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De Hoop Nature Reserve, situated near the southern tip of Africa, covers some 34 000 ha and includes a variety of different habitats. The Reserve is dominated by lowland fynbos, but also holds the Ramsar - designated De Hoop Vlei, mountain fynbos on the Potberg mountain, a rocky and sandy coastline and numerous forested gorges. To the south of the Reserve, lies the De Hoop Marine Protected Area, which provides a sanctuary for a variety of marine organisms including relatively large numbers of southern Right Whale.

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Specials

South African Shelduck, Cape Vulture, Black Harrier, African Black Oystercatcher, Hottentot Buttonquail, Striped Flufftail, Cape Spurfowl, Damara Tern, Large-billed Lark, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Cape Bulbul, Southern Tchagra, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Sugarbird.

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Habitat

Lowland fynbos, mountain fynbos, forested gorges, a large vlei and a rocky and sandy shoreline.

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Facilities

The Reserve has eleven self-catering cottages ranging from basic cottages to a luxurious house and a number of campsites. Numerous picnic sites are situated around the reserve.

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Birding

1. The fynbos around the Entrance Gate holds a number of interesting birds including Cape Grassbird, Southern Tchagra, Southern Boubou, Malachite Sunbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Brimstone Canary and Cape Bunting.

2. Upon entering the Reserve, one drops down onto the coastal plain and should look for species such as Grey-winged Francolin, Black Harrier, Southern Black Korhaan, Cape Bulbul, Large-billed Lark, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Grey-backed Cisticola, Karoo Prinia, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Bokmakierie and Yellow Canary. De Hoop is an excellent place to find the Southern Tchagra, which can be found skulking in the thicker bush in the coastal fynbos and edges of forested gorges.

3. The open grasslands to the east of the rest camp holds Cape Spurfowl, Pied Starling, African Pipit and Cape Longclaw.

4. Check the thickets on the edge of the vlei and around the campsite for Cape Batis, Bar-throated Apalis, African Olive-Pigeon and Southern Tchagra. With a bit of luck, birders may find the sought after Knysna Woodpecker in the forested thickets.

5. water levels in the vlei fluctuate according to rainfall. Depending on water levels, the vlei hosts a large diversity of water birds including Cape Shoveler, South African Shelduck, Cape Teal, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, African Fish-Eagle and Southern Pochard. The vlei is also home to large numbers of migrant and resident waders.

6. The rocky shoreline near Koppie Alleen holds African Black Oystercatcher, Grey Plover and Common Whimbrel. Check all small terns along the coastline for the diminutive Damara Tern, which breeds nearby.

7. Potberg mountain is home to the only Cape Vulture colony in the western cape. The best time for viewing the vultures is around 10am in the morning and 4pm in the afternoon. Hottentot Buttonquail and Striped Flufftail have also been recorded from the restio-covered slopes. The mountain also holds Grey-backed Cisticola, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Grassbird and Malachite Sunbird.

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General

De Hoop is situated approximately 240km east of cape Town, and 50 km east of cape agulhas. To get to De Hoop, take the N2 from cape Town and turn right towards Bredasdorp along the 316. At Bredasdorp, turn left towards Swellendam and travel for seven kilometres before turning right onto a dirt road towards Wydgelee. After approximately 30km a signpost indicates the Reserve on the right. The gate to the Reserve is 10km along this road. To reach the Potberg section of the Reserve, carry on straight past the sign indicating to De Hoop. An entrance fee is payable at the gate. The Reserve is open from 07h00 to 18h00 (21h00 Fridays) throughout the year.

Nearest Town: Bredasdorp.

For more information the reserve can be contacted on Tel: +27 28 425 5020 or Fax: +27 28 425 5030

Reservations can be made at Tel: +27 21 659 3500 or by emailing .

Cape Nature Website

Andrew Hester 2001.



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