CapeNature’s highly anticipated iconic Whale Trail reopens after extensive upgrades
The iconic and world class Whale Trail hike in the De Hoop Nature Reserve will reopen on Wednesday, 28 October 2020. CapeNature prides itself on leading the way in sustainable tourism as demonstrated by a continued commitment to nature-based recreational and tourism facilities for local and international visitors to enjoy and explore.
Situated on 34 000 hectares of land, which extends 5km out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa. De Hoop Nature Reserve is a firm favourite for hikers, cyclists, bird and whale watchers. One of the main attractions of the reserve has always been its world-renowned Whale Trail, a 5-day overnight hiking trail taking visitors through the beautiful terrain of the reserve. Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape has welcomed the reopening of the CapeNature trail.
“In 2019, the trail was closed to construct much needed safety upgrades and add new developments along the popular hiking route. CapeNature has upgraded and improved the trail and visitors can now look forward to an improved experience made possible through innovative and value-add enhancements.”
Whale Trail Accommodation
The five Whale Trail overnight huts lie at the foot of the Potberg Mountains, perched high on a sea cliff offering breath-taking views. Although the fully equipped huts can sleep up to 12 people at the time, the occupancy is currently restricted to 50% in line with COVID-19 regulations for dormitory-style accommodation.
Dr Razeena Omar, CEO of CapeNature says, “With South Africa’s tourism sector slowly returning to the “new normal” with the easing of regulations, the reopening of the world-renowned trail comes at a time where locals are itching to get away on much-needed breaks. Annually between June and November, southern right whales make their epic journey back to the safety of these rich waters to mate and calve. The famed Whale Trail is revered as one of the most meaningful ways to experience this extraordinary phenomenon. De Hoop defies superlatives – it must be experienced to be truly understood.”
Whale Trail Enhancements
Visitors can look forward to the following enhancements:
- Solar-powered electricity in accommodation units, which are not affected by load shedding.
- Restored and improved hiking routes with stainless steel structures and stairs for optimal weather resistance and safety.
- An outdoor braai area.
- Modern appliances for convenience such as fridges and gas hobs within all overnight huts– a first for the reserve.
- Upgraded skylights installed for better viewing and star gazing.
- Full bathroom and shower upgrades at Vaalkrans, Hamerkop and Cupidoskraal huts.
Executive Director: Eco-tourism and Access, Sheraaz Ismail, said: “Following the difficult decision to close De Hoop Nature Reserve in 2018, we look forward to the official reopening in October and welcome our valued visitors as we unveil an even better, eco-friendly tourism product.”
De Hoop Nature Reserve Whale Trail
The Whale Trail is only three hours from Cape Town and promises to be the ultimate hiking experience. The trail meanders through the breathtaking De Hoop Nature Reserve where the fragrance of fynbos intermingles with salty sea air. Our nature reserve is more than just a retreat, it’s a whole surrender! You will marvel at the abundance of endemic plant species and enjoy the company of a variety of rare and endangered animals. This World Heritage Site, spanning 34 000 hectares – the largest natural area managed by CapeNature – offers a safe haven where these species, hunted to the brink of extinction, are making a remarkable recovery thanks to tireless conservation efforts.