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.
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.
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.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from De Hoop Nature Reserve (South Africa). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to De Hoop Nature Reserve. Read more about this site.