Natural Selection’s first property in South Africa, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge in the De Hoop Reserve is now open. The intimate property is located on a nearly four-mile stretch of beach in the De Hoop Reserve, east of Cape Town.
Each of the seven rooms has floor-to-ceiling glass doors that can be opened to let in the coastal breezes. For cooler evenings, there is wood-burning stove in the room. Décor includes a bespoke piece of art by South African artist Jemima Sargent, which depict De Hoop’s wildlife.
The main area offers 180-degree views of the coastline. A large communal table is intended to bring guests together over meals. The internal courtyard offers a more secluded space for relaxed meals and a “calm zone” for relaxing by the swimming pool. Where possible, the furnishings were sourced from local suppliers.
Activities at De Hoop revolve around the tides and the intertidal zone of the Marine Protected Area offshore that stretches three miles out to sea. Mornings can be spent exploring the rock pools and learning about the myriad of species that call the shallow waters home, including starfish, urchins and octopuses. Afternoons are often spent exploring the fynbos eco-system: De Hoop forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of close to 9,000 plant species, with De Hoop alone boasting around 1,500 species of plants and flowers (and 15 of those species are found nowhere else in the world). Birding is also a population option with over 260 species having been recorded.
Each year, hundreds of southern right whales migrate from the colder Antarctic Ocean to give birth to their young in the warmer Indian Ocean waters in front of Lekkerwater. The rooms at Lekkerwater are perched on a cliff just feet from the coast line, offering views of the ocean and dolphin- and whale-watching. The southern right whales are seasonal visitors, but year-round pods of dolphin play in the waves right outside the lodge.
The food at Lekkerwater is sourced locally and focuses on South African cuisine. Dishes include bobotie (spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping), a beach braai (barbecue) and South African lamb chops on the fire. Wines are also sourced locally, many from nearby Agulhas, Elim and the Hemel en Aarde valley.
The lodge was also designed to leave a light footprint: The lodge is entirely solar powered, was built with as little cement as possible and has its own gray water treatment plant. The bedrooms are exclusively built from commercially grown soft woods and the lodge operations are striving to be single-use plastic free.
Good to know: 1.5 percent of all revenue from Lekkerwater Beach Lodge goes straight back to conservation projects. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is currently working with the country’s leading shark experts, Chris and Monique Fallows, to facilitate their studies.
The property also has a very strong sense of historical place. The summer house and “Camp David” of the former South African president FW De Klerk; this is where he negotiated the end of apartheid and debated quietly behind closed doors the country’s new constitution. But the area’s history stretches even further back than that: Just five miles to the east is the Klipdrift cave and shelter where recently some of the earliest evidence of modern human beings was unearthed, dating back between 64,000 and 100,000 years.