Just a few things to love about Hermanus: Whale watching; amazing seaside views; museums; old fishing boats; hiking/walking; beach volleyball; coffee shops; restaurants; pubs; craft markets; soft-serve ice-creams; diving; shipwrecks; horse riding on the beaches, nature reserves and more!
Hermanus is a scenic seaside town situated on the southern shore of South Africa’s Western Cape Province. It is renowned for its fantastic southern right whale watching from June to December, and is a well-loved town for retirement due to its peaceful atmosphere and tranquil scenery. The whales can be spotted from the cliffs in the town from as early as June, and typically vacate in early December. These magnificent creatures were once hunted in the close by town of Betty’s Bay, but are now guarded to ensure the survival of the species. It is a gorgeous area with plenty to offer.
The Old Harbour Museum houses numerous exhibitions that depict the whaling industry, as well as details the history of fishing and whaling in Hermanus. Here, you will find marine tanks occupied by ocean creatures. You can also attend lectures on the intertidal zone and view the remains of fishing boats utilised between 1855 and 1961. The De Wethuis Photo Museum contains a display of photographs by T. D. Ravenscroft that explains Hermanus’ history. The Whale Museum boasts a life-size skeleton of a whale, and holds audio-visual presentations of whales and dolphins. Fisherman’s Village Photo Cottage exhibits a photographic display that describes the history of the charming village. All of these are incredibly fascinating, giving you a comprehensive understanding of the town.
Whale watching is obviously the most popular activity here, where you can spot whales frolicking from the snaking shoreline. The boats provide you with an excellent vantage point from which to observe these majestic creatures. You can also watch them from the benches along the cliff trails, or close-up using the telescope at the Old Harbour. Southern Right Whales often visit the Walker Bay area, but there have been intermittent sightings of Killer Whales. Peak season is between October and November, but you can also spot them in May during mating season. Be sure to keep an ear out for the world’s first Whale Crier, a person who patrols the streets blowing a kelp-horn to announce the arrival of whales in the Bay.
Diving is also a wonderful activity in which to partake here, especially if you are intrigued by Great Whites. There are numerous shark cage diving operators around Gansbaai, which is close by to Hermanus. Dyer Island usually attracts big numbers of sharks, where you can climb into a cage attached to the boat in order to safely observe them in their natural habitat. The best time for this is between May and September, when you might even spot a shark leaping out of the waters – sometimes with its prey clenched between its gigantic teeth! There are also plenty of reefs to explore in Hermanus, as well as various shipwrecks to be seen strewn across the ocean floor.
The Grootbos Nature Reserve has remarkable trails and wide open spaces that are ideal for horse riding. With its own stables and about 20 well-trained horses and small ponies for kids, guests can enjoy horse rides at any level. Beach rides lead you through gorgeous fields of fynbos where you can gallop alongside the waves that lap the shore. You will be led by expert horse-riders, so you can relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve has a range of interweaving walking paths and hiking routes through the dense plant life. The cliff path that hugs the shoreline offers a fantastic 12 kilometre path for both walkers and hikers. Begin near the harbour and experience a vibrant visual journey along the stunning coast. With so much to do and see in this beautiful region, it is no wonder Hermanus is such a popular tourist destination.
Our popular South Africa Rainbow Tour goes to Hermanus.