LOOK: Take a hike at De Hoop Nature Reserve's Whale Trail this weekend
The Whale Trail hike in the De Hoop Nature Reserve reopened this week.
Situated on 34 000 hectares of land, which extends 5km out to sea, it’s one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa.
De Hoop Nature Reserve has become a firm favourite for hikers, cyclists, bird and whale watchers.
One of the main attractions of the reserve has 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.
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It's official...the iconic WHALE TRAIL is OPEN! The world renown trail welcomes back hikers after an extensive revamp. "It was not an easy decision to close this trail and dissapoint many of our visitors in order to undergo the major structural and maintenance upgrades , but the safety of our hikers is our top priority. We are sure the improved facilities will be enjoyed and worth the wait." - CapeNature CEO Dr Razeena Omar #WhaleTrail2020 #LoveNature PC: @tegansmithphotography
“The trail was closed to construct much-needed safety upgrades and add new developments along the popular hiking route in 2019. 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," said Bredell.
The five Whale Trail overnight huts lie at the foot of the Potberg Mountains, perched high on a sea cliff offering some pretty views. The occupancy is restricted to 50% in line with Covid-19 regulations for dormitory-style accommodation.
CEO of CapeNature Dr Razeena Omar said the reopening of the 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," said Omar.
Visitors can look forward to solar-powered electricity in accommodation units, restored and improved hiking routes with stainless steel structures and stairs for optimal weather resistance and safety, and an outdoor braai area.
There's also modern appliances for convenience such as fridges and gas hobs within all overnight huts, a first for the reserve, and upgraded skylights installed for better viewing and stargazing.
Full bathroom and shower upgrades were done at Vaalkrans, Hamerkop and Cupidoskraal huts.