De Hoop Nature Reserve, on the Southern Cape coast, is probably most famous for its iconic Whale Trail.
And this past weekend well-known Marine Conservation Photographer, Jean Tresfon affirmed just how incredible the spot is for whale watching. Tresfon, together with whale scientist Chris Wilkinson were conducting an aerial whale survey for the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit.
They lifted off early on Saturday morning from the Morning Star airfield into the crisp clear air and almost immediately encountered southern right whales. But it was when they reached the De Hoop Nature Reserve area that they were just blown away.
“The absolute pinnacle was at the De Hoop Nature Reserve - from Skipskop Point to Lekkerwater - where we spotted an incredible record-breaking 1 116 whales, or 558 cow/calf pairs, highlighting the fact that Koppie Alleen is without question the most important nursery area for southern right whales on the South African coast,” Tresfon recounted after nearly seven hours in the air.
However, he later received a message from Els Vermeulen, head of the Whale Unit, advising him of the final numbers - a total of 1 347 southern right whales counted between Hawston and Witsands, made up of:
- 661 cow/calf pairs
- 25 unaccompanied adults
This is believed to be almost triple the amount of whales counted at nearly the same time – the first week of September - in the same area, in 2017.
CapeNature is co-funding the whale research this year highlights with CEO Dr Razeena Omar highlighting the importance of monitoring the demographic changes in the Southern Right Whale population.
Omar says, “As the winter season draws to a close it is an exciting time to see this kind of positive growth in conservation numbers. The uninterrupted aerial survey database is critical to long-term efforts to assess the extent of reproductive patterns and species population dynamics.”
De Hoop is spectacular
"De Hoop coastline really is the best spot for whale watching in South Africa," says William Stephens of De Hoop Collection.
The De Hoop Collection is set in the spectacular setting of the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape - and with its conservation aspects managed by Cape Nature, they offer a wide range of accommodation types designed to suit all budgets.
The Reserve, in the Overberg region, is a comfortable three hours’ drive from Cape Town on the world renowned Garden and Whale routes.
"It is the ideal stop-over en route from the Cape Winelands to Plettenberg Bay. Visitors to the De Hoop Collection enjoy unparalleled peace and tranquillity in what must be one of the Cape’s last unspoiled gems."
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