When I want to go to the beach, my choice usually depends on what I want to do.
De Hoop has never crossed my mind as a "beach" destination - it is a nature reserve. But when I asked a friend (who owns tourist accommodation) what foreign tourists want to do when they visit Swellendam, he mentions "De Hoop" as one of the main attractions they want to visit. What confused me even more was that this friend then added that De Hoop is now his family's favorite beach spot as well. They were going there the next day and asked if we would like to go along.
De Hoop Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area is one of CapeNature’s flagship nature reserves, probably most commonly known for its enormous Southern Right Whale migratory calving population. Few other reserves offer as complete an outdoor experience as De Hoop – sea, sand dunes, the vlei, a floral sensation of rare fynbos plants, diverse antelope and the Potberg Mountains. Birders observe wading birds on the shores of the vlei while the Potberg Mountains are home to a colony of endangered Cape vultures. Hikers and cyclists have close-up encounters with bontebok, Cape mountain zebra, eland, baboons and ostrich.
This reserve is managed through a partnership between CapeNature and De Hoop Collection, where De Hoop Collection takes charge of most tourist activities and accommodation. At Koppie Alleen you can relax on the beach, explore the coast line and caves, view whales in season (winter months) or snorkel in the many turquoise rock pools. Because this is a Marine Protected area, the pools are full of life. Day visitors are welcome, and the restaurant open daily.
For a day trip to the beach - this is an excellent option.
Reasons to visit De Hoop (Koppie Alleen):
1) Uncrowded beaches.
2) Rock pools teeming with sea life. 3) Great spot for whale watching in the winter months.
4) On your way to the beach you will see antelope, Bontebok and other wildlife.
5) Wonderful restaurant (not on the beach) at De Hoop Opstal.
1) The 54km you travel to De Hoop's main gate from Swellendam is gravel road. Well maintained, but gravel.
2) After reaching De Hoop's main gate you will travel 15km inside the reserve to Koppie Alleen.
3) When you park at Koppie Alleen, you still have to walk about 600m to the beach - that does not sound far but if you are carrying a cooler box, umbrella, something to drink, something to eat, towels etc - it gets heavy. Put as many of the "stuff" you take along in easy-to-carry bags or backpack.
4) Walking the 600m to the beach is downhill. So walking back is uphill after a day of lazing in the sun.
5) In season there might be a food trailer close to the beach, but you should take food and water with you.
6) On the beach there are no shade to sit in, so take along an umbrella, big hat and sun screen.
More Info: Visit Swellendam
Route to drive from Swellendam: Route