This popular seaside resort, also known as the “Riviera of the South”, is one of the best whale-watching destinations in the country. Every year, between June and November, visitors and locals eagerly await the arrival of the southern right whales, who visit these shores to breed and calve. The town was originally named Hermanuspietersfontein after a wandering Boer named Hermanus Pieters, who settled here in the 1830s. In 1902 the unwieldy name was shortened to Hermanus. The cobbled alleys and open-air restaurants of the town give it a vaguely European atmosphere and is one of the many reasons why people return here again and again.
Adventure And Sport
Angling at Grotto Beach: The beach is one of the best angling spots in the area and was awarded Blue Flag status in 2002 for its splendid and clean condition.
Angling: Anglers from around the world are attracted by the many species of fish, such as kob, silver fish and red stumpnose found in the surf and lagoons. Angling for rock lobsters is another popular activity, but this is only allowed within the season.
Beaches: The Hermanus area has many inviting beaches where sunbathers gather, as well as surf and lagoons where swimmers, surfers and anglers spend their time.
Cliff Path: The path offers remarkable views of the sea and the mountains. The lookout points are ideal for spotting whales and dolphins from June to December.
Diving: Many people are attracted by the novel experience of shark cage diving organised by several operators. The reefs and wrecks off the coastline can be explored by scuba divers.
Hiking: The hiking trails that traverse the cliffs offer wonderful views of Walker Bay.
Hoy’s Koppie: Named after Sir William Hoy, this hill is situated in the middle of the village and is a part of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Paths that are easily accessible lead to the top of the hill where Sir Hoy and his wife are buried. The view from the top of the hill is breathtaking.
Sailing: The Hermanus Yacht Club on the Klein River Lagoon hosts many events and competitions.
Snorkelling and Swimming: Sandbaai Beach has many rock pools which are safe for swimming. Snorkellers also enjoy swimming among the marine creatures inhabiting the pool. The Marine Tidal pool and Fick’s pool are well sheltered and safe for swimming.
Surfing: The waters at Voлlklip, Onrus Beach and Kammabaai have the best waves for surfing.
Art And Crafts
Whale Coast Art Route: The route takes visitors to several local artists who exhibit and sell their work. It also includes various art and crafts galleries.
Hermanus Wine Route: This route is also known as the Hemel en Aarde (“Heaven and Earth”) Valley Wine Route. The climate in this region ensures the production of some of the best wines in the country. These include Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines. Some seven wine cellars are part of the route, including Bouchard Finlayson, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Whalehaven Wines, Cape Bay, Sumaridge, Bartho Eksteen and Beaumont Wines. All the wines from this route are available at the Wine Village that sells wines from over 310 estates and cellars. It is one of the largest wine shops in the country.
New Harbour: Watch the fishing boats unload their fresh catch and then move along to one of the harbour restaurants, where you are guaranteed a fresh seafood meal.
Perlemoen: Hermanus is at the centre of the South African perlemoen industry. The word perlemoen means “mother-of-pearl”, referring to the pretty interior of the shell. Fishing for this delicacy requires a permit. Many of the local restaurants have it on the menu.
Entertainment And Shopping
Shopping: The area boasts many unique boutiques, markets and stores.
Fauna And Flora
Die Plaat Walker Bay Nature Reserve: The beautiful beach and lagoon areas that are protected by Die Plaat Walker Bay Nature Reserve can be explored via walking and horse trails.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve: The reserve has many footpaths and an overnight trail through the Cape Floral Kingdom vegetation. Vantage points on the higher slopes guarantee wonderful
views of the coast. The reserve is attractive throughout the year on account of the fynbos that is never without some flowering plants. The Fernkloof Reserve is also home to the largest carnivorous plant in the world, the Roridula gogonias.
Rotary Mountain Way: The road up the mountain offers truly magnificent views of the local scenery.
Whales: Hermanus is the only town in the country that has an official whale-crier. During the peak of the whale season, in September and October, the whale-crier parades through the streets, announcing new arrivals with a blast on a kelp-horn. The vantage points from the low cliff-tops and the clear water at the base of the cliffs provide the best land-based whale-watching opportuinities in the world.
History And Architecture
Fishermans Village Photo Cottage: This old building in Market Square above the Old Harbour exhibits many fascinating photographs that depict the history of the village.
Old Harbour Museum: The Old Harbour features a row of beautifully restored fisherman’s cottages, one of which houses the museum. The museum has an underwater microphone attached to a sonar buoy in Walker Bay that picks up and transmits the songs of the whales. It also has a telescope through which the whales can be watched.
Magnetic Observatory: The observatory monitors the variations in the earth’s magnetic field and is one of many such observatories in the world.
Tiger Eye Manufacturing: Tours of the factory reveal how these gemstones are cut and polished. The Rock Shop sells the stones and jewellery made from them.