De Hoop Nature Reserve is Winning at Whale Watching with these record numbers.

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De Hoop Whales

Good news matters, especially when it relates to wildlife and creatures of the ocean, and the De Hoop Collection is giving us just that after their weekend count of Southern Right Whales. I actually had to look at the impressive number twice when I first saw it. Read more about how De Hoop Nature Reserve is Winning at Whale Watching.

“To date there have been over 1116 whales spotted on the De Hoop coastline, nearly three times the number of last year, truly making it the best spot for whale watching in South Africa”, said William Stephens of De Hoop Collection.

He had just been notified by Jean Tresfon, a well-known Marine Conservation Photographer, that even with “all the bad news and negativity in the media, especially when it comes to the state of our marine resources, that he was thrilled to share something rather more uplifting”.

On Saturday morning Tresfon, together with whale scientist Chris Wilkinson, had lifted off from the Morning Star airfield into the crisp clear air. It was a perfect day weather-wise to conduct an aerial whale survey for the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit. He reported that they encountered the southern right whales almost immediately, but it was when they reached the De Hoop Nature Reserve area that they were just astounded. 

“The absolute pinnacle was at the De Hoop Nature Reserve – from Skipskop Point to Lekkerwater – where we spotted an incredible record-breaking 1116 whales, or 558 cow/calf pairs, highlighting the fact that Koppie Alleen is without question the most important nursery area for southern right whales on the South African coast.”

After nearly seven hours in the air they headed home. Tresfon later received a message from Els Vermeulen, head of the Whale Unit, advising him of the final numbers – 661 cow/calf pairs, plus 25 unaccompanied adults – a total of 1 347 southern right whales counted between Hawston and Witsands Almost triple the number of whales counted at nearly the same time – the first week of September – in the same area, in 2017.

READ: My Complete Guide to Whale Watching in South Africa.

De Hoop Whales

About De Hoop Collection

The De Hoop Collection opened in the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape in 2007 under the creative and entrepreneurial hands of Carl Trieloff and William Stephens, renowned for their successful Madikwe Game reserve developments. In a spectacular setting, with conservation aspects managed by Cape Nature, the reserve offers a wide range of accommodation types designed to suit all budgets.  The Reserve, in the Overberg region, is a comfortable three hours’ drive from Cape Town on the world renowned Garden and Whale routes – the ideal stop-over en route from the Cape Winelands to Plettenberg Bay. Visitors to the De Hoop Collection enjoy unparalleled peace and tranquillity in what must be one of the Cape’s last unspoiled gems.

Activities at De Hoop

Guests of all ages and tastes will find something to do at De Hoop: Families can enjoy all the usual home comforts plus family oriented fun activities on offer – wonderful birding opportunities, nature lovers will enjoy the interpretive rock pool, extensive hiking and mountain biking trails or a running trail (25km route); tennis or boules and remember, for the younger members of the family there are baby-sitting services available – and don’t forget, winter is whale season at De Hoop. And if you should need ‘time out’ for a bit of pampering, remember there is that ultimate escape (with a variety of revitalising Beauty and Body treatments) at the Spa @ De Hoop, an exercise in understated luxury, situated in the beautiful surrounds overlooking the vlei.

Few other reserves offer as complete an outdoor experience as the De Hoop Nature Reserve – from the sea, which during whale season is the playground for the Southern Right Whale, the sand dunes, the vlei, the rare Fynbos, the diverse antelope and the De Hoop ‘regulars’ of Bontebok, Eland, Cape Mountain Zebra and the more than 260 species of birds De Hoop is without doubt, the ultimate location to visit. Experience all of these riches with one of De Hoop Collection’s fabulous and knowledgeable guides.

De Hoop Whales

The Essential Details

Find out more about the De Hoop Collection on their website, or connect with them at 021-422 4522 or email If you’re lucky enough to visit, use these hashtags when posting pics: #dehoopcollection #dehoopgetaway. For more info get in touch Theresa Gibbon at or 082 820 8437. I’ve been lucky enough to stay at De Hoop with her, and it truly is a very special part of the country.

Photographs were taken this weekend by Jean Trefson, a marine conservation photographer.

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