Hermanus is a picturesque seaside town on South Africa's south coast, near the Garden Route and about 90 min drive from Cape Town. It is particularly famous as the "best land-based whale watching destination in the world", with southern right whales easily seen from shore during winter and spring months.
In the Overberg area and on Walker Bay, Hermanus is a popular holiday village close to Cape Town. The town is world famous for the Southern right whales that are seen from shore during the winter months. Every year these gentle creatures of the sea migrate along the coast of South Africa with Walker Bay as one of their destinations, to calve and nurture their young. From the harbour of Hermanus, boat trips depart on a regular basis to see these majestic whales from up-close. One can also stay ashore as Hermanus is the best land based whale watching destination in South Africa, and possibly the world, especially during the Hermanus Whale Festival.
Apart from whale watching, the area of Hermanus boasts some excellent holiday accommodation such as the Misty Waves. Also, plenty of possibilities to spend the day in an active way: hiking, fishing, boating, and horse back riding.
Hermanus boasts of being the "best land-based whale watching destination in the world". Whale season runs from June through December, with Southern right whales easily seen from shore through the winter months. Since 1992 the Hermanus whale crier has roamed the shores downtown, blowing a horn to announce any sightings. There are a couple small museums, about whales and the town, that can be visited.
- Grotto Beach, Grotto Road. Beautiful Blue Flag beach with an 18km stretch of white sand, so there are remote spots even on the busiest days. Popular with body-boarders and kite-surfers.
- Voelklip Beach. Favourite with surfers and swimmers, can get crowded during season.
Go on a boat tour to see whales from very close. You might also see some from the coast and there is a whale watcher, whose only job is to spot whales that come along.
- Walk the Cliff Paths. The Hermanus cliff paths on the seafront meander for about 11 km, taking in the town centre, as well as the beautiful beaches to the east. During whale season, they provide perhaps the best land-based whale watching location in the world, as well as taking in dramatic sea views and the endangered coastal fynbos. Wheelchair-friendly in parts.
- Hermanus Whale Festival, 79 Marine Dr. Late September/early October. This multi-day festival celebrates the return of the whales and draws over 100,000 visitors to the town. Events include a live music stage, food, sports, activities for kids, arts, nature activities, and quite a bit more. Be aware that having thousands upon thousands of people descending upon a small town with limited access makes for traffic nightmares and plan accordingly.
- 1 Southern Right Charters (corner of Westcliff Dr & Stil Rd), ☏ , email@example.com. Offers boat-based whale watching in Walker Bay, with daily departures from June to December, aboard their purpose built catamaran which provides superior stability. On the trip you can mostly encounter the southern right whales, seals, penguins and marine birds, and often see dolphins, bryde’s and humpback whales on many of their trips.
- Diving – see Diving in Hermanus.
- Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Home of the Hermanus Botanical Society with a number of hiking trails through fynbos visitor centre, waterfall, overnight huts Free entry, donations welcome.
If you would like to try some South African traditional food called umngqusho, you can find it in restaurants.
South Africans in Hermanus mostly like drinking beer, especially on weekends.
There are hundreds of places to stay in Hermanus, and except for the high season, you won't have difficulty finding a place to stay on arrival.
- 1 Livesy Lodge (on the main road into Hermanus from Cape Town), firstname.lastname@example.org. Space for 12 guests with rooms surrounding a large pool and garden. En-suite bathroom and kingsize beds. Breakfast available for R100 a person. ~R750 per person sharing (high season).
- 2 Hermanus Whale View Beach Front, Whale Close, Whale Rock Estate, Westcliff. 1500.
- 3 19th Hole Guest Lodge, 281 Main Rd, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. 4-star bed and breakfast that used to be the golf course club house. Situated on the 27-hole Hermanus golf course. All 5 rooms are en-suite with French doors opening onto the golf course. The swimming pool area is ideal for relaxation and soaking up that South African sun. R900.
- 4 Fisherhaven Travellers Lodge, 20 China Marais Ave, Fisherhaven, Hermanus, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: from 14h00, check-out: from 10h00. A 4 Star graded establishment offering a variety of affordable accommodation in Fisherhaven, suburb of Hermanus. Includes en-suite standard and double rooms, as well as a family suite. Free Wi-Fi and secure parking available. From R500 per night.
- 5 FrancolinHof Guest House, 44 10th Ave, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. This four-star guest house is the first to receive a Gold rating for accessibility. From R410 per person, discounted in winter.
- 6 Hermanus Seafront, 31 Tobago Bay, ☏ , email@example.com. Self-catering accommodation, one-bedroom holiday apartment overlooks the sea - excellent for whale-watching or as a base to explore the region. From R600 per night.
- 7 Milkwood Lodge Hermanus, 152 Seventh St, ☏ . Check-in: 12:30PM, check-out: 11:00AM. 4-star guesthouse that offers B&B and self-catering accommodation with en suite rooms that have private patios and private entrances, some with twin and other with kingsize beds. There is a one bedroom cottage which is fully equipped and caters for 2 adults and 2-3 children. There are day beds in the lounge for the children. There are some rooms that cater for families. There is a swimming pool and barbeque facilities for guests use. R450.
- Mosaic Farm, ☏ . On the south side of the Hermanus lagoon. Magnificent setting looking across the lagoon to the mountain from the restored stone manor house, "The Spookhouse", or from luxury African-style Lagoon Lodge.
- Explore the Overberg region.
- All attractions of the Garden Route.
- De Hoop Nature Reserve for more whales.
- Gansbaai and the Danger Point Peninsula area on the other side of Walker Bay
- Betty's Bay along the Whale Coast to see the African Penguin at Stony Point.
- Betty's Bay along the Whale Coast to visit Harold Porter botanical garden. Harold Porter