De Hoop Opstal

De Hoop Opstal: Our full report

23 suites & cottages plus camping
Traveller's rating
Good (85%) From 16 reviews
Excellent for children
All year

The De Hoop Opstal, which is often also simply called ‘The Opstal’, is the central hub of the De Hoop Nature Reserve. It’s near the southern tip of South Africa, about three hours’ drive from Cape Town. The Opstal has a wide range of accommodation, some of which are spread over the reserve. This is the only place to stay inside this reserve.

Although the different accommodation types at the Opstal differ widely in style, they have many similarities. All of them have access to a braai area, and most kitchens, whether shared or private, provide a kettle, toaster, microwave, fridge/freezer, stove/oven, basic crockery and cutlery, basic kitchen utensils and a sink.

The following rooms and cottages come complete with a bathroom which has a shower, a wash basin, a toilet, a bath mat, towels and some body care products:

  • Each of the Opstal’s two newly renovated and very lovely stable suites sleeps just two travellers who visit on a fully catered basis, as neither has a kitchen or any cooking facilities. Each has a bedroom with a kettle, coffee, tea, a bar-fridge, a king-size bed with mosquito netting and a large en-suite bathroom. These stable suites are more modern than the Opstal Manor but still have a touch of its antiqueness to them, notably a lovely big yellowwood desk and large double doors with a curved top opening out to the vlei.
  • Six of the equipped cottages sleep a maximum of four travellers (two bedrooms) each, whereas the seventh one can accommodate a fifth traveller in a bunk room. Each cottage has one bathroom. The fully equipped kitchens make self-catering very practical, although the cottages can also be catered for.
  • Set on the edge of the De Hoop’s wetland, there are three white-walled vlei cottages. Each one has a lounge area, a kitchen for self-catering and one open-plan bathroom with a massive walk-in shower, twin wash basins and rattan matting around a tiled area with the bath in the centre of the bathroom. There are three tiled bedrooms per cottage: one twin or double, one twin room and one with bunk beds.
  • The Opstal Manor, an original farmhouse from the 1800s previously known as the Ou Huis, forms the focal point of the Opstal accommodation area. Its beautiful yellowwood floors and ceilings, patterned curtains and antique wooden furniture make it feel (as it is!) authentically historic. The Opstal Manor sleeps a maximum of six travellers in its three massive en-suite bedrooms which are all reached from a beautiful panelled hall. Note though that the internal doors between these 'manor bedrooms' and the interlinking hall are original, and so don't have locks on them. With no working kitchen here, all guests book in these rooms are accommodated on a ‘full board’ basis.
  • Behind the Opstal Manor, three Opstal houses are slightly separated from the rest of the Opstal area and can each sleep up to six travellers. Each of them has three spacious bedrooms (twin configurations, one double possible), a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom. Visitors staying at one of the Opstal houses can choose between being catered for and self-catering.
There are also some campsites and more basic rooms here which share communal ablution blocks, specifically:
  • The two Opstal vlei rondawels offer great views over the wetland from the edge of a cliff. Each consists of one bedroom with four beds. The kitchen, which comes with a toaster, bar, fridge and kettle will be shared with other guests.
  • Inside the five round, thatched cottages called campsite rondawels you’ll find a bedroom with two beds, a bedside table and a cupboard.
  • There are ten campsites at the De Hoop Opstal, set about 20m apart from each other. Moreover you can find five caravan sites close to the picnic area. All guests at the campsite share a kitchenette (without cooking facilities or equipment!) and can access picnic tables. Please note that the sites do not provide any electricity.
The main areas at the De Hoop Opstal are very old-style with lovely paraffin lanterns, varnished window frames and the odd buffalo horns and skulls. They include the reception with rather spectacular, wide-spreading natal white fig trees beside it, a small shop (which also doubles as an information centre), a lounge, a bar, the Fig Tree Restaurant, picnic sites, a newly surfaced tennis court, a swimming pool and a boules courtyard with one set of boules available. For children there’s also an outside play area.

