Our Stay at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop

Vanessa arriving - barefoot already - at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge!
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!

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at sunset with the ocean beyond the fynbos landscape
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.

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

Lekkerwater is so naturally designed that it's almost impossible to see it between the fynbos and thundering waves.
Designed to imperceptibly blend into the coastal colors 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 a time’ spotting playful pods of dolphins and Southern Right whales!

Looking out from my bedroom over the wild ocean where I could see dolphins playing in the Lekkerwater waves
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.
The positioning of each cozy room at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge makes for the most spectacular views - at any time of the day
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!

Sitting on the deck at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge and reveling in the wild coastal beauty of the fragrant fynbos and dramatic ocean
Which book would you read here? Or… perhaps you would finally start writing that book?

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.

Drawing of local fauna, flora and history of De Hoop - Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
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!
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge - interiors and alfresco brunch
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.
Modern beach-chic interiors and exterior deck
Bringing ‘the outside in’ through the use of texture and color allowed us to feel as though we were never cooped up inside – despite it being the middle of a Cape winter!
Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is the perfect getaway - even in 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!
Aerial photo of Southern Right whales off the coast of Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop
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

Sundowners around a cozy fire with lanterns on the beach at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop
Now you can see what we mean by ‘remoteness’!
Collage of photos taken during sundowners around a cozy beach fire at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge
Best beach party ever? I thought so!

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-watchingLekkerwater 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 colors and delicacy of the tiniest flowers.

Vibrant colors of fynbos blooms with the ocean behind as the perfect backdrop.
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

Perhaps the most marvelous 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…

As we say on our Instagram feed of Africa moments: #nofilterneeded!

If Lekkerwater’s ‘remoteness’ lines up with your own definition of luxury, send me a message and I’ll get straight back to you.