Natural Selection opens first SA property

May saw the opening of Natural Selection’s first property in South Africa, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge in the De Hoop Reserve. The property sits isolated on a six kilometer stretch of beach in De Hoop Reserve, east of Cape Town.

The rooms at Lekkerwater are perched on a cliff just meters back from the coastline. Each of the seven rooms has floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The décor drew its inspiration from the environment and each room has a bespoke piece of art by South African artist Jemima Sargent. For cooler evenings there is wood burning stove in the room.

The main area offers 180-degree views of the coastline with panoramic windows which open up. A large communal table dominates the interior space, intended to bring guests together over meals to chat and share stories. The internal courtyard offers a more secluded space for relaxed meals and for relaxing by the swimming pool. Where possible, the furnishings were sourced from local suppliers. There are towels from the Barrydale Weavers, ‘Love Seats’ made from recycled wine barrels in Plettenberg Bay and mats from a women’s empowerment project, Thandi Collection, in KwaZulu Natal.

The lodge was designed to leave as light a footprint on the environment as possible. Entirely solar powered, the lodge has been built with as little cement as possible. The bedrooms are exclusively built from commercially grown soft woods and are supported off the ground by just six foundation pillars. The grey water treatment plant is the latest technology so that the water that leaches back into the soil is as pure and as free of contaminants as is possible; and the lodge operations are striving to be single-use plastic free.

The property also has a very strong sense of historical place. The summer house and “Camp David” of the former South African president FW De Klerk. But the area’s history stretches even further back than that, just five 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 between 64,000 and 100,000 years. The area’s story is told in a striking wallpaper which dominates the only wall in the main area. Created using nineteen original sketches drawn by the Cape Town based artist James Durno, it depicts the history and natural history of Lekkerwater from 100,000 years ago until today.

Activities at De Hoop revolve around the tides and the thriving intertidal zone of the Marine Protected Area offshore that stretches three miles out to sea. Mornings can be spent exploring the rock pools and learning about the myriad of species which call the shallow waters home.

Afternoons are often spent exploring the fynbos eco-system or relaxing with a book in the sunshine or strolling up the beach at your own pace is also an option.

The food at Lekkerwater is a celebration of South Africa’s traditional dishes. Home cooked and hearty, everything is sourced locally and focuses on wholesome, tasty dishes. Bobotie is served one night and then the next night enjoy a beach braai (BBQ) with feet in the sand and South African lamb chops on the fire. Wines are also sourced locally, many from nearby Agulhas, Elim and the Hemel en Aarde valley and plains that make up the Overberg Region.

Natural Selection’s ethos is rooted in conservation and 1.5% of all revenue from Lekkerwater Beach Lodge goes straight back to conservation projects. Lekkerwater Beach Lodge is working with the country’s leading shark experts, Chris and Monique Fallows to facilitate their studies.

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