The mild Mediterranean climate, champagne air, fynbos-covered mountains, sparkling and ever-changing sea, string of white beaches and rocky coves, rich marine life and the best land-based whale-watching in the world make Hermanus one of the most magnificent and desirable eco-destinations in South Africa. Combine all that with sophisticated restaurants and shops, a beautiful golf course and a mere 90-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport, and you’ll see why Hermanus is no mere stop-over. Hermanus is a destination.
‘Sit back and watch the biggest show on earth.’
The best time to enjoy whale watching in Hermanus’s Walker Bay is between July and November, from land, by boat or from the air via a scenic flight. A little more than 15 years ago a large section of the bay was declared a whale sanctuary to keep boats away from the Southern Right whales that come here annually to breed. A walk along the famous cliff paths will reward you with some of the best land-based whale watching in the world.
The entire fynbos-covered mountain that backs Hermanus is one massive reserve, most of it falling within Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the rest within the private Vogelgat Reserve. The combination of mountain and sea has produced a very rich collection of fynbos – 1600-plus species are protected here.
Hermanus’s long and varied coastline reveals beaches that range from secluded coves, perfect for sunbathing, to the 18-kilometre-long Blue Flag Grotto Beach. Here, you can sunbathe, swim or walk along the swatches of fine white sand.
Hermanus Golf Course, situated between mountain and sea, must be one of the most beautiful courses in the country and the resident baboon troop adds a unique wildlife experience to the game! There is a sea or mountain view from every hole and the rich fynbos – from wetlands to mountain and coastal fynbos species – is spectacular.
Kayaks offer the perfect way to explore this unique coastline. Departing from the Old Harbour, you will be treated to views of the mountains and the entire stretch of coastline as you glide across the ocean.
Shark Cage Diving
Get up close to the resident Great White Sharks from the safety of a shark cage-diving boat. The boats depart from Kleinbaai just beyond Gansbaai (operators in Hermanus will transport clients to the quayside). Set aside a full morning or afternoon for this adrenaline-filled adventure.
Meander along the R320 to explore the Hermanus Wine Route and discover some of the best chardonnays, pinot noirs, pinotage, sauvignon blancs and shiraz wines in the country.
There’s a 50-plus-kilometre network of paths winding along the mountains that back Hermanus and its satellite suburbs of Onrus and Hawston. Some sections can be strolled; others are more challenging. The views from the top are astonishing.
Art and Culture
For almost a century, Hermanus has been a magnet for artists and writers drawn by its light, clarity of air, moody sea and many-hued mountains. You’ll find lots of works by local artists in the galleries that dot the town. Ask us for more information about our art route map.
And there is more…
Fishing, birdwatching, 4×4 trails, township tours… The list of things to do is endless.