You know how sometimes you can care with a devotion bordering on obsession? Well, I’ve had a crush on De Hoop Nature Reserve since the first time I saw a photograph of Koppie Alleen’s beach. The only thing that might not make this a real crush, is that it has been everything but brief. I fell head over heels in love – online – and dreamt we would be ‘married’ within the month.
When Dawn Jorgensen wrote about the reserve earlier this year, I idealised it even more. For weeks I nagged on CapeNature to please play matchmaker and choose De Hoop as the next reserve I should film, but like the rich and strong and wonderful husband I ordered though South Africa’s Postal Service, I never got the green light and I always ended up elsewhere.
So, eventually, De Hoop become like someone unattainable and I moved on.
Very few people actually fall head over heels in love with each other, let alone places. I also think even fewer people meet up to each other’s high expectations, so when we eventually did have a ‘date’ a while back, I coyly put on my straw hat, grabbed my sunglasses and packed my camera gear – as I would for any other occasion – like the strong-minded, not going-to-get-her-hopes-up-woman that I am.
I know you’ve properly heard this tune a thousand times, but De Hoop flirted with me. I played hard to get. I wasn’t going to fall for age old tricks. On my word, I was practically aloof.
And then I saw the Vlei. I’ll be honest, I was prepared for charming, even attractive, but not this view and certainly not for the warm hearts and history that fill the rooms of the Melkkamer Manor House.
The Melkkamer Manor House is a timeless tale. Once you cross the waters, you turn the page and read a whole new chapter of your own story as if for the first time. You are in your own movie, and it is romantic and soppy and beautiful and real.
I used to have a crush on De Hoop, but that was a very long time ago. I don’t anymore. Now, I’m certainly enamoured of it.
The Manor House comprises four magnificently appointed bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. You can choose between catering for this important date yourself, as there is a wedding ring of a fully equipped kitchen or you can opt for an onsite chef with fully catered meals.
Three last pieces of advice: ONE: Stop wasting time. Pick up the phone and set a date. As far as you know you only live once and life is too short. TWO: Don’t play hard to get. Accept De Hoop’s offer of guided birding, vlei and marine walks. You will fall in love. It is wonderful! THREE: Believe the popular literature when they refer to De Hoop Nature Reserve as ‘the jewel of the Western Cape’ – there truly are few places to compare with it in the entire country – if not the world.
My visit to Melkkamer and De Hoop Nature Reserve was organised by De Hoop Collection and Theresa Gibbon Public Relations.
Opinions expressed are my own.