Natural Selection will open their first South African property, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, in April 2019. The seven room exclusive eco-lodge is in De Hoop Nature Reserve, one of the most dramatic beach locations in South Africa and home to some of the world’s best land based whale watching.
Just over a three and a half hour drive from Cape Town (or well under an hour’s flight in a Cessna Caravan aircraft), Lekkerwater, which means “good water” in Afrikaans, is situated within the eastern, most exclusive area of De Hoop Nature Reserve. The lodge will offer a year-round authentic beach and bush experience in a magical, homely setting. Each room looks over three and a half miles of pristine beach that is dotted with rockpools and extraordinary fynbos – but with rarely a person in sight. This really is the ultimate beach destination.
The lodge has been built on the site of former South African President FW de Klerk’s retreat. In planning the design, the primary objective was to let the dramatic coastline do the talking. 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 hand woven baskets and rattan accents keep things earthy. The overall feeling is homely and understated. Natural Selection believes that everything should be ‘clean and green’ and Lekkerwater has been thoughtfully designed with the utmost respect for the natural environment. The lodge has been precisely built on and within the disturbed ground from FW De Klerk’s retreat. 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 vast majority of the supplies (and superb wines) are produced from within a 40 mile radius of the lodge.
The lodge and its location are steeped in history. Just 5 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. Then came the Dutch explorers and settlers from the late 1600s.
And more recently, between 1990 and 1994, Lekkerwater became the ‘Camp David’ of the former South African President, FW de Klerk. The site was selected because of its proximity to Cape Town, combined with its extraordinary natural beauty and solitude. 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. Nelson Mandela was foremost on his mind, as were the discussions and debates about South Africa’s new constitution which is today regarded by many as the fairest and the finest in the world. This story, as well as the broader strokes of the country’s own history, will be weaved into every visitor’s stay here.
De Hoop is one of the most glorious coastal reserves in all of Africa and offers some of the best land-based whale watching on the planet. 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’re 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 to De Hoop see sizeable pods of dolphins and an array of rich marine life in South Africa’s ultimate, land-based marine safari destination.
But this is not a traditional ‘fly-and-flop’ beach holiday; accommodation is limited to a two night stay. Natural Selection co-founder and developer of Lekkerwater, Colin Bell says, “All guests will arrive on the same day as strangers and depart two days later as friends and comrades after enjoying the journey of discovery that the lodge’s guides and this pristine environment will unfold.” Activities will focus on learning about and exploring the spectacular beach, its rockpools and intertidal zones, the fabulous fynbos, even caving and nature drives within the reserve.
Meals will be cooked in front of guests, sometimes right on the beach, toes-in-sand style, with the region’s finest wines on the table. There aren’t many places to enjoy this in anywhere in Africa – Natural Selection’s Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop is one of the few.
Prices at Lekkerwater Beach Lodge vary from ZAR 2950 to ZAR 6400 per person per night. This rate includes full board accommodation, all meals, all house wines, beers, drinks and all activities.