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Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Overberg DC, South Africa
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Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Why we love it: this stunning property sits on nearly four miles of pristine pearly sands and was once a presidential retreat


Highlights:
- One of South Africa’s best places for land-based whale watching
- A soothing palette of blue and white, echoing the Indian Ocean outside
- Set between the sea and dramatic Potberg Mountains, the area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a World Heritage Site

The review: Three-and-half-hour east of Cape Town, this luxury resort was once a haven for President F.W. de Klerk, who helped the nation transition from apartheid to democracy in the 1990s. Its long, wide stretches of sugar-white sands are a destination in their own right. But the biggest draw there remains southern right whales, who migrate here from Antarctica to mate and calve from July to November. They may steal all the headlines, but the De Hoop Nature Reserve also shelters eland and 12 species endemic to the Cape, including rare mountain zebras and leopards. Turn away from the turquoise Indian Ocean (if you can) to explore rock pools teeming with abalone and octopus, backed by hills blanketed in fragrant fynbos plants.


The original Lekkerwater lodge burned down in 2015, a somewhat ironic turn of events as its name means “good water.” Safari outfitter Natural Selection stepped in and built a chic new beach property, preserving the footprint of de Klerk’s original residence. It has seven straightforward rooms that keep the focus — quite rightly — on the expansive windows. Natural beauty continues to shine throughout the resort with materials like wicker chairs, bamboo chandeliers and a massive communal dining table hewn from an oak slab. Guests occupy six units and one family chalet, strung along the beach. Each has an ocean-facing balcony with privacy screens, as well as original paintings of local wildlife by South African artist Jemima Sargent.

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