De Hoop Nature Reserve - Jewel of the Fynbos Featured Hot

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De Hoop Vlei_©PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer.

De Hoop Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area is rightly know as the "Jewel of the Fynbos" and given its sheer beauty and diversity of habitats, it is also an important conservation area, protecting numerous endemic, rare and endangered species. From a tourism perspective, the great thing about the reserve is the ability to explore it on foot and this is when it shows its true magnificence as a protected area.

I have been extremely privileged to have been associated with De Hoop Nature Reserve for over ten years and even after I left living on the reserve five years ago, it still draws me back, revealing new secrets to me on each of my visits.

On my latest visit and as usual, I stayed in the comfortable chalets of De Hoop Collections, where Eland, Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra graze right up onto the doorstep and a constant stream of birds pass by. Over a four-day period, I wandered the endless kilometres of coastline, explored the intertidal rock pools and trudged through the deep soft sand of rolling white dunefields.  Sunsets were ogled over the edges of the De Hoop vlei and throughout my time on the reserve, life overflowed in abundance. It held me constantly in awe of the diversity of creation, from the delicate pink colorful beauty of Nerine humilis flowers, through to rare sightings of Southern Adders and African Black Oystercatchers that fed amongst crashing waves on the seashore and Cape Mountain Zebra foals that played as the sun dipped over the horizon at the end of the day.

De Hoop is for me, the place where the rush and pressures of society are forgotten, allowing my soul to be refreshed and renewed with recognition of what is actually important in life. I plan and hope that I will be able to continue visiting this magnificant place well into the future and well beyond the next ten years!  

Southern Adder_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

1 of 12: The range restricted and rare Southern Adder.

Nerine Flower_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

2 of 12: Delicate pink beauty of Nerine humilis flowers.

De Hoop Vlei_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

3 of 12: The sun sets over the sixteen-km long De Hoop Vlei.

Fiscal Flycatcher_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

4 of 12: A Fiscal Flycatcher uses the ropes of coastal boardwalk as a perch from which to launch after insect prey.

Cape Mountain Zebra_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

5 of 12: A magnificent Cape Mountain Zebra stallion crosses the open plains near the Opstal in search of the rest of its herd.

De Hoop Dune Field_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

6 of 12: Heavy winter clouds gather over the extensive white dunefields.

White-Breasted Cormorant nesting colony_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

7 of 12: A colony of White-Breasted Cormorants sit tight on their nests that lie deep within the dunefields.

De Hoop Coastal Cave_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

8 of 12: Coastal caves show presence of human history and one can only image their thoughts as they sat in the entrance of the cave, looking out at the constantly moving seas.

Seashell archaeological layers_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

9 of 12: Meter-thick layers of sea shells indicate the archaeological importance of the coastline to humans over the history of time.

African Black Oystercatcher_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

10 of 12: An African Black Oystercatcher launches into flight from an intertidal platform where it has been feeding and as a wave crashes.

Kelp Gull nesting_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

11 of 12: A Kelp Gull incubates it eggs amongst a coastal breeding colony.

De Hoop Coastline_PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

12 of 12: Dawn breaks over the intertidal rock pools that line the coastline of the De Hoop Marine Protected Area.

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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
About
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.