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South Africa: De Hoop Nature Reserve

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De Hoop Nature Reserve | South Africa | Africa

[Visited: June 2012]

At the turnoff close to Bredasdorp, we continued our drive on an untarred road, that undulated through the green landscape of rolling hills. Sometimes, the road appeared straight ahead of us, climbing and descending, we saw sheep and cows, farms, and not more than two cars before we had to turn right for De Hoop Nature Reserve. After paying our entrance fees to a friendly guard, the vlei landscape of the western section of De Hoop Nature Reserve opened up before our eyes, with high, white sand dunes dominating at the horizon. The road ahead was clearly visible, we soon spotted an ostrich, which excited us; soon after turning west to the De Hoop, we saw many more ostrich and a variety of antelopes.

Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): The white sand dunes of De Hoop with the fynbos vlei landscape in the foreground

During a short walk around De Hoop, we saw pelicans, flamengoes, and a several other birds in the waters below, enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere before continuing to the sand dunes which excited us most. We were constantly on the lookout for the Cape mountain zebra, but when we arrived at Koppie Alleen after driving along the foot of the sand dunes towering high above us on the right hand side, we had not spotted one. We finally walked on the sand, which appeared harder than expected, making climbing them a lot easier. The wind had blown patterns in the sand, and the dunes looked awesome under the grey clouds in the sky. Below us, we now saw the surf of the Indian Ocean; to our left, vegetation-covered hills above the sandy shore; to our right, the sand dunes rising from the sea. The low tide allowed us to see the rocky platforms at the shore, and allowed us to walk the beach.

Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Sand dune under clouds in De Hoop Reserve

There were birds at the shore, too; apart from them, there was no one else around and we walked to the sound of the surf breaking on the rocks. Even here, we found waste washed ashore, meandered through the rocks, feeling the sea that was warmer than expected, and decided to climb one of the many sand dunes again for a better view. Footprints criss-crossed the hard sand, making us wonder what those animals would be doing around here. Surely not enjoying the views? We turned around, when we suddenly spotted a whale just behind the breakers. Looking with more attention at the surface of the sea, we spotted one more, and then more again - and wondered how deep the waters would be here. To our big surprise, one of them started playing in the water, tailing, jumping out of the water, crashing back into the sea causing a big splash, laying on its back with its fins in the air - an unexpected and exciting spectacle that kept us busy for a long while, since the whale was apparently enjoying her of himself. It seemed amazing that we were watching this from a sand dune, we felt like being on the front row of a giant natural theatre with an actor giving his best. It was a great spectacle, and when we finally walked back, we were very happy with our visit - even when we never saw the Cape Mountain zebras.

Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Whale tailing as seen from a sand dune near Koppie Alleen at De Hoop Reserve
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Looking up a sand dune of De Hoop near Koppie Alleen
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Footprints leading up a sand dune in De Hoop Reserve
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Cloudy sky over the rocky coastline of De Hoop Reserve
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Sand dunes with fynbos and Indian Ocean in the background
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Surf of the Indian Ocean on the sandy shore of De Hoop Reserve
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Ostrich walking in the fynbos with the high sand dunes in the background
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Whale just off the coast of De Hoop Nature Reserve near Koppie Alleen
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Gravel road and sand dunes in De Hoop Reserve
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Sharp line of a white sand dune of De Hoop Reserve at Koppie Alleen
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Patiently waiting bontebok in De Hoop Nature Reserve
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): View from a sand dune at Koppie Alleen of the coastline of De Hoop Nature Reserve
Picture of De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa): Fynbos in De Hoop Nature Reserve

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