpbacks as well as dolphins cresting the waves.
  • Explore the tidal pools and caves on a marine walk, keeping your eyes peeled for multi-coloured schools of fish and fascinating marine life.
  • Take a stroll amongst the pristine sand dunes and enjoy a sundowner from atop your castle of sand!
  • With over 250 species of birds recorded in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, you’ll definitely be able to tick more than a few sorts from your list.

Location

At Natural Selection, we are committed to building lodges that are ‘clean and green’ and leave the lightest possible footprint on the environment; De Hoop is no exception. The lodge has been precisely built on and within the disturbed ground from FW De Klerk’s retreat. The property’s electricity is generated  from the sun and wind; grey water treatment is the latest and cleanest; we have a zero single-use plastic policy and the vast majority of our supplies (and superb wines) are produced from within 40 miles from the lodge.

When To Go

The whale season throughout the winter months of June to October is big drawcard for Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, but it’s not the only one and De Hoop really is a year-round destination. During summer (November to May), days are sunny and warm and blue skies stretch as far as the eye can see. Whilst the sea is still chilly, the water in the inland rock pools heats up nicely and it’s is a wonderful time to swim, stroll on the beach and enjoy the long, lazy summer evenings. And whilst you may not find whales, dolphins are ever present and an afternoon spent watching them from your veranda is magical.

As for the winter season, the first whales usually begin to arrive in the bay in June and the season can stretch to the beginning of November. The best months for whale-watching are considered to be August and September, but there can be as many as 400 – 600 whales present at any time. The winter days are shorter and perhaps a little colder and cloudier, but this certainly doesn’t detract from the activities and experience on offer – and it’s nothing a warm jacket can’t fix!

Logistics

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is located in De Hoop Nature Reserve, an exclusive coastal reserve located about halfway between Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay/Knysna on the world-famous Garden Route. The drive takes around three (and a bit!) hours from Cape Town, via Bredasdorp or Swellendam. The lodge is around 65 kilometres from each. Guests to Lekkerwater Beach Lodge will arrive in the reserve via the park headquarters and we have a dedicated parking area for vehicles, around 15 kilometres from the lodge. For driving directions from Plettenberg Bay, George and Knysna, please click here, and for directions from Cape Town, please click here.

Alternatively, De Hoop is around an hour’s flight from Cape Town in a Cessna Caravan.

Please note that this isn’t a traditional ‘fly-and-flop’ beach destination and the lodge operates on two-night stays, with guaranteed departures every second day. Please download our departure dates for 2019 and 2020 here.

Camp Story

The lodge and the location simply ooze history. Just five miles to the east is the Klipdrift Cave, home of the earliest human remains that date as far back as 64,000 years, perhaps even 100,000. Before these discoveries, the previous earliest known records of modern man came from caves and excavations in North Africa and Europe dating between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, so this discovery is quite something! We also know that early Khoi Khoi people walked these beaches long before explorer Bartholomew Diaz anchored his caravel in 1488 and the Dutch explorers and settlers of the late 1600s. Then, on his search for the best beach location in the region, Bill Green selected the site to build his family’s cottage in 1939, calling it Lekkerwater (“the place of good water”).

More recently, between 1990 and 1994, the area became the ‘Cape David’ of the former South African President, FW de Klerk. The site was selected because of its closeness to Cape Town, combined with its extraordinary natural beauty and solitude. It was here that De Klerk thought and planned, mused and deliberated, far away from the stresses and demands of the politics of the time. Nelson Mandela was foremost on his mind, as was how to drag the old South Africa out of Apartheid and isolation and back into the modern world. This story, as well as the broader strokes of the country’s own history, will be weaved into every stay here…

Why Book this Camp?

  • Journey through time in one of the most historic and scenically beautiful locations on the African continent.
  • Learn about the marine life, fynbos and pristine environment of the unusual reserve.
  • Eat dinner on the beach with the sand between your toes and the region’s finest wines on the table. There certainly aren’t many places to enjoy this in South Africa…
  • Experience some of the world’s best land-based whale watching straight from your bedroom.
  • Enjoy staying in a cosy and intimate lodge. Here, you will arrive as strangers and depart two days later as friends and comrades.

At-a-Glance

  • 7 rooms: 6 twin/double, 1 family unit with a second loft bedroom.
  • Ensuite bathrooms with indoor showers.
  • Wifi available: In room only (please note: there is limited phone signal at De Hoop).
  • Hairdryers: We try to encourage guests to enjoy the natural look! Hairdryers only available on request.
  • Battery charging facilities: In room.
  • Child policy: we welcome children aged 6 years and older. For children under 6, please contact us for details.
  • Disabled access: please enquire with reservations.
  • The lodge operates on two-night stays, with guaranteed departures every second day. All rates are based on a pppn basis (x two for a two-night stay).

What’s included?

All meals, daily activities and local drinks.

What’s not included?

  • Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities; personal travel insurance. We are unable to offer laundry facilities in the camp as all laundry is done off site.

Camp dates

De Hoop is open all year round

Soft opening – 15th April to 31st July 2019
High Season –
1st August 2019 to 30th April 2020

Activities

  • Lace up your boots for a walk through the fynbos. A part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, you’ll discover thousands of endemic plant species in the reserve including the national flower of South Africa, the King Protea.
  • Delve into the history of the area with informative talks.
  • Hop in a vehicle and drive to the Potberg Mountains to see the spectacular Cape Vulture colony (fit fiddles may even walk there).
  • Experience some of the best land-based whale watching in the world: as well as southern right whales, you’ll also spot the less common Bryde’s whales and perhaps even humpbacks as well as dolphins cresting the waves.
  • Explore the tidal pools and caves on a marine walk, keeping your eyes peeled for multi-coloured schools of fish and fascinating marine life.
  • Take a stroll amongst the pristine sand dunes and enjoy a sundowner from atop your castle of sand!
  • With over 250 species of birds recorded in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, you’ll definitely be able to tick more than a few sorts from your list.

