De Hoop Nature Reserve, a World Heritage site and Marine Protected area in the Overberg region is world renowned as one the best spots for land-based whale watching in South Africa. Every year, between June and November some 40% of the world’s southern right whales come to these shores to breed.
According to marine conservation photographer, Jean Tresfon, Koppie Alleen in the De Hoop Nature Reserve had the highest concentration of whales. He recently undertook the first official aerial survey of southern right whale numbers for 2023 with Dr Els Vermeulen of the UP Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit.
“The first whale we spotted, in Hermanus just under the cliffs near the Old Harbour, was upside down with a tiny calf on her chest. As we went on, we started to see more and more southern right whales, with 346 whales (of which 172 were calves) counted between Struisbaai and Skipskop Point. But, as expected we found the main concentration of whales at Koppie Alleen. There were so many whales here that the counting was an exercise in itself! The final number was 472 whales, (236 were calves) in the bay at Koppie Alleen, while another 115 whales (57 calves) were counted along the rest of the De Hoop coastline towards Cape Infanta.”
The final figure from the aerial survey from Hermanus to Witsand of 1 136 whales, showed a substantial increase over the numbers counted over the past four years, but still less than the record numbers seen in 2018.
“Whale time is definitely a favourite time at De Hoop Collection,” said William Stephens, owner of De Hoop Collection on hearing the results. “This figure comes as no surprise. Koppie Alleen, with its relatively warm and calm waters is a haven for whales and their calves and is in fact the most important nursery area on the South African coast for southern right whales and this results in impressive numbers of whale sightings.”
The De Hoop Collection situated in the heart of the magnificent reserve and just three hours from Cape Town, offers a range of affordable accommodation from campsite rondawels, self-catering cottages and houses (sleeping from two to six people) to romantic suites, an old stone Manor house and the recent addition of the De Mond Villa.
Member of Cape Country Routes, the De Hoop Collection is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway – here you get to experience a unique outdoor experience like no other – the sea, the beaches, a Ramsar listed vlei, rare indigenous plants, diverse animal and bird life… and the Whales.
“De Hoop continues to be the best spot for whale watching in South Africa From the high vantage point of the pristine dunes of Koppie Alleen our guests get to enjoy incredible sightings of the whales breaching, tail slapping and spyhopping – a term for when a whale rises partially out of the water in an upright position”.