The De Hoop Nature Reserve boasts a wide diversity of marine and terrestrial habitats, home to a good amount of wildlife. Therefore there are lots of different activities to enjoy from the De Hoop Opstal. The area is especially suitable for walking and birding at the wetland, which is situated right next to some of the rooms. For more comprehensive information on the local fauna, flora and activities, see our general page on the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

Our view

The Opstal has a wide variety of accommodation, which is all good value – from self-catering cottages which appeal to families, to the historic, elegant rooms in the Opstal Manor. It’s a great base from which to explore the real attraction: the fantastic De Hoop Reserve all around. Come for stunning scenery, outstanding birdlife and a spectacular coastline – to drive a little and explore a lot; it’s a real gem of a park.


Location: De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa

Directions: From Cape Town it’s about three hours’ drive: first take the N2 until Bredasdorp, then take the R319 to Swellendam. After about 6km follow the signposts onto the 35km gravel road on your right hand side, which will lead you to the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Alternatively, there is an airstrip at The Opstal for guests arriving by a chartered plane.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: The Opstal forms part of the De Hoop Collection.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Room Only

Food quality: Because almost all accommodation options at the De Hoop Opstal have access to kitchen facilities, many visitors will cater for themselves. In that case it’s best to bring most of your supplies, and not to rely too heavily on the shop here.

That said, if you choose to have the camp cater for you, breakfast is served from 8-11am, lunch from 12-13pm and dinner from 7-10pm. The Fig Tree Restaurant, which is open throughout the day, is centrally located in the Opstal area.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Drinks included: None

Further dining info: There is no room service at The Opstal, although lunch packs can be delivered.

Special interests

Family holidays: The Opstal in the De Hoop Nature Reserve offers a range of affordable and child-friendly accommodation options, often self-catered, for family safari holidays in South Africa. Children can enjoy activities like tracking tortoises and (guided) walks through the coastal dunes.

See more ideas for Family holidays in South Africa

Birdwatching: Hosting many African birds including the last breeding colony of Cape vultures in the Western Cape, De Hoop is fantastic for birdwatching in South Africa. Spot ostrich, African harrier-hawk, wading birds, etc. on guided walks around the De Hoop Opstal’s vlei!

See more ideas for Birdwatching in South Africa

Photography holidays: The Opstal offers the choice between great-value and more elegant accommodation – in any case a lovely base for photography trips in South Africa’s De Hoop Reserve. Come for a wide range of scenic environments, fantastic birdlife and good numbers of game.

See more ideas for Photography holidays in South Africa

Walking: There are some stunning ecosystems to be seen at De Hoop Opstal, with few dangerous species around. Hiking trails lead through the rugged Potberg Mountains, coastal dunes, along sandy beaches and pristine rock pools.

See more ideas for Walking in South Africa


Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at The Opstal.

Property’s age restrictions: None

Special activities & services: Baby-sitting can be arranged at the De Hoop Opstal – although the sitters will usually be staff from the lodge, not professionally-qualified child minders. Children staying here can participate in activities such as the lodge’s “Kiddies’ Pogramme", guided walks and cycling tours specifically for children.

Equipment: There are cots and high chairs available at the De Hoop Opstal.

Notes: Leopards are present yet rarely seen. For this reason, the De Hoop Opstal area is a fairly relaxed accommodation for a family safari holiday – although we would never advise to leave children without any supervision.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: Please note that the De Hoop Opstal’s camping and caravanning sites do not provide any electricity.

Communications: During our most recent stay at The Opstal in May 2013 we had some cell phone reception. For a small fee, you can access the internet via WiFi In the lodge’s main building.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: The nearest doctors are in Swellendam and in Bredasdorp.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: The Opstal can be regarded relatively safe as it is situated in a remote area. Furthermore the area is fenced off, with a gate opening at 7am and closing at 6pm (7pm on Fridays).

Fire safety: The De Hoop Opstal possesses fire extinguishers.


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A 24-hour laundry service is available. The washing will be done outside the De Hoop Opstal as there are no laundry facilities inside the accommodation area.

Accepted payment on location: Visa, MasterCard, Diners and Amex are all accepted at the De Hoop Opstal.

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