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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.[


It's a Steal

Due to its immense popularity, a booking on the De Hoop Whale Trail is very difficult to secure. Bookings are made 1 year in advance through Cape Nature. The trail is professionally guided by FGASA qualified marine, field and Cape tourism guides with the experience of over 15 Whale Trails.​ Our Whale Trail Price is R 10 950.00 which includes 3 meals, 1 X  cold beverage at the end of each day and one glass of wine. At R2190 per person per day - including accommodation, fully catered and guided, its a steal.

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. 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 .

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

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




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. VAALKRANS 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

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 Adventure

General information regarding the trail

  • De Hoop Nature Reserve is 230 km from Cape Town International airport.(Transfer to & from Potberg for your own cost, can be arranged) Please ensure that your flight arrives in the morning and get to Potberg at around 14h00.
  • The route stretches over 58km from Potberg to Koppie Alleen and includes 5 overnight stops.
  • Trail limit is 12 people per trip (10 guests) and is termed “slack-packing”, a term used when one has the convenience of a portage facility. Hikers need only to carry a small day-pack with water, camera, rain jacket, sun screen etc.
  • The trail is exclusive in that you will not meet other hikers on the trail.
  • The trail will be fully catered for and special dietary requirements met as far as possible.
  • Requirements: sleeping bag, day pack, hiking boots & clothing.

(Hiring of equipment can be arranged)

  • Accommodation on the trail is in a series of cottages with mostly 3 bedrooms with 4 bunk beds each.
  • A 60 liter container is issued to each person for personal belongings and this is transported to the next overnight stop.


  • That all hikers have adequate medical cover to facilitate any potential medical emergency, and relevant evacuation that may arise or be required while on a Whale Trail guided and provided for by Africansunroad. This assumption also applies to individual family members of family groups.

Includes the following:

  • Professionally Guided (FGASA Field Guides and Marine, Cape Tour & Wine Guide)
  • First Aid & back-up assistance


  • Any medical costs relating to a medical emergency, and relevant evacuation that may arise while on a Whale Trail.
  • Any additional accommodation either before or after the trail, or as advertised by Africansunroad.
  • Accommodation and meals should a hikers leave, or be removed from the trail for any reason including medical.
  • Drinks at restaurants.
  • Unscheduled taxi transfers and other transportation to or from the De Hoop Reserve.
  • Loss or damage to Africansunroad vehicles parked at Potberg, before, during or after the hike.
  • Cost of removal or evacuation of persons on the Whale Trail Hike guided by Africansunroad.
  • Loss or damage to equipment used on the trail.

Acceptance of General Information, assumptions and exclusions:

  • My final payment to participate in the Africansunroad Whale Trail indicates my acknowledgment of, and acceptance of the general information, assumptions and exclusions.