It’s been a minute since I last blogged, okay more like a month, I know. I am not even sure I can call myself a blogger at this rate but you know what? I read many tweets that said whether you post once a month or week or once every 2 months, you are still a blogger and I believe it. If you follow me on social media (if you don’t, why not?) You would have seen I have been attending events, studying and writing for other publications. I finished exams last week and so I am back to content writing and today I want to let you know about a little gem of a place we drove to from Tides River Lodge (30 minutes away).
To be completely honest I had never heard of this beautiful place and after we visited, I could not fathom how I never heard of it… Why isn’t more people raving about it? I feel like this is such a hidden wonder and a few hours is not enough to explore it all. It is only a 3 hour drive from Cape Town in Overberg. My title must have gave it away, let me tell you about our day at De Hoop Nature Reserve…
We arrived by mid morning and were promptly greeted by the friendly staff. The restaurant impressed me with it’s beautiful decor. There is a spa also on site as well as a pool with one of the best views I have ever seen. Shortly, we were taken on tour to see the vast amount of animal life and fynbos on site. There is around 86 mammal species, over 260 bird species and over 1500 plant species at De Hoop Nature Reserve.
As we were driving by the animals and spotted something, the tour guide would give us more context and information about the it. We often stopped to capture pictures or let the majestic creatures cross the road while we watched in awe. Some of what we saw were the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, as well as eland, grey rhebok, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard. Most of these I had never seen before so you can only imagine my excitement!
De Hoop Nature Reserve is enormous, it is 34000 hectares. It is home to the world’s smallest and most threatened plant kingdom – the Cape Floral Kingdom. Fynbos is a totally unique kind of vegetation that makes up 80 per cent of the Cape Floral Kingdom, two-thirds of which are found only in the Cape (nowhere else on earth). Fynbos is in high demand. It’s valuable because it is under threat – due in no small part to agriculture, invading plant species, and human development.
Just when I thought I had the most adventurous day ever, I saw the sand dunes in the distance as we approached it. What ever could be on the other side? A whole sea filled with amazing aquatic life. De Hoop does not only protect the reserve and the coastline. It stretches 3 nautical miles into the sea, protecting dolphins, seals, southern right whales and at least 250 species of fish. Annually, between July and November, southern right whales make their epic journey back to the safety of these rich waters to mate and calve – a spectacular site to witness. Ever heard of the famous Whale Trail? This is where it all happens!
We were taken on a guided tour about the sea to learn about the marine life. It is truly is a sight for sore eyes. I got to hold a star fish and a sea urchin. Thereafter we found an octopus under a rock. Did you know Common octopuses, live only two years, while giant octopuses can live as long as three years but up to five years as long as they don’t mate?
We ended off the day eating a superb lunch and I had a delicious cocktail. I am still mesmerized by everything at De Hoop Nature reserve and I want to return for the whale trail and other tours that they offer. Nothing is more exhilarating to me than to be surronded by nature and animals. This is definitely the experience of a lifetime and if you haven’t been I highly recommend you visit De Hoop Nature Reserve. You can read more about it here.
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