Located on the southern coast of South Africa’s Western Cape, the town of Hermanus is most famous for whale watching. Southern right whales can be seen from the cliffs of Hermanus between June and December, making this little town the best land-based destination for seeing whales in the world.
The magnificent sea creatures were once hunted in these waters but are now protected to ensure the survival of the species. For context, visit the Old Harbour Museum to learn more about the whaling industry and the habits of these giant mammals.
Other things to do in Hermanus include scenic cliff walks and hikes across the hills. Due to its close proximity to the Winelands as well as local wineries in areas such as such as Hemel-en-Aarde valley (Heaven and Earth), there is also ample opportunity for wine tasting.
A 15-kilometre route through the valley connects the wineries, which can alternatively be accessed on a quad-biking tour. However, if you’d rather be drinking than driving, there are organized tours between the wine farms, which include transport and a spot of lunch.
Nearby areas to visit include the rugged beaches of Gansbaai, where you can go cage diving with great white sharks; snorkelling and diving the shipwrecks of Arniston; a trip to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa; the private nature reserve of Grootbos, which is home to the largest milkwood forest in the world; and the World Heritage Site of De Hoop Nature Reserve, one of the largest protected marine reserves on the continent and a great place for dolphin sightings.
Around 122 kilometres and a 90-minute drive from Cape Town, many visitors to Hermanus come just for a day trip. However, we believe that this little coastal town makes for a relaxing and charming overnight stay, especially during whale watching season, to see the migrating southern right whales make Walker Bay their home, mate and calve – a stunning phenomenon to witness.