Natural Selection will open its first South African property, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, in April 2019. The seven-room exclusive eco-lodge is set in De Hoop Nature Reserve, a beach location in South Africa known for whale watching.
Just over a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Cape Town, Lekkerwater, which means "good water" in Afrikaans, is situated within the eastern area of De Hoop Nature Reserve. Each room looks over three and a half miles of beach that is dotted with rockpools and fynbos—but with rarely a person in sight.
The lodge has been built on the site of former South African President F.W. de Klerk’s retreat. In planning the design, Natural Selection says its primary objective was to illuminate the coastline. The bedrooms and main areas have large sliding glass doors to allow uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean and the coastline. Interiors draw inspiration from the ocean with shades of blue and handwoven baskets and rattan accents. Natural Selection says it believes that everything should be "clean and green" and Lekkerwater has been designed with that concept in mind. To note: The property’s electricity is generated from the sun and wind; gray water treatment is the latest and cleanest; there is a zero-single-use plastic policy and the majority of the supplies (and wines) are produced from within a 40-mile radius of the lodge.
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 to between 64,000 and 100,000 years—20,000 years older than the previous earliest known records of modern man from caves and excavations in North Africa and Europe. Early KhoiKhoi people have been walking and gathering along these beaches long before the early Portuguese explorers sailed past in 1488, followed by the Dutch explorers and settlers in the late 1600s.
Between 1990 and 1994, Lekkerwater functioned as the "Camp David" for de Klerk (chosen so for its proximity to Cape Town). It was here that de Klerk planned and deliberated how to elevate the old South Africa into the new, far from the stresses and demands of the politics of the time. Natural Selection says Nelson Mandela was foremost on his mind, as were the discussions and debates about South Africa’s new constitution. This story, as well as the broader strokes of the country’s own history, will be part of every visitor’s stay at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge.
In De Hoop, from July to November (and sometimes even early December), southern right whales and their offspring flock to the area from Antarctica in their thousands. They are not alone either: Just offshore is the De Hoop Marine Protected Area, essentially a game reserve in the sea where there can be no fishing or marine exploitation of any form. Guests might see pods of dolphins and an array of marine life in South Africa’s land-based marine safari destination.
Meals will be cooked in front of guests, sometimes right on the beach, toes-in-sand style, with the region's wines on the table.