The first whales of the season have just been sighted at de Hoop! “Great excitement! We’ve spotted the first whales of the season”, said William Stephens of De Hoop Collection. “The usual season for whales is between June/July and November – this is when the southern right whales migrate from Antarctica to breed and raise their calves – so it’s exciting seeing them now, especially in this rather bleak time of Covid-19”.
De Hoop Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area, in the Overberg region, is world-renowned as one the best spot for shore-based whale watching in South Africa. Situated in the heart of the magnificent reserve is De Hoop Collection – a member of Cape Country Routes – offers a wide range of budget-wise accommodation options – from affordable self-catering chalets to upmarket catered lodges.
The marine protected area extends three nautical miles out to sea from the coastline and is a haven for breeding whales and their calves. Koppie Alleen in De Hoop, with its relatively warm and calm waters, is the most important nursery area on the South African coast for southern right whales – resulting in the impressive numbers of whale sightings at De Hoop.
At the first aerial count survey of the 2019 whale season, done in August, over 90% of the total whales seen were at De Hoop; and in 2018 Jean Tresfon, a well-known Marine Conservation photographer, and pilot of aerial surveys done by the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit, was blown away by record-breaking sightings of the southern right whales.
“A highpoint was at the De Hoop Nature Reserve where, from Skipskop Point to Lekkerwater we spotted an incredible record-breaking 1 116 whales, or 558 cow/calf pairs. Three times more than the previous year (2017)”, he said.
Of the total 2018 count of about 1 400, approximately 200 were not in the De Hoop area.
“De Hoop continues to be the best spot for whale watching in South Africa”, says Stephens.
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De Hoop Collection – the first private/public partnership in the South African hospitality industry – opened in the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape in 2007. The Reserve in the Overberg region, a short three hour drive from Cape Town along the world renowned Garden and Whale routes, is the perfect holiday destination for families, couples, groups, honeymooners and wedding parties, family reunions and birthday weekends and an ideal stop-over en route from the Cape Winelands to Plettenberg Bay. De Hoop Collection offers a wide range of accommodation designed to suit all budgets. The staple of De Hoop’s dining scene The Fig Tree Restaurant has been reinvented and has relocated to a new space, The Shed and has a new Wine Cellar – in a silo. De Hoop, a World Heritage site offers world-class whale-watching and is paradise for bird enthusiasts with its more than 260 species of birds including the endangered Cape Vultures. As a colony of almost 200 vultures roost and nest in the Potberg Mountains exciting Vulture hikes and viewing opportunities are offered; other activities include interpretive marine walks, hiking and mountain biking trails, eco boat cruises on the vlei and Nature drives, tennis or boules; and for a bit of pampering there is the ‘ultimate escape’, revitalising beauty and body treatments at the De Hoop Spa. A nature lover’s paradise with unparalleled peace and tranquillity in what may be one of the Cape’s last unspoiled gems. De Hoop Collection is a member of Cape Country Routes.