Home TravelCape Town & South Africa Lekkerwater Beach Lodge in De Hoop ~ by Allison Foat

Lekkerwater Beach Lodge in De Hoop ~ by Allison Foat

by capetowndiva

Just as my suitcase locks were about to oxidise, the travel ban lifted and I got going, road tripping like my life depended on it. With COVID-19 still lurking though my destinations of choice, for now, are places where I can socially distance without giving it a second thought. I’m lured by nature,  where wide open spaces dominate the offering. Like Lekkerwater in De Hoop, where I’ve just been, my sequel visit after the lodge launched in 2018.

The perfect getaway into wide open spaces

To borrow from Dr Ian McCallum, “Wilderness is not a place, but a pattern of soul, where every bird and beast and tree is a soul maker.”  De Hoop is like that, where nature reigns and people pass through with reverence and respect. This is the setting for Lekkerwater, now re-opened for exclusive use.  Prepare to be coaxed out of COVID confinement into a slice of heaven on earth and a sojourn that replenishes from within.


Meaning ‘place of good water’, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge occupies a small strip on a gentle slope above a turquoise ocean in an exclusive sector of De Hoop Nature Reserve, exquisitely leveraging the collateral beauty of the locale.

Image: DOOK

Accommodation & interiors

There are six twin cabins and one family villa, configured to pull focus towards the ocean and surrounds, a design trait typical of Natural Selection.  Architecturally, lines are clean, almost modular and with a leaning towards simplicity, the decor perfectly conveying a sense of place. No matter where you find yourself at Lekkerwater, the views are riveting and everything to write home about.

The main lodge, the social (-ly distanced) hub

Inside the main lodge, the lounge-come-dining area is a palette of caramel, cream and blue, a bright, welcoming space where floor-to-ceiling glass doors open onto a wraparound wooden balcony that overlooks the beach and infinite coastline below. Picture this-  sipping an early morning espresso, a copy of The Last Elephants in hand and a bowl of porridge with condensed milk on the side (yes, really). Nostalgic home cooking vibes- the best.

Reading The Last Elephants by Colin Bell and Don Pinnock

All protocols observed

The doorway that leads into the main area, the social hub of the lodge

Tables in this common area are well spaced, according to Covid-19 protocols, and the managing duo Liana and Jan ensure the safety of guests and staff at all times.

The bright communal lounge area- sliding doors open onto a deck & the space is light & airy


And they do porridge, with condensed milk on the side- my ultimate!

Specialist safari outfit Natural Selection operates with the lowest possible environmental impact and a sterling commitment to community and conservation across all its properties in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.  This eco approach, plus the next level quality, originality and innovation associated with the lodge’s design, management and location, is what clinched Lekkerwater a spot on two of the poshest hot lists in the world: Travel + Leisure’s Best New Hotels in the World (2020) and  TIME Magazine’s World’s 100 Greatest Places (2019). A most recent accolade landed in the Best Beach Hotels list in the Tatler Travel Guide 2020 UK and in Bazaar UK’s Travel Guide 2020.

Looking up at the main house from the boardwalk

Named a World Heritage Site in 2004, De Hoop Nature Reserve is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, cyclists, and bird and whale watchers.  In its entirety the reserve is a sizeable 34,000 hectares and one of the largest in the Cape Nature portfolio with a number of fragile habitats under conservation. The area is also one of the most important middle stone age sites in the world where there is evidence of San occupation in cave complexes like Klipdrift.

1500 different plants have been identified at De Hoop as well as 250 types of birds and 86 mammal species including the Cape Mountain Zebra, eland, baboon, and yellow mongoose and the elusive leopard. It’s also a haven for the Overberg’s last remaining colony of the rare Cape Vultures that roost in the crags of the Potsberg Mountains that frame the area.

The site on which Lekkerwater was built holds historical gravitas too, being where former South African State President FW de Klerk would often withdraw, most notably while negotiating the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and laying the foundation for a post-Apartheid democratic dispensation. The original building burnt to the ground a few years back, but the boardwalk that leads down from the house to the beach is still there, intact and in use. (see below)

A hike through the gorge behind the lodge is a lesson in biodiversity, the path flanked by ancient milk woods, prehistoric boulders and scuttling lizards and evidence that South Africa’s First Nation, the Khoi San.

