De Hoop Collection Koppie AlleenYou 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.

De Hoop Nature Reserve

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.

De Hoop Collection Crossing Vlei by BoatDe Hoop Collection Vlei OverbergNothing could prepare me. Nothing.

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.

11889986_864084997011544_5884525795416256242_oMelkkamer De HoopThe 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. 

11958208_864084750344902_1835287360815799207_oIt rained for the entire weekend we spent together and I got drenched. It was cold. Some might even say miserable, but De Hoop just kept filling and inflaming me with love.

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.

Michelle Nortje Rooi Rose

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.

Words and Pictures by Daréll Lourens | © 2015

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.



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Adventure Love

We love to travel and everything that goes with it. From wine to a health retreat and all the marvelous things this world has to offer in between.

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