Hippo Pools Hot

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Hippo Pools is a popular swimming and snorkelling spot in the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

It is a great location to photograph the rocky intertidal platforms. There are also shell middens up above the beach that provide a great macro photography opportunities.

Aim for a low-mid tide at either sunrise or sunset. This is also a great location for observing and photographing African Black Oystercatchers. During the whale season these majestic animals lie fairly close inshore and can be easily observed from up above the beach.

Other cetaceans that could be spotted include Humpbacked Whale, Brydes Whale, Bottlenosed and Humpbacked Dolphins.


Best Time to Photograph
Sunset or sunrise. Stormy weather can create dramatic shots.
Type of Photography
Best Time of Year
  • Autumn
  • Spring
Photographic Tips
Aim for a low or mid tide to photograph the tidal pools and rocky platforms. Always keep your eyes on the sea and beware of rogue waves when approaching the edge of the rocky platforms.
Watch out for the sharp rocks.
Recommended Gear
Tripod and remote release
Bean Bag
Medium telephoto lens (e.g. 70-200mm)
Wide angle
Macro lens
Sunscreen, water and windbreaker jacket
Shoes to wear in the water at the pools.


Site Highlights
Tidal pools, whale watching, shell middens, dramatic seascapes


Season and Weather
The climate is Mediterranean with warm summers and mild winters. Wind is present throughout the year, with rain falling mainly in the winter months. The weather can be unpredictable and changes rapidly. The summers are dry and dusty, while winter is the time when the Fynbos is lush, green and in flower. The best months to visit are April through to September.
Other Activities
  • swimming
  • Snorkling
  • Whale watching
Guide/s Available
Local guides are available. Enquire at the main office.


Closest Town
Getting There
From the Main Camp drive down to Koppie Alleen parking area. Walk in a north east direction along the Whale Trail hiking path for about 1.2km's. You will see the Hippo Pools as the path heads down to the sand beach at the pools.
De Hoop Nature Reserve


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Arne Purves
Author: Arne PurvesWebsite: http://www.arnepurves.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Arne's passion for the environment, wildlife and conservation was instilled from an early age, leading to a career in nature conservation, first as a game ranger in the Natal Parks Board, a conservation officer with CapeNature and today in the City of Cape Town's Environmental Compliance Department. Photography is his creative medium of choice.