Morukuru Beach Lodge: An Intimate Five-Star Hotel By The Sea

Morukuru Beach Lodge: An Intimate Five-Star Hotel By The Sea

Standing between veld and sea, this five-star eco lodge on the Cape’s world-famous Whale Coast is peerless in terms of its location, service, eco cred and luxurious accommodation.

It was late afternoon when we finally arrived at Morukuru – after an arduous, traffic-logged drive escalated by a puncture in Bredasdorp. A sea of smiling faces, warm hand shakes and refreshing rose-water cocktails welcomed us as we alighted from our vehicle, lifting our spirits instantly.

Preempting our plight (mending a puncture over a weekend in time for our journey home!), Riehan Groenwewald, one of our hosts, said: “Don’t worry; we’ll plug up your tyre here.” And then Mari Bosman, the hotel’s admin manager, added: “At Morukuru, we can do anything” – words that would come to exemplify our entire stay at this out-of-this-world sanctuary.

Morukuru Sunset

Gourmet canapés on the beach at sunset?
No problem.

With G&Ts three ways and fun-sized sand-boarding?
With pleasure.

Whales on demand?
That’s what you’re here for.

Mending punctures.
All in a day’s work.

Welcome to Morukuru Beach Lodge, a stylish eco lodge in what could be the most stunning setting in the world. Here are 10 reasons why we love it – and why it should feature on every nature lover and discerning traveller’s bucket list.

The setting

Morukuru Beach Lodge Setting

The five-roomed hotel lies on a sliver of prime seaside real estate characterised by towering white sand dunes, limestone cliffs, striking fynbos – and a stretch of Indian Ocean that becomes a daily playground for dozens of southern right whales every year between August and November.

Eco design

Morukuru Eco Design

Inspired by its isolated seaside setting, Dutch owners Anke and Ed Zeeman wanted their lodge to reflect, complement and, most importantly, respect its surrounds, while maximising the stunning whale-watching opportunities, and encompassing the relaxed indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Which is exactly what architect Nicholas Plewman did. Morukuru exquisitely delivers all the trappings of a the luxe life while keeping its footprint feather-light. Due to its remote location, the hotel is fully off the grid: electricity is generated by solar panels (with a backup generator for cloudy days); hot water is produced by pellet burners and the entire lodge has water-based underfloor heating.

Whales (and wildlife)

De Hoop Accommodation

De Hoop offers the best land-based whale-watching in the world. Fact. But, there’s more to this seaside sanctuary than marine mammals. The neighbouring 36 000-hectare De Hoop Nature Reserve is home to the biggest herd of eland in the world, Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, ostriches, and over 260 species of birds, including the rare Cape Vulture. We spotted two endangered oystercatchers during a morning walk to the rockpools.

Turbo-chic rooms

Morukuru Room

The five immense and beautiful rooms (four face the ocean, and one boasts mesmerising dune vistas) were designed by Dutch interior designer Janine Butter, who has used nature’s tranquilising palette as her inspiration to create chic, modern, serene spaces that complement the landscape. Floor-to-ceiling sliding doors open onto a narrow balcony, revealing a 51-kilometre stretch of beach and the ocean beyond. A sea-facing daybed, cosy fireplace and lounge area make it hard to leave your room. Our three-year-old son was very taken with the hidden TV that pops up – 007 style – at the flick of a switch.

Morukuru Bathroom

The limestone-clad bathrooms are beautifully designed, with touch-sensitive taps and an oversized shower head that makes bathtimes bliss…

And there are two communal tea-and-coffee nooks decked with everything you need to enjoy the perfect cuppa: rusks, biscuits, and a cosy dune-facing nook with a well-stocked bookshelf and comfy chairs.

Relaxed routine

After easing into the day with a bowl of granola, pain au chocolat or a tasty omelette, there’s the option of joining Riehan (or one of the other guides) for a marine walk, relaxed dune stroll, or an excursion to the nature reserve. There’s no pressure to go along, but the guides are fonts of information, so it’s well worth it.

Morukuru Game DriveMorukuru Lodge

If you’d prefer to explore on your own, the lodge has a fleet of bikes available.

Wining and dining

De Hoop Accommodation

The food offering is superb – which is by no means a given in this remote neck of the woods. Highlights include the lamb cutlets that we enjoyed on the first night, the deconstructed bobotie for lunch, and the beef ravioli.

The people

Morukuru Ocean House

The lodge opened in June 2018, and already the team beams with infectious enthusiasm. From Vusi, Romeo and Admire in the dining room to Elliot who took care of our every whim, and Nicholas who lit our fire every night, to the ever-helpful Lawrence, it feels as if every member of the staff is committed to making your stay memorable.

There’s so much to do

Morukuru Pool Deck

From swimming, snorkelling and sand-boarding to fynbos hikes, marine walks, bike rides and picnics on the beach, there’s loads to keep you relaxed (and busy). And, of course, there’s a pooldeck, complete with a Jacuzzi – the only place to be on chilly evenings…

The seclusion

There are very few places on earth that are untouched and untainted by commercialism. De Hoop is one of those rare, hidden gems. With the tranquilising ocean ahead, the salty sea air and fynbos-dotted sand dunes all around, you can’t not be enveloped by nature’s overriding sense of calm.

All the extras

The attention to the finer things is ultimately what makes a getaway stand out. At Morukuru, it’s all in the details. Some of our highlights were:

Private Bath

The outdoor hot-water tub waiting for us after our blustery marine walk
The rice milk in the fridge (as an alternative to dairy)
The complimentary use of all outdoor equipment (snorkels, masks, water shoes, wetsuits, mountain bikes, sand boards, ponchos, gumboots, beach umbrella, towels)
The hot-water bottles at turndown

It’s for all these reasons we’d return to Morukuru in a heartbeat.

An unmissable special

Morukuru Beach Lodge is currently running an incredible Last-Minute Special: from R5 000 per person per night (almost 50% off) for a minimum stay of two nights. Valid for stays until 17 December 2021, these rates are valid for last-minute bookings only (six weeks before arrival). Children under 2 years stay for free; children under 16 years sharing with two adults in the Ocean View Family Suite pay R 1 750 per night.

The special From R5 000 per person per night for a minimum stay of two nights
From R1 750 (children 3 –16 years)
Free (children 0 – 2 years)
Good to know The Honeymoon Suite is available for R5 500 per person
Please note The special does not include alcohol.
Distance from CT 3 hours
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? No
Address De Hoop Nature Reserve, Overberg District Municipality, Overberg

Check Availability + Book Direct

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 16 October 2020