Wine, Whales and Music at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Our friends Perci and Ray invited us to help celebrate their five years of wedded bliss at  De Hoop Nature Reserve.  There was a Wine, Whale and Music special on so we accepted with alacrity.

The weather was beautiful for this time of the year and it was great to get away for this special weekend.

On Saturday morning we arrived just in time to join a cruise on the vlei.

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The Happy Couple

Our guide was excellent. What a great surprise to see hundreds of black-crowned night herons roosting on the bank with other herons and egrets.   We would never have seen them from the shore.  It was a fabulous start to our cruise.

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Black-crowned night heron

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Sacred Ibis and Little Egrets

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Hundreds of flying ibis, herons and egrets

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Adult and juvenile black-crowned night herons

The rest of the cruise did not disappoint.  We kept seeing more and more species but the moving boat made photography difficult.  Highlights were greater crested grebes,  lesser and greater flamingos, Caspian Terns, yellow-billed ducks, Cape Teal and black-winged stilts.

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A tree full of African Darters

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African Darter

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Greater Flamingos

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Rock Dassie (hyrax)

It was really a most enjoyable trip and it ended with another super surprise – spoonbills waiting to greet us at the jetty.

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Beautiful spoonbills with a little egret

From there  we went to the restaurant and  did some wine tasting, bought some specialty cheeses and then enjoyed a mussel chowder for lunch.

As we were leaving the restaurant somebody came and threw her arms around me.  It was my ex-colleague Taryn who was there with her hubby, Craig and daughter Ella.   What an amazing surprise.  We keep up on Facebook but I haven’t seen Taryn for many years!

After checking into our chalet, Earl had a nap, I read my book and Perci and Ray took a walk to the restaurant to enjoy the high tea.   Later in the afternoon we went for a short game drive.

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Bontebok

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Blacksmith Lapwing taking a bath

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Rhebok

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Male Ostrich

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Scrub Hare

The evening dinner was fantastic.  A quintet of a flutist, three violinists and a cellist entertained us with their beautiful music.  For dinner we had courgette soup for starters then Pork belly with mash and veggies for mains and a tiramisu for dessert.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

This morning we were up early and at breakfast by 8.   There was a lovely selection of continental goodies and then scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon.

Our morning activity involved a drive to Koppie Alleen where we would meet Lauren de Vos for a whale-watching and rock pool activities

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Black-winged stilt seen on our drive

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Grass bird at Koppie Alleen

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Southern Right Whales in the bay – on the left is an albino calf.

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Life in the rock pools

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Star fish

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Cape Robin

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Whale Tail

What a great weekend.   We are so impressed with everything that De Hoop has to offer.   The accommodation is well maintained, the restaurant serves excellent food, the guides are exceptional and there is a lot to see and do in the park.

Check out their website

14 thoughts on “Wine, Whales and Music at De Hoop Nature Reserve

  1. What a wonderful time u had and all those beautiful birds and animals. Watch Mnet 101 on Sundays at 4pm.they have an amazing show called “The Wild ones” last Sunday was all the Whales at DeGoede Hoop. really worthwhile. Enjoy.

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  2. De Hoop Natuurreservaat lê my baie na aan die hart. De Hoop self het aan my oupagrootjie behoort, en Koppie Alleen nog aan my pa tot 1977 toe die Regering die gekoop het. Dis ‘n wonderlike plek. Het julle geen elande gesien nie!

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  3. Many years ago a whole crowd of us stayed at De Hoop. I am sure the house we stayed in was called Koppie Alleen.A big room with lots of bunk beds and a passage off to the left with several smaller rooms.You could lie in bed in the morning and watch the whales.I do not remember a restaurant there or maybe we just never went to it. However I do remember the puffadders. They seemed to be wherever you wanted to put your feet as well as in the woodpile.If you stood with your back to the sea the kitchen was the building on the right. One day I came back from the beach before anyone else and went to the kitchen to get a drink. When I came out there were some puffadders slithering around the courtyard.I got onto the kitchen table and stayed there for what seemed forever until the others came back

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  4. Omiword what an adventure! I have never seen puffies at De Hoop. The first restaurant burned down a year or two ago. The new one is stunning. The bungalows have also been upgraded. At Koppie Alleen they have built new accommodation overlooking the bay – quite exclusive! Where we stayed is far away from there. The restaurant overlooks the vlei.

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  5. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit De Hoop when we toured the Western and Eastern Cape in December last year, and it seems like that was a real pity!

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