De Hoop Nature Reserve
The Morukuru Family is well-known for its quality, intimate lodges, be it Athol Place in Johannesburg, the various lodges in the Madikwe Game Reserve or the exclusive-use Morukuru Ocean House. They have now added another beauty to their collection – Morukuru Beach Lodge opened in May 2018, and Chris and I were lucky enough to experience it as part of their soft opening.
The lodge is built on a private concession at the Koppie Alleen site in the 36’000ha De Hoop Nature Reserve. The reserve is operated by Cape Nature, and the neighbouring marine reserve, which extends 5km out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa and a World Heritage Site. De Hoop is situated approximately 50km from Bredasdorp, characterised by its white sand dunes and fynbos, and is undoubtedly the best site for land-based whale watching (I’m tempted to say “in the world”). Reports this year count over 1300 Southern Right whales in the waters around De Hoop! Also noteworthy: the reserve has the largest conserved area of lowland fynbos in the Western Cape, and it is home to one of the largest herds of Eland in the world, as well as over 260 bird species, including the only remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture in the Western Cape.
The lodge consists of only 5 suites and is fully off the grid. The interiors are just incredible, with the natural palette brought into the rooms with thoughtful touches and attention to detail; each vast suite comes with its own wood-burning fireplace as well as a day bed from which to watch the whales loll in the surf. The hospitality is phenomenal, from the warm towel that greets you after a chilly beach walk to the hot water bottle in the bed on turn down, we felt looked after from beginning to end.
The routine is very relaxed, with the option to take part in 2 activities a day. When we were there we took part in a guided nature walk as well as sand boarding and sundowners in the dunes, and Chris cycled around the reserve on one of the mountain bikes available for use, whilst I did yoga on one of their yoga mats (whilst whale watching!). In summer the lodge’s other free activities all come into their own, be it snorkelling in the rock pools exposed at low tide, chilling on the pool deck on the top floor of the lodge or having a picnic lunch on the beach.
As you can tell, it was literally one of our favourite weekends away ever, and we’re already trying to come up with a reason to go back. Congratulations to the Morukuru Family on such an amazing addition to the portfolio and thank you again for allowing us to experience it.