We pored over the map and chose three for their spectacular beauty and special character. It was only afterwards that we realised we had unintentionally selected reserves beginning with De’s: De Hoop, De Mond and De/ Die Kelders (with a trip to the southernmost tip of Africa thrown in for good measure). It caused ripples of laughter and banter, and a string of bad puns, that reverberated throughout our ‘De-lightful’ adventure. To be honest, perhaps it was ‘De-vinely’ inspired, after all, because the choice of nature reserves gave us a taste of wilderness, wildlife and superb coastline, time to tune in to the land and ample opportunity for adventure.
Leaving behind the city bustle
It took a while to leave the traffic and city bustle behind us. Leaving work early on a Friday afternoon, we began to switch into holiday gear as we veered off the N2 onto the quieter roads. As the sun dipped in the sky, we made our way along De Hoop’s access road to the entrance gate. Afternoon sunshine lit up the meandering De Hoop vlei below and a series of tawny sand dunes in the distance. A golden medley of colours danced on the vegetation and painted the abundance of animals that was suddenly visible in a shimmering, dreamlike sheen. We slowed down to snail-pace, forgetting that we wanted to set up our tents before dark. “This is what it must have been like in the beginning when the world was good,” my friend exclaimed, mirroring our sentiments of the heavenly scene as a baby Cape mountain zebra bounded about before nuzzling up to its mother and doe-eyed eland and handsome bontebok eyed us inquisitively.