Morukuru Ocean House
“De Hoop Nature Reserve, Cape Province”
Situated in the De Hoop Nature Reserve comprising 88,957 acres of coastal reserve, the splendor of Morukuru Ocean House and its surrounds will take your breath away.
I’m lying on my bed watching the whales in the bay frolicking, breaching and lobtailing. Just a typical Sunday morning at Morukuru Ocean House where this is a small part of the magic that happens here. Our butler Vusi Tshuma knocks on the door, asking permission to enter with a tray of hot coffee and cappuccino. In the room next to ours, our daughter is being served a steamy mug of hot chocolate.
Relaxation is one of the paramount aspects at Morukuru Ocean House together with their ‘no schedule’ ethos, except your own.
It makes complete sense for the owners to have grabbed the opportunity to secure this piece of pristine coastal reserve. An adoration so profound for Africa developed when Anka and Ed Zeeman first set foot on the continent, they soon realized that acquiring property seemed like the logical thing to do. After their initial safari in Kenya in 1991, their burgeoning desire to procure some land was greatly fueled by the immense beauty of South Africa.
The Dutch power couple’s background in the Real Estate Industry and more specifically, in Property Management, stood them in good stead when determining how to turn their dream into reality.
An architectural masterpiece comes into view when you approach Morukuru Ocean House, set amongst the fynbos with the sea a short walk from your doorstep. Designed by architect Nick Plewman, he wanted to create something out of local materials that blended in with the surroundings. The outside cladding of the house is similar in hue to the color of the sandy beach while the inside is furnished with complementing colors of the ocean and encircling fynbos. Shades of blue, green and yellow showcase the brilliant work of Dutch interior designer Janine Butter. ‘We like outspoken interiors with plenty of colors,’ Anka admits. ‘And comfortable furniture, rich fabrics and colors that combine well with the habitat.’
Our imminent arrival is met with song and dance by the entire staff at Morukuru Ocean House, where Managers Riehan Groenewald and Mari Bosman are at hand to greet us. Vusi is at the ready with a non-alcoholic drink and some refresher towelettes. As we enter the house, we immediately notice the imposing chandelier made of glass, created by Riaan Chambers. At the window seat, you can sit, staring at the ocean for days.
We are shown to our rooms – my husband and I are occupying Room 3 while our daughter is residing in the Owners Room, Room 4. Vusi announces that lunch is ready and Chef José Carvalho talks us through the lunchtime menu – Bobotie with pumpkin fritters for main course and Vanilla Panacotta for dessert. After lunch, we soak up the sun next to the crystal clear pool while being serenaded by the cacophony of sound from weavers building nests.
The offer of sundowners accompanied by dune boarding seems very enticing. Riehan drives us to the most magnificent dune that overlooks the ocean. Our daughter, under the watchful and expert guise of Riehan, Admire Brown and Tight Nyinda attempts her first dune descent. It is not as easy as it looks and she starts off sitting flat on the board while careening down the slope and ingesting some sand. Standing atop the board seems reserved for experts and should not be attempted from the get-go. She manages to do half a stand, much to her delight. We are watching from the sidelines with Admire and Tight taking turns to serve us drinks and snacks. The sun has started setting and the wind chill factor encourages us to make our way back to the house.
Vusi meets us at the entrance with hot chocolate and the promise of a warm fire and a scrumptious dinner, cooked up by Chef Gillian Ditlhake. On tonight’s menu is a Spinach Roulade starter for my husband, Prawns for me and for main course, my husband dines on Kingklip with mouli while my daughter and I tuck into our Beef Fillet with roast potatoes. Dessert is the very sweet Vanilla Pot du Crème and Vusi has by now refined my cappuccino to perfection – not too strong, with lots of yummy froth.
Loads of fresh sea air has depleted us of energy and I’m ready for bed, but not before indulging in a cleansing shower, using the Morukuru products from generously filled bottles of hand and body wash. The bed is enormous in size and the white bedding feels so soft that I fall asleep in the wink of an eye.
After a tasty breakfast of fruit, croissants, bacon, eggs, sausage and mushrooms, we take a casual stroll to the beach to embark on a low-tide marine walk. It is wonderful to see the water inhabitants up close – starfish, sea urchins and other critters. Time to get active – a volleyball net has been set up for some beach fun. Lunch is brought to us and we feast on chicken kebabs, mini-burgers, fries, fruit skewers and milk tart. Our daughter wades into the water as snorkeling is a very popular pastime with kids and adults alike. She passes her Morukuru Ocean Kids shell bag to me to fill with the most stunning sea shells I have ever seen.
Time to amble back to Morukuru Ocean House to appreciate the offerings of the house that feels like it’s perched at the end of the world. I had hardly started drinking my cappuccino while gazing at the blue yonder when our daughter informs me that we are going on a Nature Drive with a dune-boarding session thrown in for good measure. One gulp later, we meet Riehan at the front entrance who drives us to the ‘Vlei’ where we spot greater flamingos, yellow billed ducks and teal ducks. We also pass Cape Mountain Zebra and some Bontebok. Riehan parks the vehicle at a dune so steep I voice my reservations about how to get to the top of it. The clever duo use their dune boards while I’m left at the bottom, trying to invent a way up without injuring myself. I try Riehan’s suggestion of ‘walking in my footsteps’, but since my daughter has already done that, I sink further into the soft sand and the more I climb, the more I slide downwards. Only one option is left – I crawl up the imposing dune (read – hill) on my hands and knees! Having the time of her life, I stifle a grin as the next dune is so high that when my daughter tries to get to the top again, she looks like someone hanging from a cliff. She has sand everywhere and decides we should rather go home. Now to get down the hill …. I mean dune.
On our way back to Morukuru Ocean House, Riehan shows us the building in progress of Morukuru Beach Lodge, set to open in 2018. Similar in design to Ocean House, it will have slightly different exteriors and more contemporary finishes.
José had given us many options of what we can have for dinner and we are all beyond excited at the prospect of enjoying another one of his delicious meals. My husband has corn, cumin and cauliflower Soup for starters and for main course we are presented with the most delicious Lamb Shank with mashed potatoes. For dessert, José has whipped up the most decadent Chocolate Mousse I have ever tasted.
Apart from the luxuriating concept that is all encompassing at Morukuru Ocean House, Anka has a special place in her heart for De Hoop Nature Reserve and all its facets. ‘With the enormity of the park, the fynbos and the different species living in the Nature Reserve; you can view eland, bontebok, zebra, ostrich, baboons and a large variety of birds; the sea shore is protected and is one of the best places in the world for land based whale watching. Every year, between June and November, many southern right whales come to the sandy shores of De Hoop to give birth to their calves. Not forgetting the spectacular white sand dunes, the lake called ‘the Vlei’ which houses a myriad of bird species and a vulture colony in the mountains.’
With natural beauty in excess, it seems apposite to experience it from the lap of luxury. The only 5-star all-inclusive property in De Hoop Nature Reserve, Morukuru Ocean House is ready to welcome you home.
*** Thank you to Marina Smithers-Carlaw from Marina Smithers PR for arranging our stay. Thank you Anka and Ed for allowing us into your stunning home.***
Views expressed are the author’s own.