De Hoop Opstal: Our full report
The De Hoop Opstal, which is often also simply called 'The Opstal', is the central hub of the De Hoop Nature ...... Reserve, not far from the southern tip of South Africa, about four hours' drive from Cape Town. It’s all about the big outdoors here with a unique variety of eco-systems to explore from sand dunes and inter-tidal rock pools to the vlei, indigenous fynbos plants and antelope. The Opstal has a range of rooms and cottages to suit most people.
The different rooms, suites and houses at De Hoop vary in size, style and facilities – there is something for most tastes though note that this is not a five star establishment so fineries like, bathrobes and slippers, evening turn downs etc will not generally be found here.
Broadly speaking the accommodation here can be divided into those with no kitchen and those with a kitchen where you can self-cater, however all come with an en suite bathroom, which has a shower and/or bath, washbasin, toilet, towels, hairdryer and some Charlotte Rhys body care products. Do note though that even if you book into the self-catering rooms you can always go and eat in the restaurant for any or all of your meals – just make sure you pre-book.
Suites and cottages without a kitchen are more luxurious and hence are the most costly room types here. They are all well appointed, beautifully decorated and have some character features; they also have a kettle, coffee, tea and a bar-fridge and are booked on a half board basis (breakfast and dinner included). These catered rooms are as follows:
- The Opstal Manor House, is the original farmhouse from the 1800s previously known as the Ou Huis, and 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 – it’s been wonderfully restored. The Opstal Manor sleeps a maximum of six travellers in its three en-suite bedrooms (two large – one double and one twin - and one much smaller twin room), which are all reached from a beautiful paneled hall. These rooms can be booked individually or you can book the entire Manor House for exclusive use. There is also a comfortable lounge with period pieces, for use by all staying in the Manor House, plus a large non-functioning kitchen where you can make coffee and tea. Note though that the internal doors between the 'manor bedrooms' and the interlinking hall are original, and so don't have locks on them.
- Beyond the Manor House but still part of the Opstal are the two luxury Opstal suites. These are more modern than the Opstal Manor House but still have a touch of its antiqueness to them and are quite lovely. The Opstal stable suite sleeps two in a king-size bed with mosquito net and has a large en-suite bathroom. The Opstal vlei suite is similar in style, decor and amenities but is larger, with a both a free-standing claw foot bath as well as a separate shower in the bathroom, has a seating – a comfy sofa and armchairs, a large yellowwood desk and the original, enormous arching double doors which open out to give great views towards the vlei.
- Set in the courtyard at The Opstal with its magnificent wild fig trees is the newly built Fig Tree Suite. It is an upmarket, two-person suite with king-size bed and en-suite bathroom.
- The Cloete Suites are also situated in the Opstal area - two of the suites (1 and 2) have a view of the grasslands where eland, bontebok and mountain zebra can be seen grazing, while Cloete Suites 3 & 4 have views into the large grassy courtyard. Each suite is beautifully decorated and has a seating area and an en-suite bathroom with bath and shower. Cloete Suite 1 has a warming fireplace for chilly winter nights.
- The newest room at De Hoop is the Cloete Cottage is situated between the Fig Tree and Cloete Suites. It’s similarly stylish and also has the ubiquitous king size bed with mosquito net and en suite bathroom with both a shower and bath. It’s just a short walk across the courtyard to reach the Fig Tree Restaurant.
- Moving further afield, the 3 detached, thatched Otter Suites have one bedroom with a king-size bed and mosquito net, and have an en suite bathroom with bath only. Being close to the vlei these suites are peaceful and are good for bird watching - you may even catch a glimpse of an otter if you are lucky.
- The new Dassie Suite is a luxury room also with a king size bed and an en suite bathroom with a shower and separate bath, but it also has a sitting area with cosy fireplace – great for the cooler winter months. Outside is a patio from where you can take in the fantastic view of the vlei and watch the sun set.
- Set on the edge of the De Hoop's wetland, there are three white-walled Vlei Cottages. Each Vlei Cottage has two bedrooms - one twin and one double, an open plan lounge/dining area with a fireplace, a kitchen for self-catering if you wish and a bathroom with a shower. They all have outside seating in a small grassy area with a braai (BBQ), looking out over the vlei.
- Not far from the Opstal area, nestled near Milkwood trees, are three Opstal houses. Each sleeps up to six travellers in three spacious bedrooms with twin configurations, but one can be converted into a double. There is a fully equipped kitchen, a separate lounge and dining room and a bathroom with both bath and shower. Plus outside you’ll find both a braai (BBQ) and outdoor dining facilities. Again you can opt between self-catering and/or dining out.
