Our stay at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop

It’s a place where you’ll be barefoot from the moment you walk through the door!

 

Safari companies, lodge owners and guests alike are beginning to identify a new definition of what ‘luxury’ has come to mean in this hyper-digitized, constantly accelerating world. However, for as long as we’ve been involved with Natural Selection, their emphasis has always been on experiences – as opposed to the cliché of mega-luxury. Nestled in the most remote, untouched corners of Africa, their camps and lodges have a feather-light environmental footprint, having been thoughtfully designed to be ultra-comfortable and, most especially, make the most of the wild wraparound beauty. The guest experience is all about the wildlife, the wilderness, the guides, the stories and — very importantly, the opportunity to detach from the perpetual pressures and supersonic speed of modern life.

We’ve tried to define this new evolution of ‘luxury’ as remoteness – and Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop has it in spades! This winter, Liesl and I were invited to test the recently opened lodge over a two-night stay we wish could have been longer.

Here’s our photo diary!

In redefining what luxury means in an era of high velocity overwhelm, remoteness suspends time and gives us space to breathe, unwind, daydream and wander in wonder…

Getting there? An expedition!

The adventure of a drive down to just beyond the Southern Tip of Africa took about three and a half hours. Once inside De Hoop reserve, we were picked up from the designated meeting place by our hosts, traversing the rugged terrain in powerful 4×4’s through untamed thickets of fragrant fynbos and finally winding our way down to the coastal plain. (To give you a scene of the astounding vastness and scale of the area, see if you can spot the 4×4!)

Almost impossible to see from a distance, the low-level, coastal coloured lodge blends beautifully and undistractingly into its surroundings, thanks to its respectful design ethos.

Designed to imperceptibly blend into the coastal colours and lay of the land, Lekkerwater is less eye-sore than eye-more!

Rooms with views that never end

All of the 6 twin/double rooms and one family unit have views that are absolutely breathtaking – and where you’ll literally have ‘a whale of time’ spotting playful pods of dolphins and Southern Right whales!

To lighten the load on the environment, the rooms have been designed to make the most (eco)nomical use of space, and furnished with fabrics, textures and art that speak to earth-kind aesthetics and materials.

 

After toasting the sun goodbye from the shoreline (the sand still warm between our toes) with perfectly chilled champagne, we made our way back to our gorgeously cozy rooms, hoping that in the morning, we’d be able to see whales and dolphins — from bed with our morning coffee!

 

The echoing waves you can hear from your room lull your heart to sync with the heartbeat of the ocean, with views inspiring you to let yourself go in the wild endlessness of the view. You find yourself breathing deeply – and smiling luxuriously.

There is just so much space for serenity… to contemplate, meditate, read, sleep. (But if checking your emails gives you peace of mind, Wifi is available in all the rooms.) Lekkerwater is especially ‘lekker’ (an untranslatable South Africanism meaning ‘deliciously enjoyable’) for families with children above the age of 6!

What book would you read in this special space?

 

Another layer in Lekkerwater’s luxury of remoteness, reserved for those who dare to venture this far off the grid, is the almost childlike enchantment we experienced upon exploring the rich history of the area. Stories and whole entire histories have come into being here, whether it’s that of heroic human beings – like the worldwide announcement of Nelson Mandela’s liberation from Robben Island – or of humanity itself, where groundbreaking archaeological discoveries in the nearby Blombos and Klipdrift caves speak of the earliest humans. There are so many stories to be shared here… and it is a place where you will be inspired to spin your own.

 

We loved how the decor embroidered our experience with the area’s unique stories – like the world-changing announcement made by South Africa’s then-prime minister about the release of Madiba – as seen in this wall-wide artwork in the open-plan kitchen!

 

Subtle, serene coastal colors come alive with pops of the purest hues: from sunny citrus and lime greens to blue of every imaginable shade! Really, a feast for the eyes.

 

Bringing ‘the outside in’ through the use of texture and colour allowed us to feel as though we were never cooped up inside – despite it being the middle of a Cape winter!

 

And here’s the proof of how gorgeous (or should we say, ‘lekker’) it is in winter, especially as the whales arrive here to mate and calve from the Cape’s winter months of June, July and August through to summery December!

 

Southern Right whales migrate all the way from Antarctica to the haven of De Hoop’s shores, in their hundreds – even thousands! And while this is perhaps the animal that’s most synonymous with De Hoop.

Beauty & the Beach

Now you can see what we mean by ‘remoteness’!

 

Best beach party ever?

Pure and pristine. Prolific. Beyond pretty! And just one more ‘P’: because the area is protected! Life in the ocean and the spectacular rock pools is a treasure trove. As one of the world’s most lauded land-based locations for whale-watching, Lekkerwater is also home to pods and pods of play-loving dolphins. Inbetween their daring dives and somersaults, rock-pooling will distract you away into an aquamarine fantasy of miraculous little creatures and wonder-worthy micro-discoveries — which are, thankfully, brilliantly illuminated by Lekkerwater’s resident marine biologist who will weave the feeding, mating and survival habits of the teeniest-tiniest seashore creatures into the most fascinating science stories, whether you’re 6 or 66.

A botanist’s paradise

And as for the botany? Breathtaking! The uniqueness of the area’s endemic coastal fynbos is very special indeed. Guided walks with a fynbos expert will reveal a wealth of fascinating rare plant species. It’s a part of the world where you need to walk slowly and be prepared to crouch down low to admire the colours and delicacy of the tiniest flowers.

 

Pink fynbos flowers in bloom on the De Hoop coastline at Lekkerwater Lodge

It’s not hard to see why De Hoop is called ‘Jewel of the Fynbos’!

 

Some of the fynbos that we encountered on our walk

Silky-soft and silvery

 

Delicate splashes of colour tucked away in a seemingly barren environment

 

The pink papery flowers of the ‘everlastings’ that were in bloom all around the lodge.

 

These ‘vygie’ succulents open up like dollops of sunshine during the day

Perhaps the most marvellous surprise of all for us was receiving this photo from a recent Lekkerwater guest. A Cape Mountain Leopard, shy and nocturnal, had walked the very same shoreline we had. An unforgettable reminder for us to always tread lightly upon the earth…

Click to join us on Instagram1

As they say on our Instagram feed, #nofilterneeded!

 


 

Send me an email to find out more about staying at this very special place.