From its perfect vantage point, Lekkerwater also provides the ultimate land-based marine safari, the best you’re likely to experience in this part of the world.

Dolphin and porpoise sightings are common year-round and July onwards sees the intermittent arrival from Antarctica of hundreds of Southern Right whales that migrate into the warm waters of the Marine Protected Area (MPA), a huge area that extends several nautical miles out to sea. Recorded pod numbers were lower last year but still, the highest aggregation was found to be in De Hoop.

Image: DOOK

All the way to November the bay is a playground and nursery for these great mammals and their vulnerable offspring. Imagine fluke aerials, breaching, fin-slapping and rolling –  all yours for the seeing, before you’ve even crawled out from under the duvet!

If you love fishing though, scratch De Hoop off your list as it’s not permitted in these waters.

Whale watching from bed

Outside of Covid, dining is d’hôte style but even with tables spaced apart, it’s a convivial affair. It must be said that the Lekkerwater crew is particularly adept at procuring long tables in unexpected and gorgeous locations around the lodge- perhaps in-between the rocks or down on the beach, a stone’s throw from the water’s edge. Wherever it is, it’s always magical.

beach lunches to look forward once we are free from Covid restrictions!

Tamsin Snyman, culinary consultant and Academy Chair of the World’s Best 50 in Africa, curated the South African-inspired menu. She recently returned to meet up with Chefs Tatenda and Don about new recipes for guests who are gluten intolerant, or prefer a plant-based (vegan), dishes. Expect flavourful homestyle cooking with a twist, prepared with flair the the Zimbabwean duo. When lockdown rules allow, meals are complemented with excellent regional wines. In lieu of the alcohol ban, mocktails are served, made from a range of alcohol free and locally procured artisanal gins garnished with foraged fynbos.

Guided walks behind the lodge offer a closer look at the endemic plants found in this biodiverse paradise. The early mornings are invigorating – air like champagne and infused with the aromatic scent of fynbos. It’s absolute perfection.

Guided walks across the slopes behind the lodge


The most rewarding excursion though has to be the rock-pooling ramble led by resident naturalist Billy Robertson, someone who looks at life from nature’s perspective and for whom the natural world is sacrosanct. He calls it his “ecclesia” and after a few minutes in his company, everyone is converted.

Guests slip on rubber booties for protection against rough surfaces and follow him along the shoreline onto terraced volcanic platforms. The scenery is dramatic, ancient and magnificent-  an uninterrupted salty expanse with the prehistoric bedrock formations like a jagged silhouette against the bright sky.

rock platforms at low tide


translucent pools

Billy is a captivating storyteller and a man clearly fuelled by a love of all things Nature.  He stands solemnly, feet planted in the sand, earnestly reading one of Ian McCallum’s poems from a delightfully dog-eared notebook – a takeaway moment.

pool peering

Time is spent crouching over glassy depressions as he unpacks the dynamics of inter-tidal ecosystems and points out starfish, jellyfish, octopus, whelks, crabs and myriad tiny creatures that call these sea ponds home.

a jellyfish in a crystal clear pool

Wild places are a prescription for wellness and soul regeneration. Now that you can, get to De Hoop, experience Lekkerwater and encounter the extraordinary.



Email reservations@naturalselection.travel

Stays are a maximum of two nights and children over 6 are welcome.

For special offers for South Africans via the membership program: http://naturalselectionexplorers.co.za/

Access to Lekkerwater in De Hoop is via the Potsberg gate (not the main entrance) and the fee is R50 per person, per night, cash only.

Support the Natural Selection COVID-19 project

Lekkerwater Awards, accrued in just two years:

  • Conde Nast Traveller UK Hot List
  • Conde Nast Traveller USA Hot List
  • Travel and Leisure USA It list
  • Tatler Travel Guide 2020 UK
  • Bazaar UK Travel Guide 2020
  • Time Magazine – World’s Greatest Places 2019

Until next time,

Allison *

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