Conservation

At Natural Selection, we are committed to building lodges that are ‘clean and green’ and leave the lightest possible footprint on the environment; De Hoop is no exception. The lodge has been precisely built on and within the disturbed ground from FW De Klerk’s retreat. The property’s electricity is generated  from the sun and wind; grey water treatment is the latest and cleanest; we have a zero single-use plastic policy and the vast majority of our supplies (and superb wines) are produced from within 40 miles from the lodge.

When To Go

The whale season throughout the winter months of June to October is big drawcard for Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, but it’s not the only one and De Hoop really is a year-round destination. During summer (November to May), days are sunny and warm and blue skies stretch as far as the eye can see. Whilst the sea is still chilly, the water in the inland rock pools heats up nicely and it’s is a wonderful time to swim, stroll on the beach and enjoy the long, lazy summer evenings. And whilst you may not find whales, dolphins are ever present and an afternoon spent watching them from your veranda is magical.

As for the winter season, the first whales usually begin to arrive in the bay in June and the season can stretch to the beginning of November. The best months for whale-watching are considered to be August and September, but there can be as many as 400 – 600 whales present at any time. The winter days are shorter and perhaps a little colder and cloudier, but this certainly doesn’t detract from the activities and experience on offer – and it’s nothing a warm jacket can’t fix!

Logistics

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is located in De Hoop Nature Reserve, an exclusive coastal reserve located about halfway between Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay/Knysna on the world-famous Garden Route. The drive takes around three (and a bit!) hours from Cape Town, via Bredasdorp or Swellendam. The lodge is around 65 kilometres from each. Guests to Lekkerwater Beach Lodge will arrive in the reserve via the park headquarters and we have a dedicated parking area for vehicles, around 15 kilometres from the lodge. For driving directions from Plettenberg Bay, George and Knysna, please click here, and for directions from Cape Town, please click here.

Alternatively, De Hoop is around an hour’s flight from Cape Town in a Cessna Caravan.

Please note that this isn’t a traditional ‘fly-and-flop’ beach destination and the lodge operates on two-night stays, with guaranteed departures every second day. Please download our departure dates for 2019 and 2020 here.

Camp Story

The lodge and the location simply ooze history. Just five miles to the east is the Klipdrift Cave, home of the earliest human remains that date as far back as 64,000 years, perhaps even 100,000. Before these discoveries, the previous earliest known records of modern man came from caves and excavations in North Africa and Europe dating between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, so this discovery is quite something! We also know that early Khoi Khoi people walked these beaches long before explorer Bartholomew Diaz anchored his caravel in 1488 and the Dutch explorers and settlers of the late 1600s. Then, on his search for the best beach location in the region, Bill Green selected the site to build his family’s cottage in 1939, calling it Lekkerwater (“the place of good water”).

More recently, between 1990 and 1994, the area became the ‘Cape David’ of the former South African President, FW de Klerk. The site was selected because of its closeness to Cape Town, combined with its extraordinary natural beauty and solitude. It was here that De Klerk thought and planned, mused and deliberated, far away from the stresses and demands of the politics of the time. Nelson Mandela was foremost on his mind, as was how to drag the old South Africa out of Apartheid and isolation and back into the modern world. This story, as well as the broader strokes of the country’s own history, will be weaved into every stay here…

Accommodations

The seven rooms at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge are positioned along six kilometres of pristine white sand. Our dream was for the spectacular vistas to take centre stage and each is fronted by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlook the Indian Ocean and marine life ahead. Each is positioned perfectly for a unique view over the surroundings, and small verandas outside provide the perfect spot to soak up the magic. Inside, the rooms take inspiration from the natural beauty of the reserve and are earthy and comfortable. A wood-burning stove takes away the chill in the winter mornings and evenings and each has an ensuite bathroom with amenities.

At the main area, expect the same fabulous views and a wraparound deck from which to enjoy them from. An interactive, open kitchen is at the heart of the lodge and guests will dine, family-style, at the indoor tables or outside, feet-in-the-sand style, on the beach.

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Wildlife

If there’s one animal associated with De Hoop, it would be the whale. From July to November (and sometimes even early December), southern right whales migrate here from Antarctica in their hundreds – even thousands. They’re not alone either. Just offshore is the De Hoop Marine Protected Area, essentially a game reserve in the sea where there can be no fishing or marine exploitation of any form and as a visitor at De Hoop, you’ll spot carefree pods of dolphins and all sorts of marine life. The good news is that whale numbers are climbing and in 2018, a total of 1116 whales were spotted in the annual September aerial count, almost double the average numbers for this time of year.

Inland, on the rolling grassy plains, you may be lucky enough to spot a rare Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, rhebok and even eland. Leopard and caracal are also said to live in the area but are much harder to spot. It’s also one of South Africa’s most important birding areas with over 260 recorded species in the reserve!

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The Landscape

De Hoop is something of a secret for most visitors – and South Africans themselves. Located just over 3 hours away from Cape Town, the 34,000-hectare reserve is a glorious melee of fynbos and beach, sand dunes and wetlands, all framed by the dramatic Potberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean. It is of course famous for whale-watching, but the landscape itself is just as magnificent. The area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, classified as a World Heritage Site in 2004, and everywhere you turn you’ll find all manner of plant species, flowers and ecosystems. In fact, 12 of those species are found nowhere else in the world! And the best bit of all? As no one else knows about it, you’ll have the stunning reserve all to yourself…

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