Whale-watching and Hermanus are practically synonymous from June to November when the Southern Right whales come close to shore along the generous curve of Walker Bay. The area is known for the best land-based whale-watching in the world, especially from the cliff paths in the nearby Fernkloof nature reserve. The town even has a ‘whale crier’ who blows his kelp horn when whales are sighted! But Hermanus has charm in bucketloads all year round, the beautiful natural setting between two lagoons backed by the fynbos clad Olifantsberg mountains, with a wide choice of sandy beaches and rocky coves offering adventure for all ages. Still affectionately known by locals as The Village, Hermanus has retained its historic fishing village appeal, despite having grown into a charming seaside holiday town complete with cafes, boutiques and art galleries.
It’s the ideal base to keep the whole family happy, with enough adventure sports to enthrall teens and adrenaline junkies, from surfing and kite-surfing to paragliding, abseiling and even shark-cage diving from nearby Gansbaai. For a slower pace take small kids to blue flag Grotto beach for lazy days of bucket and spade play, to Onrus beach to paddle in the river mouth, or go beachcombing and rock-pooling at Sandbaai. Potter among the town’s galleries and shops, there’s a thriving artist community here. And the region has its own wine valley the Hemel en Aarde which is making a name for itself as an up and coming wine region, well worth a scenic drive inland to explore. Spring is made magical not only by whale sightings but also for the explosion of flowers among the fynbos. Fernkloof Nature Reserve and Walker Bay Nature Reserve are a must to hike through, the latter with the additional attraction of the dramatic Klipgat cave. There really is something for everyone on holiday in Hermanus!