The Whale Trek/Hike-in winter

Whale Trail hike, SW Cape, South Africa

The Whale Trek/Hike-in winter

Whale Trail hike in winter

The Whale Trek or Hike in the De Hoop Nature Reserve 5 night slack-packing trail.We recently returned from hiking the Whale Trek or Trail  on the Cape coast of South Africa in the De Hoop Nature reserve.. I now feel “qualified” to write this trip report on hiking the Whale trail within the De Hoop Nature Reserve during winter. The Cape Coast winter is renowned for windy wet weather and we advised our clients to come prepared for all 4 seasons. As it turned out we did encounter a variety of temperatures and weather conditions. The majority of the hike was walked under superb sunny skies with a fresh cooling breeze along the coastal cliff section.

Whale Trek

Potberg Hut, De Hoop Reserve, Whale Trail Whale trek

Whale Trail start. Potberg

Chameleon Rock; De Hoop Nature Reserve, Whale Trail Whale Trek

Crazy Californian smooching the chameleon rock

Day 1 Whale Trail hike Whale Trek

Dam near Cupidos hut, Day 1









Whale-trail-trek-hike Whale Trek


Whale Trek 

Day 1 & Day 2 of the whale trek or trail are the tougher longer distances over the Potberg mountain but also has spectacular landscape views. The unique fynbos vegetation  provided us with a beautiful spread  of wildflowers at every turn. The first trail hut is Cupidos. A welcome site after 16km.

Whale Trek

One of the many wild flowers found on route

Whale Trek

Cupidos hut


Whale trail

Noetsie Bay, De Hoop Whale Trek/Trail

Noetsie Bay

This is my favourite place on the whale trail . After 2 days of fairly serious mountain hiking we descended

to the bay of Noetsie, a little piece of paradise. Lovely new  facilities, not another soul for miles except for

the baboon visiting our kitchen and liberating a bag of apples .

Whale Trek

DeHoop Noetsie Beach

Whale Trek

De Hoops Noetsie hut

Whale Trek

View at Noetsie Bay









Whale Trek

Dining area at Noetsie





It rained overnight at Noetsie and we walked for an hour or two in the rain after we left the bay. We were prepared so it wasn’t a problem. Some of the best coastal scenery on the whale trail  is from these cliffs.

Whale Trek

Coastal Cliffs








The path is well marked and undulating, a lot easier than the previous 2 days , the scenery is breathtaking!

Whale Trek

Rugged whale trail cliffs

Whale Trek

Caves near Noetsie








Its a 7-8 km walk to Hamerkop with a short beach walk before reaching the whale trail’s overnight house.


Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail-de-hoop-reserve-calcrete reefs-whale-Whale-trail-dune-Whale trail, De Hoop Reserve Day 4

Whale trail

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Black Oystercatcher

Whale Trail, South African Cape Coast-Hamerkop

Hamerkop Hut, Whale Trail hike













Whale Trail, beach walk, De Hoop Reserve

Whale trail beach

Hamerkop to Vaalkrans

10 km trail mostly on the beach. This time round there was more plastic pollution that had washed up onto our shores than I had seen before but otherwise the beach was clean and white. On route we passed the burnt out ruins of Lekkerwater Lodge, large colonies of basking white-breasted  cormorants and inter tidal pools. The last stretch of the trail before Vaalkrans is through coastal fynbos vegetation.



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Rock platforms

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Intertidal pools

Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail-de-hoop-reserve-calcrete reefs-whale-Whale-trail-dune-Whale trail cliff and beach trail

Cliff and beach trail

Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail-de-hoop-reserve-calcrete reefs-whale-Whale-trail-dune-Massonia-pustulata (Hedgehog Lily)

Hedgehog lily

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Enjoying the sea view

whale trail shore

Sandy shores

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Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail-de-hoop-reserve-calcrete reefs-whale-Whale-trail-dune

Leatherback turtle

Coastal vegetation, Whale trail

Undulating beach and cliff trail

Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail-de-hoop-reserve-calcrete reefs-whale-Whale-trail-dune-Whale Trail rock pools

Interesting rock pools

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On route to Vaalkrans

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Pristine sea shore

fynbos on the whale trail

Fynbos flowers

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stunning rock pools

Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail-de-hoop-reserve-calcrete reefs-whale trail

Calcrete reefs

Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail, de hoop reserve-coastal-vegetation

coastal vegetation


rock pools

Whale-trail-trek-hike-De-Hoop-reserve-whale trail, de hoop reserve

sandy shores



























Lovely cottage built on a cavernous cliff side, home to many cormorants . The whale trek/trail overnight huts are all unique in layout and position.This cottage is magical.



Vaalkrans cottage










Vaalkrans to Koppie Alleen

This part of the Whale trek is 7 km of easy walking along the beach and tidal pools if the tide permits or along the ridge if its high tide.

We enjoyed a coffee break before heading for the pick up point after passing Hippo Pools. What a great time we shared with our  Californian guests Christine and Jerry. Well done  on completing the Whale trail at this stage of your lives.

De Hoop


1 Comment

  1. on June 14, 2016 at 7:44 pm
    Ralph said:

    Looks very nice.

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