Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is coming in hot. TIME says so and I can vouch. Natural Selection’s beautiful property, in an exclusive locale within the De Hoop Nature Reserve, has just been voted as one of TIME’s 100 Greatest Places and believe me, it’s a well deserved accolade. Let me take you through it, one picture at a time.
De Hoop Nature Reserve is a wildlife mecca, a world heritage site and one of the largest proclaimed coastal reserves in the Cape Nature portfolio. With a number of pristine eco systems under conservation, it boasts an impressive tally of rare, endemic and other species – a nature-lovers dream. Think 86 mammal species, 260 bird species and 1400 plant species, with lowland fynbos being the dominant vegetation. As the biggest Marine Protected Area in Africa extending 5km out to sea, it’s a haven for 250 species of fish (no fishing allowed), is a playground for dolphins and has the greatest concentration of Southern Right Whales that arrive in their mega pods from Antarctica between July and November to calve in the calmer waters along the coast.
Lekkerwater Lodge is a year round destination and each season holds its own magic. The property hovers above a six 6 kilometre stretch of beach, plumb in the middle of a fynbos biome that sits between the Potberg Mountains and Indian Ocean. As with all Natural Selection properties, while the decor and design is carefully considered it is incidental in favour of the surroundings. Walk into one of the 7 chalets and your eye is immediately drawn to the ocean, as expansive floor to ceiling glass windows allow for uninterrupted views and allow the outside in. Just like this, below.
The interior throughout is stylish and minimalist, inspired by marine elements. A maximum of 16 visitors are booked in at any given time so guests never feel hemmed in- in fact it feels as if you’ve then whole place to yourself. Eating is communal, at a long table in the open-plan main area, an inviting space with comfy corners to squirrel away in with a book, and a verandah that’s perfect for endless hours of ocean gazing.
Food & wine
Aside from indoor feasting, lunch and dinner is also served between the rocks or on the beach, inches away from the shoreline, toes in the sand, waves practically lapping at your feet. The menu at Lekkerwater has been designed by Tamsin Snyman, cuisine that she describes as ‘simple food, soulfully prepared’ . Expect South African homestyle cooking changed up – dishes like maize meal porridge (my best), smoked fish frikkadels, milk tartlets, pumpkin fritters, bobotie and the superb wine list offers a number of labels sourced from the region.
The lodge is eco sensitive, 100% off the grid and uses state of the art waste systems, solar panels to harness power from the sun and wind, fat traps and has its own borehole. Natural Selection is committed to building lodges that are ‘clean and green’ and leave the lightest possible carbon footprint. The lodge itself has been precisely built on and within the disturbed ground, using some of the materials salvaged and up-cycled from the original property. There is also a zero single-use plastic policy.
Things to do
Activities include educational walks with experts – discover things yo never knew about fynbos and wander across numerous wave cut platforms at low tide to explore the inter-tidal pools. Lekkerwater’s Billy Robertson, a guide with a delightful penchant for storytelling opens up the fascinating world populated by tiny marine creatures – reef worms, starfish, sea whelps, limpets, sea anemones and, if you’re lucky enough to see them, octopus.
The rock formations along this stretch of coastline are striking, giving the place an ancient feel. Aside from walks, cave exploring and life under the water and in the tidal zones, the wildlife is thriving. A Cape Vulture breeding colony (not accessible to visitors) is nearby and it’s an area where Fish Eagles fledge. There are a number of caves to explore too.
- Cape Nature Park fee into Lekkerwater: R50 pp per day
- Take binoculars & hiking shoes
- Children 6 years and up
- High season: 16 July – 15 April
- Fishing isn’t allowed
- Swimming in the deeper tidal pools is a cool experience
- At Lekkerwater you can only stay a maximum of 2 nights
- Natural Selection offers special rates for residents of SA and African countries on its Explorer Club programme
- The drive takes just over 3 hours and is 260kms from Cape Town via the N2. There are various route options, all wonderful!
- Turn it into a road trip – the N2 takes in historical towns like Grabouw – best for farm stall stops (Peregrine and Houwhoek), Bot Rivier, Caledon Napier etc
See you at Lekkerwater!