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De Hoop MPA

South Coast of the Western Cape, South Africa
Management Authority: CapeNature

De Hoop Marine Protected Area is located along the southern coast of the Western Cape about 50km east of Bredasdorp and 50km south of Swellendam.

De Hoop MPA was declared on 1 January 1985 and the adjacent De Hoop Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site was listed under the World Heritage Convention Act 1999 in July 2004. The MPA covers an area of approximately 25 300 ha (253 km²).
The MPA includes a coastline of 46 km from Stilbaai Point in the east to a point between Ryspunt and Skipskop in the west, and extends three nautical miles offshore into the Indian Ocean. Detailed coordinates of the exact boundary positions are available on request.
The importance of De Hoop as a Marine Protected Area
The MPA is located adjacent to the Agulhas Bank, representing an important area that contributes greatly to the high biotic diversity of this region. The intertidal zone within the MPA has faunal elements representing both warm-water east coast species and cold-water west coast species. The resulting richness and diversity of intertidal organisms attracts a large variety of fish species to this coast.
De Hoop MPA has been very successful in protecting populations of sought-after reef fishes, and in providing migrant recruits of over-fished fish species such as Red Steenbras to neibhouring fishing areas.
The De Hoop MPA is currently the only conservation area that affords protection to the unique intertidal system of large, eroding, soft sandstone and limestone platforms.

The sandy beaches found in the MPA support a variety of interstitial bacteria, diatoms and invertebrates.

Three species of fish known to be present in the MPA are listed as “vulnerable” .These species are the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharius), white steenbras (Lithognathus lithognathus) and red steenbras (Petrus rupestris).

De Hoop MPA is critically important for the conservation of the Southern Right whale (Eubalaena australis) which is an endangered species. De Hoop MPA, together with St. Sebastian Bay contain 70-80% of cow-calf pairs on the South African coast and ranks as probably the most important nursery area for Southern Right whales in the world.

The MPA also contains an important breeding area for the rare (near-threatened) African black oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini).

An African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) breeding colony has recently established itself within the MPA, making it one of only three main land based penguin colonies in Southern Africa, the two colonies, Boulders and Stony Point are also within MPAs i.e TMNP MPA and Betty´s Bay MPA respectively.

Recreational activities that can take place within the MPA include hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling, whale watching and many others. There is also the famous De Hoop Whale Trail, a 5 day hiking trail with three days running along the coast.
A variety of accommodation and camping facilities run by De Hoop Collections are available on the De Hoop Nature Reserve, with easy access to the coastal area.
Enquiries and bookings for all the above facilities can be made at the CapeNature booking office at 021 659 3500.

Special and curriculum linked environmental education programmes are also offered by the De Hoop Nature Reserve and MPA´s Potberg Environmental Education Centre. For any further information, please contact the centre manager at 021 542 1114.

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