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The De Hoop Camino – Luxury Coastal Trail

January 26th 2023  |   Countries, Miscellaneous, Unique Experiences, South Africa  |  by   Katy Duncan
The De Hoop Camino – Luxury Coastal Trail

Experience the beauty of the De Hoop Nature Reserve on foot. This is a mix of coastal walks, sea life, fynbos, comfortable accommodation and wonder.

Follow the spectacular nature walks along the scenic trails and footpaths, secluded beaches, secret coves and rugged fynbos covered coastline of De Hoop Nature Reserve, on an unforgettable nature walk. Your five days of blissful walking will take you from the comfort of Lekkerwater Beach Lodge to the luxury of Morukuru Beach Lodge, where you will uncover this unspoiled, untouched reserve, filled with a treasure trove of fauna, flora, fynbos, pristine beaches and abundant sea life. This is an exceptional nature based experience. The indulgence of wide-open spaces, peacefulness and gorgeous sea views will take you on an exciting journey. Simply breathe in the salty sea air and escape. This is a walk for those seeking solace in nature … all to be enjoyed at your own pace.

Day 1 & 2: Guided marine and nature walks around Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
Your first day on this walking trail starts with an optional 4 mile walk from the parking area, into Lekkerwater Beach Lodge where you will spend your first two glorious nights. The De Hoop Nature Reserve extends along the southern coast of the Western Cape and Lekkerwater is situated approximately half way along this spectacular reserve. This is an off-grid coastal escape surrounded by the rich natural history of the region, from the endemic fynbos and inter-tidal ecosystems to the remarkable mammal and birdlife.

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge - The De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge – The De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

You may spot schools of surfing dolphins, countless bird sightings (including the endangered black oystercatcher) while enjoying marine life thriving amongst the gullies and rock pools. Between July and November, Southern Right whales migrate here from Antarctica to calve and breed in the warmer waters close to shore – making this an exceptional whale watching experience.

On day two you have the whole day to enjoy guided marine and nature walks exploring the coastline, or unguided beach and fynbos walks, swimming in rock pools (weather and tide dependent), discovering interesting fauna and flora or relaxing at the lodge soaking up the breathtaking views and glorious sunshine. Here you’ll be staying in one of seven intimate suites, with a private deck overlooking a 3 mile stretch of pristine beach. Enjoy delicious food and your nights lying in total comfort, listening to the crashing ocean waves while breathing in the salty sea air. This couldn’t be a better place to start.

Day 3:  Full day coastal walk to Morukuru Beach Lodge
It’s time to hit the long trail! You’ll spend today embarking on a leisurely self-guided 6.5-8 hour coastal walk along a walking trail from Lekkerwater Beach Lodge to Morukuru Beach Lodge, further west (your luggage will go on ahead of you). The De Hoop Nature Reserve is a 34,000-hectare conservancy, often referred to as the ‘jewel of the Western Cape’. The waters of this remarkable coastal reserve have been designated as a Marine Protected Area, and the sea life flourishes here.

Today you walk the most breath-taking section of the remarkable Whale Trail (The walk between the two lodges is a significant chunk of the Whale Trail’s Day 4 and all of Day 5). Enjoy 9 miles of endless Indian Ocean views, surrounding hills, gorges, caves and ravines. The landscape along the walk consists of a combination of beautiful sandy beaches, limestone karst rock platforms, cliffs and secluded beaches. Inland from the coast, discover large lowland fynbos.

Fynbos natural shrubland

Fynbos natural shrubland – The De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

The first section of the walk starts with lovely sandy beaches, limestone rock platforms, and at low-tide it is possible to go into the water of the rock platforms to explore the rock pools looking for the sea-life clinging to the rocks.

Once you get to the ‘whale watching sign’ the path drops down to a dry river bed with a deep valley entering the beach. Follow the path to explore the secluded beach and fynbos that greets you along the way. From here you stretch out into the cliff tops, with many places to stop and take in the spectacular views from the cliff’s edges as you meander. This is a walk to enjoy at your own pace, we encourage regular stops and to thoroughly explore the rock pools and secluded beaches.

Whale watching at The De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

Whale watching at The De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

Finally, you get to Morukuru Beach Lodge. Where luxury awaits! Enjoy a special evening in the comfort of this stylish lodge and reminiscing on the discoveries of the day. It’s in reflecting back that you will get to truly value the journey that you’ve just taken.

Day 4: Guided marine and nature walks around Morukuru Beach lodge
Spend the day exploring the pristine coastline around Morukuru. Indulging in various activities including guided nature and tidal walks, encountering the rich diversity of sea life. There is also a guided fynbos experience which introduces you to various species of seasonal flowers. Each of these activities is a delight to experience.

This lodge is ideal for those seeking an eco-beach holiday where you can immerse yourself in the coastal nature experience. The roof top terrace at the lodge offers expansive views of the ocean, while the swimming pool and hot-tub are yours to marvel in.

Morukuru Beach Lodge - The De Hoop De Nature Reserve, South Africa

Morukuru Beach Lodge – The De Hoop De Nature Reserve, South Africa

Your day will be spent in total bliss. Discovering this wild wilderness, enjoying the culinary delights of the lodge and sipping sun-downers under the night sky, while listening to the crashing waves as you settle in around the crackling firepit.

Morukuru Beach Lodge - The De Hoop Nature Reserve

Morukuru Beach Lodge – The De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

De Hoop is a beautiful destination year-round. Aside from great walking, it also offers activities like nature drives, mountain biking and sandboarding. It’s gentle charms changing with the seasons. During summer (November-March) the days are perfect for coastal adventure. Use the fresh morning air to hike out into the fynbos, then cool off with a swim in the tidal pools during the heat of the day or enjoy a beach picnic on a private dune. In autumn (April-May) and spring (September/October) the fynbos comes to life, and sunsets are all about lazy evenings enjoyed with a glass of fine South African wine in hand.

Winter (July and August) is when the Southern Right whales arrive, congregating offshore to calve, mate and generally cavort in the warm seas. This walk is without doubt a spectacular luxury walking adventure, no matter what time of the year you go on vacation.

Day 5: Homeward Bound
After a delicious breakfast, you will be transferred by road back to your car at the Lekkerwater carpark. Here we bid you farewell in preparation for your onward journey.

What next?
We would be delighted to help you plan your luxury coastal walk. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and can offer expert advice on the best time of year to travel, flight routes and much more. We can plan this as a standalone trip or suggest other places to travel before or after.

Price:  Five days / four nights from £1,369 per person.

This includes: Two nights at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge and two nights at Morukuru Beach Lodge with all meals, all local drinks and in-lodge activities, luggage transfer and transfer back to starting point.

It excludes: International flights, travel insurance and tips.

Aardvark Safaris help plan every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.

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