Whale Trail Photo-Hike (Mid November 2019)

The Whale Trail in De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of South Africa’s top Hiking Trails and an incredible experience.


Thephotowalkers.com have arranged this tour to make it an exciting, well planned photographic treat. Every detail has been thought of taken care of.

Transport, food, drinks and carting for your luggage while you hike is all arranged and included. All you have to do is arrive with charged batteries!

Non-Photographers (aka soul photographers) are welcome too!

This is our second photographic hike through the Whale Trail!

Come Join Us!

There are a maximum of twelve people (including the two professional photographers) on this tour so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

This photographic tour starts and ends in Hermanus. Additional pickups and drop-offs at Cape Town International Airport can be arranged as well as pick ups and drop offs in Hermanus and en-route the start of The Whale Trail in De Hoop Nature Reserve. Additional accommodation in Hermanus can also be arranged.

Testimonial – The Whale Trail Hike 2015:

“Walking with Leanne and Peter provided me with the opportunity to discover and experience the Whale Trail in a unique way – through the lens of my camera. The walk is challenging, but every day offered different photographic learning. From photographing the small to the wide, bright light to low light. And anything you have not photographed before offered a chance for a lesson. Leanne and Peter are considerate guides and kept us oldies in good shape. This experience is one of my favourite memories.” Annabe Tredoux.




Day 1: 

For those travelling to Hermanus – meet and greet at Cape Town International Airport at 10h30 and travel to Hermanus. Arrive in Hermanus at 12h00, change, leave bags. shop and enjoy a light lunch. Those based in Hermanus will be collected from their homes and the group will depart from The Photo Shed at 14h00. Arrive at the first hut of the Trail for an evening braai at around 17h00.

Day 2:

An early wake up and depart to the start of the hike, stopping for breakfast on the way. Hike Potberg to Cupidoskraal (14, 7 km – Moderate to strenuous ± 8 hours) This is the toughest stretch of the trail which is why we are having an early start. It will take you to the top of Potberg at 611 meters, with breathtaking panoramic views of Swellendam in the north, Cape Infante in the east and Cape Agulhas in the west. You will also have a good chance of sighting the rare Cape vulture. The trail descends towards Cupidoskraal where a swim in the dam offers a refreshing end to the day as well as beautiful photographic opportunities. An evening braai in the forest will finish off the day.

Day 3: 

An early start after breakfast with many stops along the way to photograph. Hike from Cupidoskraal to Noetsie (15 km – Moderate ± 8 hours) The trail follows the crest of the Potberg through mountain fynbos with unequalled views of the Indian Ocean and the Breede River. The route finally leaves the Potberg and leads onto limestone hills with strikingly different fynbos, then descends to the enchanting bay of Noetsie at the coast. A casual supper and ‘painting-with-light’ on this beautiful sheltered beach. A wonderful location for an ocean swim.

Day 4: 

A leisurely start to the morning and sun-rise shutter speed photography on the beach. Hike from Noetsie to Hamerkop (8.5 km – Easy ± *6 hours – 4 hours of actual walking) This short distance allows a leisurely start to the day and ample time for exploring and photographing the coastline. Stilgat, with its clear tidal pools and abundant marine life will provide an unsurpassed opportunity for snorkelling and swimming. Several view points lie ahead until you reach a lovely sandy beach stretching all the way to Hamerkop.

Day 5: 

Hike from Hamerkop to Vaalkrans (10, 5 km – Moderate ± 6 hours) It is well worth the long walk on the beach as the views and turquoise rock pools that you eventually reach are splendid. Please stay clear of the sensitive calcrete formations and look out for interesting seabirds like the shy oystercatchers and white breasted cormorants basking in the sun. Hikers are requested to respect the privacy of the guests staying at the remote Lekkerwater Lodge which is on this route.

Day 6: 

Hike from Vaalkrans to Koppie Alleen .7 km – Easy ± *6 hours (2 hours of actual walking) Again, a short hike allows you ample time to enjoy scenic landscapes and watch the southern right whales and bottle-nosed dolphins frolicking in the waves. Snorkel at your leisure or float in the Hippo Pools before walking up to the Koppie Alleen parking where the bus will collect you and transport you back to Hermanus. At 16h30 the bus will leave for Cape Town International Airport. Hotel transfers in and around Cape Town can also be arranged during that evening.


Two Accredited South African Professional Photographers – Peter Hassall and Leanne Dryburgh. All fees applicable for The Whale Trail. Transport to the start and end of the trail in an air-conditioned bus with refreshments. Accommodation throughout the tour with breakfast/brunch and dinner every day. Coffee and rusks as well as evening drinks and snacks. De Hoop Nature Reserve Park Fees and access to a basic first aid kit. Containers with your clothing and toiletries transported between huts daily enabling you to hike with your camera bag only. The option of leaving a suitcase with clean clothes locked away in Hermanus on day one of the tour enabling you to have clean clothes for your journey home.


Camera gear and accessories, lunch, laundry, additional adventure activities, refreshments off the bus, unforeseen transport, tips of any kind. Airport transfers and any additional accommodation. All items of a personal nature, insurance and flights (these can be arranged). Bedding (sleeping bags and pillow) and towel.

