Hermanus is easily one of the Western Cape’s best-kept secrets, hidden under its guise as just a sleepy coastal town. However, there’s much more to the safest town in SA, where millionaires are flocking toward. And, with whale season set to run until September, there are a whale lot of reasons to visit.
The peaceful bubble has long been attributed as the world’s finest destination to spot whales frolicking in the bays or bubbling up on the watery horizons usually from July or late June when whale season is in full swing.
Travellers flock from all over the world for a chance to see a whale, but as anyone who has ever gone whale-watching will tell you, it’s often a game of luck and patience to see the Southern Right whales.
You’re likely to work up an appetite during this time, but don’t worry about a lack of foodie havens – Hermanus is in no shortage.
From bay to cave, here are 6 spots to grab a bite whilst on your whale-watching adventure:
1. Bietang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar
‘Extreme dining’ in one of the calmest places on Earth is exactly what you’ll find at Bientang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar, renowned for being one of the best whale-watching spots on the planet. The ‘extreme’ part comes from the experience of dining right on the rocks with the ocean’s hum and roar right at your feet.
Watch as the waves rise and fall as you enjoy an incredible seafood platter and a glass of wine, and get ready to up and move inside the cave if the sea feels particularly feisty that day. To top off the experience, the cave is also something of a fairytale.
The century-old cave portion of the restaurant once served as the home of a witch who lived right here in Hermanus at the mouth of the ocean.
- Where: In a cave, Below Marine Drive, Hermanus (100m from Old Harbour)
- Website: Bietang’s Cave
2. The Burgandy Restaurant
Situated in prime positioning of the Bay in Hermanus, and near the old harbour, The Burgundy Restaurant places you in a prime position to enjoy the seascape, where you could quite literally race to the waters should commotion arise toward whale-spotting.
Beyond its epic location, Burgundy is a local favourite for its fresh seafood and delicious farm produce from Valley Farmstall. Its burgers are mighty, the hake absolutely scrumptious and the experience a true representation of Hermanus hospitality. Bonus – it’s dog friendly too.
- Where: 7 Harbour Rd, Hermanus
- Website: burgundyrestaurant.co.za
Lemonicious boasts a festival of seafood flavours – from sushi to calamari and the most amazing fish curries. There are a few other treasures you’ll find at this little haven like savoury milkshakes (who knew pretzel toppings could be so good).
Of course, the view from the corner of Marine Drive and Market Square Streets marks the perfect setting for whale sightings. However, you may as well make your wait as tasty and seafood scenic as possible.
Lemonicious was also rated as a top choice for Trip Advisor in 2021, so whether you’re coming from far or around the corner, it’s well worth your travels.
- Where: Cnr Marine Drive & Market Square Street
- Website: LemoniciousHermanus
4. Lizette’s Kitchen
Whether you’ve succeeded in whale watching or have packed up for another day, and need a little break from the bay, trying out a farmhouse favourite is a sure way to unwind.
Lizette’s Kitchen is encompassed by a beautiful farmhouse property near Grotto Beach and emulates a feeling of dining nostalgically. Known for offering divine servings of fish and chips and surprises from Korea to Italy (steamed chicken dim sum or a carbonara to delight)
Lizette’s is a force to be reckoned with for those who need options. The wine menu is expansive, but Lizette’s is also a fabulous spot to grab a coffee. In fact, it has an entire coffee bar where you can start your day with the soft and sleepy rays of the Hermanus sunlight.
- Where: 20 on 8th Street Voelklip
- Website: lizetteskitchen.co.za
A beachfront gem, Dutchies overlooks Grotto Beach from some of the best seats, but mountain views are also on the menu for your eye’s feasting.
Perfect for families (including four-legged members) the bustling seaside delight is a go-to for breakfasts all the way to dinner. Sitting under a Milkwood tree, you’ll feel a wonderful sense of serenity at Dutchies – if you can get a table.
Dutchies is a popular watering hole for a reason, and if you are looking to visit owners Joke Gonggrijp and Daan’s well-loved spot, you’ll definitely want to make a booking in advance.
Beyond the food, Voelklip’s gem is also ideally located just a coin’s throw from the beach, where you can up and stroll to try your eyes at whale spotting beyond the bay.
- Where: Grotto Street, Voelklip
- Website: dutchies.co.za
Overlooking Walker Bay lie the delights of Fusion, who pride themselves on a versatile menu from the seas’ buffet to the sandwich bar. The chicken stack will have you singing along with the live entertainment near the spot, and the chicken pasta is riveting.
Your views include the luscious green lawns that roll by Walker Bay where the avid whale spotters set up camp. At Fusion, you won’t need to worry about missing out on the action as you’ll be right in the heart of it all.
Sit back and relax as you hone into the coastal ease and don’t forget to pay attention – you never know when your experience may just include a thrilling whale guest appearance just beyond your wine glass.
- Where: 5 Village Square, Marine Dr, Hermanus
- Website: fusioncafe-hermanus.co.za
Now if you’re looking to do a full stay this whale season, The Marine Hotel has your back for a fabulous little getaway.