Well, its been a funny old “winter” so far down in the Cape as it never really got going to be honest.
We had perfect summer days with almost summertime heat and I wonder if that maybe stopped the Southern Right Whales in their tracks as they certainly took their time migrating to our coastline this year!
Hermanus comes alive from June to December with the arrival of the whales in Walker Bay. This coastal village doesn’t only offer superb whale watching from the cliffs or if you not adverse of going to sea, there is also boat-based whale watching, but other natural attractions too such as mountain walks and bird watching, not to mention the great surfing spots and plenty of excellent accommodation available.
The quaint coastal town of Hermanus has become synonymous with whale watching, given it’s sheltered coves in which these marine mammals come to mate and calve.
Southern right whales start arriving in Walker Bay from June and may even remain until December. These massive creatures can be viewed from the shore, from boats or even planes. To alert onlookers, a whale crier sounds his kelp horn when he spots whales off the Hermanus coastline.
For its scenic beauty alone, Hermanus is one of South Africa’s Cape gems.
The town’s mountainous backdrop declines steeply to a rugged shoreline, characterised by deep bays alternating with stark white beaches with names like Onrus, Kammabaai, Langbaai, Voelklip and Grotto Beach. There are beaches ideals for walking, beaches great for surfing and lagoons ideally suited to families.
The town is at once a mix of old and new, with commercial shopping outlets, jewellers, art galleries, antique dealers and museums lining its narrow streets. Step off the beach and into the old-world whale museum, or wander the streets looking at gnarled fishermen’s cottages to see how time has shaped the town.
When the whale’s seem to be sleeping, Saturday mornings you can browse at Lemm’s Corner where you can find locally produced arts and crafts on sale and shoppers are even serenaded by a marimba band. And don’t forget about the Hermanus Country Market at the cricket fields.
There are plenty of adventure activities to do in the area as well. Hermanus and Gaansbaai are excellent shark cage diving spots while the smooth bays and lagoons offer lovely kayaking opportunities. You can also go mountain abseiling, enjoy half-day river cruises, sea cruises to Dyer and Geyser islands to see sharks, penguins and seals, go on a Botrivier boat trip if you’re a bird lover, take the plunge and go scuba diving, kick up some dirt while quad biking and take in the landscape while horse riding.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve is popular among hiking and photography enthusiasts, and golfers will be thrilled to discover an award-winning course at the Arabella Country Estate. The Hermanus Golf Club is another beautiful local option.
Where to stay
Hermanus offers top-class hotels, plenty of B&Bs and holiday cottages.
Contact us for more information and to book accommodation at local guest houses, bnb’s and hotels. C
Around the area
Go food and wine tasting at the Hermanuspietersfontein Wine Cellar market in the Hemel-en-Aarde Village. Stanford, just outside of Hermanus, hosts an evening market at the Birkenhead Brewery on the last Friday of every month.
For a dose of nostalgia, visit the Fisherman’s Village Craft Market on Lemm’s Corner in the heart of Hermanus over the weekend.
Contact us to book you on a township tour of Zwelihle to meet residents and understand a different side of Hermanus life.
DID YOU KNOW?
Hermanus is considered one of the best land-based whale watching destinations in the world.