Having known the Morukuru Family for many years, we were delighted to be asked to help launch their new Beach Lodge to the press.....especially as we knew that their creations are always extra special and a dream to PR. This exciting new addition to their portfolio, (plus the added excuse of my husband’s 40th birthday) provided the perfect excuse for a long weekend break to de Hoop!
Morukuru Family Ocean House was launched 4 years ago and is an off-grid, 5-star, 4 bedroomed exclusive-use house. Beach Lodge is their new sister property which opened on 7th July. Our transfer was an easy 3 hour drive from Cape Town through beautiful rolling farm country, with the last hour taking you down a dirt track to the de Hoop Nature Reserve.
The Morukuru de Hoop Collection is overseen is run by Calvin and his wife Cheré who are supported by two Manager couples running Ocean House and Beach Lodge respectively.
The properties are discretely positioned in the dunes and it is only as you approach that they emerge, and you are struck by the incredible design, which is both environmentally sensitive and visually stunning.
Our transfer was an easy 3 hour drive from Cape Town through beautiful rolling farm country, with the last hour taking you down a dirt track to the de Hoop Nature Reserve.
The first thing that strikes you as you enter the house is the knock-out, wrap-around views of the stunningly beautiful environment. Each room is designed around the view with floor to ceiling glass windows that makes you feel completely embraced by the surroundings.
The electricity is generated entirely by solar panels (although they do have a generator on hand for emergencies) and they heat the houses with the fireplaces using local, non-indigenous Rooikrans wood to protect the delicate fynbos. Hot water is created through a pellet boiler system.
Interior design in South Africa often has exquisite flair, and de Hoop takes that worthy reputation to a whole new level. The interiors are inspired by the surrounding fynbos dunes and reflect nature’s natural pantones.
The rooms were spacious and striking, with lofty ceilings and natural wood finishes. I was in interiors heaven!
De Hoop Nature Reserve (DHNR) forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom (Fynbos) and is just one of the world’s 18 biodiversity zones, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Fynbos takes up only 0.04% of the world’s land area, yet contains an incredible 3% of its plant species, making it one of the richest areas for plant species in the world. Its nearest peer in this regard, the South American rainforest, has only one third the number of species.
As well as this rare and beautiful plant kingdom, de Hoop is also a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and the hotel is one of the best shore-based whale watching spots in the world.
An MPA means that human activity is regulated in order to safeguard important habitats and threatened species. There are 3 types of MPAs in South Africa and de Hoop enjoys the highest level of protection, meaning that nothing may be removed, be it dune vegetation, shells or fish. No fishing is allowed in the area which enables the in-shore fish species to have a refuge from fishermen. The waters are also a calving area for southern right whales and offer phenomenal whale watching from June to November.
After a long day travelling, we were happy to have a gentle introduction on the first night, with a beautiful, game drive around the reserve where we saw the rare endemic Bontebok, Cape Mountain Zebra, Eland, Ostrich, finished off with that very common sighting on a game drive……the iced G&T!
With only two nights at the property we were determined to make the most of our time. The following morning we decided to cycle around the reserve to see de HoopCollection, the only other accommodation option in the reserve. No casual, cycling potter for us!- this was a 35km round trip. Well worth it, to get more of a sense of what the reserve offers in terms of accommodation, and the ride was punctuated by wonderful sightings of antelope, secretary bird, Cape Zebra andOstrich.
We had built up quite an appetite by the time we pulled our weary legs back into Beach Lodge but fortunately the team had prepared brunch fit for a king to welcome us back.
After we had refuelled, Calvin took us to see Ocean House and to walk down to the beach.
Ocean House is a 5-star exclusive-use house that can accommodate 8 adults and 4 children (of all ages). The 4 suites all offer huge windows with panoramic views of the ocean. A hot tub with the most phenomenal views across the ocean, a really cool bar and a cupboard full of Morukuru branded beach attire, are just some of the ways Ocean House makes its welcome, and makes a great first impression.
Calvin, the Manager said that March – June are his favourite months. The wind has died down, the temperature has cooled a little, and you start to see the whales appearing.
That evening we tried something that has been on my ‘to do’ list for a long time….dune boarding. It was such fun and they even had a smiling member of staff ready to wax your board after each run.
After the obligatory sundowners admiring the disappearing view of never-ending sand dunes, we had a delicious dinner, where the team surprised Matt with a mouth watering cake and a ladened with birthday decorations.
At Morukuru the Lodge managers choose what to do each day according to the season, weather and guests.On our last morning, Calvin took us on a marine safari. Whilst it was amazing seeing the pod of 50 dolphins surfing the waves, and the seal fast asleep in the shore, what struck me the most was what we found in the rock pools. It was like a whole new world had opened up to us.
The first exciting spot was a Common Octopus (although not so common judging by Calvin’s excited response!), we saw different types of starfish (Sea, Spiny and Cushion starfish) a Cape Urchin and a Sea Anemone. Calvin was so knowledgeable and passionate about each of these tiny creatures and their adaptations to their environment that we emerged passionate ambassadors for this marine environment.
With its rugged coastline flecked with fynbos, the deep blue of the sea and the pure white sand dunes it is hard to overstate the beauty of the area. This, matched with the hotel’s stunning and sensitive architecture, ultra cool interior design, impressively efficient and charming staff, and the variety of experiences, makes Morukuru a ‘must-stop’ destination for anyone heading up the Garden Route.
With maximum impact interior design; knock-out, wrap-around views of the stunningly beautiful protected environment; the newly launched Morukuru Family Beach Lodge has certainly kicked off in style since it launched in July.