Hermanus is one of the best land-based whale watching destinations on the planet. You don’t even need binoculars to see these incredible creatures. These whales turn this small and tranquil village into a bustling tourist hotspot. But if you’re an avid animal lover, even the crowds won’t turn you away. Hermanus is just 122 km from Cape Town. It used to be a small fishing town, but now it’s a top-notch tourist destination (with a few traditional twists).
Originally, the town was called Hermanuspietersfontein, but this was too long for the postal service, so they shortened it in 1902. Hermanus sits right on the south coast of the Western Cape and has a range of accommodation, restaurants and shops to suit all visitors. It’s also a popular retirement spot, so the nightlife isn’t too wild. It’s best to find accommodation in the main town; it means that everything’s pretty much within walking distance. The town centre stretches down a long road and is a great base for all the activities in Hermanus.
Southern right whales come to Hermanus between June and December. You can easily watch them from the shoreline. The best whale watching spot is the cliff path between New Harbour and Grotto Beach. You don’t need to be worried about missing them, either. The ‘Whale Crier’ will announce a sighting with a blast on his horn so you’ll know when to look out to sea.
For a close-up experience, go on a boat tour. You’ll see whales breach, dive deep into the depths or even observe their mating habits. You might also spot great white sharks and playful seals. For something a little different, try a wine tasting during your stay. The vineyards around Hermanus are quickly gaining international attention. There are plenty to choose from around here. There are some odd little quirks throughout Hermanus that give it a rustic charm. The fynbos-covered dunes make visiting here an almost ethereal experience.
We love that while the town is touristy, it’s not too commercial. The founders decided against this centuries ago; they built a railway station but refused to build a line connecting Hermanus to the rest of the world so they could preserve their fisherman’s heritage. And they’ve managed to do so spectacularly.
Plan your trip to Hermanus today.