Celebrating the beauty and biodiversity of the Morukuru Family De Hoop sand dunes

June 25th is World Sand Dune Day! This day was created to spotlight the importance of sand dunes and is celebrated annually by coastal communities and projects across the world. Beaches are made up of different parts, including the berm – the flat part good for things like beach cricket - and the dune – the tall ridge of sand covered with grass and other vegetation. Sand dunes are the first line of defence against coastal storms and beach erosion — they form a natural barrier to the destructive forces of wind and waves. How do dunes form naturally? Sand on the beach is subjected to high winds and is blown in every direction throughout the year. Where vegetation can get a foothold in the dry, infertile sand, the windblown sand grains get batted down to the base of the plant, and the sand surface incrementally rises, one grain at a time. Corné Lamprecht, Manager at Morukuru Family Ocean House and Morukuru Beach Lodge, says, “We must focus on the importance of conserving these vital coastal habitats - not just here in the beautiful, unspoilt De Hoop Nature Reserve - but all around the world”. Sand dunes are far more than just beautiful coastal landscapes. They’re important sanctuaries for plants and animals. Plus, sand dunes provide natural coastal protection against storm surges. Corné explains, “Here in the De Hoop Nature Reserve our pristine white sand dunes are not just gorgeous to look at, but crucial natural barriers and form a rich habitat for indigenous vegetation and wildlife. To protect the dunes, the government has implemented the planting of Rooikrans on the dunes’ edges. These trees help stabilise the dunes, but on the flip side, they have crept into the reserve, creating an imbalance in the fynbos biome.” Rooikrans is needed to protect the dunes but is unwanted in the reserve, where it causes damage to the natural environment. The Morukuru Goodwill Foundation (MGWF) foundation recognised and responded to this tricky dilemma by committing to a new conservation project. Corné outlines how this works, “We identified the need to control the growth of Rooikrans within the reserve to protect the fynbos. We tapped into the resources of the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation to begin a new and exciting project. MGWF has employed two local men to remove Rooikrans in our immediate area and further inland in the reserve. We use this wood in our lodges' fireplaces and sell the wood to local retailers in our area. Any cash is returned to the MGWF for future projects.” Dunes are especially sensitive resources. So for dune protection efforts to be successful, conservation efforts must continue. However, with the help of the MGWF, the future of De Hoop dunes is looking bright and will continue as a major attraction for guests who visit us, especially to make a personal connection with nature. The perfect white sand of our dunes is ideal for Dune boarding! This is one of the most exciting outdoor adventure sports, with plenty of opportunities for daring tricks and high speeds. Dune boarding is exhilarating, fast, fun, and super-safe, with sit-down options on offer. Experts tell us it is easier than snowboarding, wakeboarding and surfing and the most fun you can have in the sand of the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

Preservation is crucial for a number of ecological reasons but also just because dunes are breathtakingly beautiful. We can’t think of a more romantic set-up for early evening sundowners. Enjoy a coastal sunset between the dunes and the ocean - protected from any wind - with views for miles.

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