Price and Payment Policy:

Once you have filled out the form via the ‘ENQUIRIES AND BOOKINGS’ at the top of this page with your transport and accommodation needs – a final quote will be sent through to you.

A R5000.00 deposit per person is then required to secure your place/s and the balance is payable in full by no later than 4 July 2019. There is an option to pay via credit card through the ‘ADD TO CART’ button at the top of this page, or you are welcome to pay by bank transfer/EFT. These details will be sent to you when you send your enquiry/booking.

Due to the high costs of this trip – there are no discounts allocated.


Accommodation in the overnights huts is clean and comfortable.  It is ‘dorm living’. You need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towels and all toiletries. “I will challenge all of you to find more beautiful places in the world to sleep!” (Leanne – the co-owner of thephotowalkers.com and long-time hiker)

What to Bring:

In order to achieve the most from the Accredited South African Professional Photographer, a camera body with a manual mode function is recommended. However, all makes of cameras are welcome. There is no electricity at the huts, a few fully charged camera batteries. Between the group, we will take 4 sturdy tripods to share.

  • Headlamp /Torch (with new batteries)
  • Pocket knife
  • First aid kit
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Waterproof gear
  • Cell phone (charged) with important numbers saved.
  • Space blanket
  • Whistle
  • At least a 1, 5 l water bottle
  • Food: thephotowalkers.com will provide breakfast and dinner daily with reasonable drinks. You will need to provide your snacks and lunch for each day as well as any additional drinks that you may like. (lists will be provided before to all secured bookings.) Special dietary needs will be filled as best as possible.


  • Do not interfere with plants or animals, or deface rocks.
  • Take all litter home with you. Do not pollute rivers and streams with soap, shampoo or any chemical substances.
  • Take a small spade and bury toilet matter.
  • Outdoor fires are strictly prohibited.
  • Never discard cigarette butts – they cause veld fires and are unsightly.
  • Stick to paths and walk in single file to avoid soil erosion.
  • Leave trail huts in good condition.
  • Firearms and pets are not allowed.

What to Wear:

Comfortable clothing and walking shoes are recommended. Secure open shoes with a good grip are recommended as a second pair of shoes. Wind breakers come in handy for photographing at dusk and dawn and pockets are useful.  thephotowalkers.com will communicate with you closer to the of date of departure should there any be any inclement weather expected that would encourage additional items of clothing that are not typical.

  • Take a wind and waterproof anorak and warm
  • Wear two pairs of socks. Change the inner pair every few hours to prevent blisters
  • Boots or shoes should be sturdy with strong non-slip soles and must be well worn in.
  • Tennis shoes and takkies are not suitable.
  • Sun hats are essential, even on cool days. Use a sun block on all exposed parts, not only your face!
  • In cold weather wear a warm cap/beanie to prevent heat loss.


Persons over the age of 18 are welcome to join as non-photographers.


A reasonably high level of walking fitness is required to enable you to transport your own camera bag or daily hiking bag. Medium distances are covered every day. They do include walking up the Potberg Mountain and across pristine beaches. We dont race the trail, rather go at a pace that allows us to stop, soak up the scenery and capture the scenery.


None! Photographers of all skills level are welcome. Come Join Us!

Departure Point:

The Photo Shed. Shed 34 Marine Drive, Hermanus. TIME AND DATE TO BE CONFIRMED

Shuttles can be arranged for pick up at 10h30 at Cape Town International Airport. Pick up can also be arranged in Hermanus between 13h00 and 14h00.

(Airport shuttles can be arranged during the day of the 17th of March as well as accommodation in Hermanus for the night of 17 March.)

Return Point:

The Photo Shed. Shed 34 Marine Drive, Hermanus. TIME AND DATE TO BE CONFIRMED.

Shuttles can be arranged for drop off  at 18h00 at Cape Town International Airport. Drop offs can also be arranged in Hermanus between 15h00 and 16h00.

Cancellation Policy:

Due to the popularity and high demand of this Trail –

Cancellations within 12 weeks of the event: No refund will be issued on full booking amount. Cancellations more than 12 weeks before the event: 25% refund will be issued on the full booking amount. In the event that thephotowalkers.com has to cancel the tour for any reason what-so-ever, a full refund will be issued immediately.

Terms and Conditions:

Thephotowalkers.com has to increase the price of this hike if they incur increases beyond their control.


By booking this Photo-Tour you agree to be bound by thephotowalkers.com indemnity terms and conditions. thephotowalkers.com, it’s staff, employees, suppliers and partners will not be held responsible for loss, injury, death or damage including consequential loss of any nature what-so-ever. By booking this tour you understand and accept this. thephotowalkers.com will do their best to avoid any circumstances that may lead to the above.

Intellectual Property and Confidentaility:

By booking this tour you understand, accept and agree that any information given as well as any service providers, locations, workshops, partners, techniques or any part of the tour what-so-ever is the Intellectual Property of The Photowalkers (t/a thephotowalkers.com.)