- Further from the Opstal area and close to the Vlei suites are seven equipped cottages. Six of them sleep a maximum of four travellers in two bedrooms each (one twin and one double – can be converted to another twin), whereas the seventh one (called Eland) can accommodate six people in an additional twin room. Each cottage has a bathroom with shower and a fully equipped kitchen / dining area / sitting room, plus an outside area with picnic table and barbeque area.
- Furthest from the Opstal, De Hoop village consists of 9 cottages, all equipped with kitchen/dining room, comfortable lounge, 3 bedrooms - 1 double, 1 twin and 1 bunk room - as well as a bathroom with a shower. There is also a fully equipped kitchen as well as a braai (barbeque) area with a table for outside dining.
The De Hoop Nature Reserve is the real draw here rather than the accommodation though. It boasts a diversity of marine and land habitats and is home to a good smattering of wildlife including Cape mountain zebra, Eland, ostrich, otters and whales (in season (June to November) as well as an array of birdlife. There are lots of different activities to enjoy from organised excursions to exploring on your own. The Opstal offer fascinating guided activities including Marine walks, boat trips, stargazing, bird-watching walks and mountain biking.
You can also head off under your own steam and discover the wonders of this beautiful area in your own time – it’s especially suitable for walking and birding at the wetland, which is situated right next to some of the rooms. You can even just sit and relax on the beach and do some land-based whale watching.
De Hoop is also a superb place for families. The ability to self-cater if you wish, as well as full dining options, means there is ultimate flexibility at meal times. The vast and varied outdoors here also offers a vast array of choices to keep children busy and interested – the beach, sand dunes, rock pools and bush – it’s a natural playground for them. There is also a kids programme of activities at certain times of the year.
For more comprehensive information on the local fauna, flora and activities, see our general page on the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
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 and other smart suites. It's a great base from which to explore the real attraction: the fantastic De Hoop Reserve; it’s perfect for those who like to head off the beaten track and explore nature. 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.
South Africa expert
- De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- 3 nights
- From Cape Town, De Hoop Nature Reserve is about a three and a half hours' drive (260km). It’s may be reached via either Bredasdorp or Swellendam. The last 60 km of either route is along gravel roads and takes an hour to travel.
Alternatively, there is an airstrip at The Opstal for guests arriving by a chartered plane.
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Room Only
- Food quality
- Because about half of the accommodation options at the De Hoop Opstal have access to kitchen facilities, many visitors opt cater for themselves for at least some of the meals. In that case it's best to bring most of your supplies, and not to rely too heavily on the shop here.
That said, whether you are in self-catering accommodation or not, you have the option to eat in the Fig Tree Restaurant which is open daily from 08:00 – 21:00 and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, teas, coffees and cakes.
The centrally located Fig Tree Restaurant, at the Opstal, offers à la carte menus for breakfast and lunch and set dinner menus. Picnic baskets can be pre-ordered from reception if you fancy eating al fresco in a scenic spot within the reserve.
For breakfast you can opt for one of three varieties – healthy, continental or hot English breakfast - which is then brought to your table.
Lunch is a selection of snacks, burgers and sandwiches.
You will need to book at table for supper in advance (at breakfast is ideal) in order to ensure they have space. We ate here both nights on our last visit, and enjoyed the braai (barbeque) evening on one of the nights which offered a good selection of meats as well as side dishes of vegetables and an assortment of salads. The other evening we had a delicious starter of camembert wrapped in filo pastry, with figs and rocket. For the main course we had chicken drumsticks, with caramelized potatoes with seasonal vegetables – broccoli and carrots. For dessert, we enjoyed chocolate mousse with coffee and dark chocolate sauce.
- 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 ideas for Family holidays
- 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 and coast.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- 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 ideas for Photography holidays
- 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 ideas for Walking
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome at The Opstal.
- Property’s age restrictions
- 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' Programme", guided walks and cycling tours specifically for children. There is also a small jungle gym.
- There are cots and high chairs available at the De Hoop Opstal.
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes, the De Hoop Opstal is a very nice and relaxed place for family holidays. Children might enjoy the swimming pool or simply the opportunity to walk and cycle around on the premises relatively freely with their families.
- 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.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from The Opstal
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at De Hoop Opstal have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- Please note that the De Hoop Opstal’s camping and caravan sites do not provide any electricity.
- There is some (but rather patchy) cell phone reception at The Opstal.
For a small fee, you can access the internet via WiFi In the lodge’s main building.
- TV & radio
- There is a TV in the bar area with local digital channels.
- Water supply
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- 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.
Guided walking safari
- 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.
Other lodges in De Hoop Nature Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.