Hermanus has always been a glistening diamond in the Cape Overberg region, but it’s famed for its moody blue waters that annually transform into a paradise for the Southern right whale. It’s the quintessential spot for eager whale-watchers or curious onlookers, looking to spot one of these gentle giants splashing around with their kiddies.
Each year, these whales ditch the icy waters of the Antarctic and spend August and September frolicking in the warmer waters of the Cape as they mate and calve. While the Western Cape is home to an array of incredible land-based whale watching spots, the seaside town of Hermanus has been crowned the Whale Capital of the World.
Unfortunately, the town’s annual Whale Watching Festival has been postponed until 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t spot a few whales.
Hermanus is home to an abundance of marine life, with whales being one of the many incredible sea creatures that beguile visitors. Grab your binoculars and head to the Old Harbour in town to catch a glimpse of these friendly marine creatures. Large pods of dolphins also pass through this area, and the abundance of seals may even attract a shark or two. Gearing’s Point and Kraal Rock are two other spots you can check out. Hermanus is merely the first stop along the “Cape Whale Route”, which is approximately 559 kilometres of unadulterated beauty and epic viewing pleasure.
Whale watching may be at the top of your list when visiting Hermanus, but this bustling town has plenty to offer beyond that:
Grab a bite to eat
You’re bound to work up an appetite, so what’s for lunch? Hermanus is home to some incredible seafood spots, and the Fisherman’s Cottage is a great recommendation for those looking to dig into some good food and history. Nestled in a historical building that was built in the 1800s, patrons are treated to some of the best calamari this side of the Whale Route and enormous seafood platters that will put you in a food coma – in a good way. If you’re not in the mood for seafood, then try their smoked pork belly.
Here are a few other restaurants to try:
- Char’d Grill & Wine Bar – if you’re looking for something meatier.
- Cafè 1904 Restaurant – Cosy ambience and delicious food, including from the sea.
- Pear Tree Bistro – Gorgeous seaside views and delicious food make this a wonderful eatery to try.
Wash it down with some drinks
Hermanus may be famous for whale watching, but there is a range of incredible wine farms that have set up shop in this region too. Once you’ve snap and edited your favourite whale pics, make sure you head over to Creation Wines for a sampling of their incredible wines – a must when you’re in this part of the world. Lizette’s Kitchen Bar & Restaurants is also a great stop for those with hungry bellies, but it’s the ideal spot to relax and enjoy a drink after a day of whale spotting.
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A weekend getaway
While Hermanus is not too far from Cape Town, enjoying a sneaky weekend getaway is always a good idea. There are some great spots to rest your sleepy head and if you’re looking for a little privacy, then check out 49 Whale Rock Estate. It has some breathtaking ocean views, providing a chance to spot a whale or two. If self-catering isn’t your vibe, then head to the Marine Hotel Hermanus for some luxury treatment, views and good food.
If you’re spending a weekend exploring all that Hermanus has to offer, here are a few other fun activities you can get up to:
- Visit Lembu Gallery for some art browsing
- Hermanus Country Market is a great stop for some fresh produce and entertainment.
- Spend the day hiking through Fernkloof Nature Reserve
- Mountain biking enthusiasts can head to Hemel en Aarde for some cool MTB Trails.
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