Activities at De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve in South Africa offers a variety of activities for families and nature lovers alike. Go snorkelling, climb the sand dunes, ride along a mountain trail or explore the rock pools, just to name a few.

Do Some Whale Watching

De Hoop Nature Reserve is a prime whale watching area along the Garden Route from July to November every year. Whale watching is a seasonal activity and you can find a wonderful spot on the unspoiled sand dunes to observe these marine mammals and their young.

With a little bit of luck watch, one of the whales breach out of the water slapping its tails and belly-flop. This World Heritage site is one of the World’s TOP Whale breeding spots, about 40% of the planet's Southern Right Whales come to breed here each year.

Go Hiking and Biking at De Hoop

©Shem Compion

De Hoop Nature Reserve in South Africa has some of the best hiking and biking trails in the country. Explore the coast and mountain side on short and longer trails and enjoy the spectacular views of the sand dunes and beaches.

Keep an eye out for passing wildlife. Stop along the way and explore the rock pools and go snorkelling at low tide or have a picnic on the beach.

Explore the Marine Reserve

Go on a 2-hour guided Marine Walk exploring the coastal rock pools, fossilized sand dunes, sandy beaches and rocky shores of the De Hoop Nature Reserve. De Hoop Nature Reserve is an acclaimed nature and marine reserve near Cape Town with a large biodiversity of marine life.

Your qualified guide will point out many interesting marine life forms including limpets, barnacles, kelp, fish, tongue weed, brown mussels, sea urchins, periwinkles, starfish and much much more.

Between June and November, you might be lucky and see a Southern Right Whale breaching out of the water slapping its tails. Departure times depend on the daily low tide, so make sure to confirm with the reception the day before.

Have Fun with the Family at De Hoop

Children of all ages are welcome at this family friendly nature reserve along the Garden Route. There is plenty to do for you and your family at De Hoop Nature Reserve.

For the little ones, there is an all year round Kiddies Programme available that includes star gazing, treasure hunts and lots more. Take the kids biking or play a match of tennis. Bikes and tennis racquets are available.

The unspoiled beach, towering sand dunes, tidal rock pools and diverse fauna and flora prove to be a natural playground for your kids. Not only will they get to play but also learn about the fauna, flora and marine life of this South Africa Nature Reserve.

Spot Birds on a Guided Walk

Embark on a 2-hour walking experience with a qualified field guide in search of the 260 species of birds that have been recorded at the De Hoop Nature Reserve. The focus will be on identifying and learning about the behaviour of the prolific birdlife found in the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

The vlei supports on average more than 8 000 birds with a mixture of waterbirds, shorebirds and bush birds.The length of the walk depends on the participant's fitness level. The walk departs early in the morning, 6 am from October to March and 8 am from April to September.

Cruise the De Hoop Vlei on a Boat Trip


Explore the vlei on a 2-hour Guided Eco Boat Cruise. Your guide will share his knowledge with you as you keep your eyes open for an array of marine life and birds. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and some pastries with jam and cheese during your morning cruise that departs at 11 am.

If you opt for the afternoon cruise departing at 3 pm, you can watch the sunset with a glass of wine and some savoury snacks. If you are staying a few days in De Hoop Nature Reserve, which you should, we recommend going on both the morning and afternoon boat cruise, as each one shows a different side of the vlei.

Gaze at the Night Sky

The conditions at De Hoop Nature Reserve are excellent for stargazing. Experience the stars and constellations of the remarkably clear De Hoop night sky on this 1-hour Star-Gazing Experience.

Look up and learn all about the various star signs and interesting facts of the night sky. The experience starts at 8 pm but times may change according to season and weather conditions so please re-confirm with reception.

Join a Guided Mountain Bike Ride

Cycle past herds of eland, bontebok, mountain zebra and other wildlife species with a qualified field guide. Your experienced guide will share his knowledge of the less obvious natural and historical aspects of the De Hoop Nature Reserve near Cape Town.

Along the way, your guide will help you to interpret the textures and smells of the fynbos. Stop for a bit and linger at the edge of the vlei and spot many pelicans, flamingoes and many more waterbirds.

Play Tennis and Boules

Try your hand a match of tennis on the newly surfaced tennis court at the Opstal area. You can hire rackets or bring your own.

Booking De Hoop Nature Reserve

South Africa Nature Reserves : Game Reserves and National Parks