Hermanus is a small town an hour and a half along the east coast from Cape Town. Once famous for the healing powers of its ‘champagne air’ Hermanus now boasts another claim to fame. Hermanus is the best land based whale watching site in the world. The Southern Right Whale visits the shores all along South Africa’s Western Cape coast every year from July to November to breed and calve. But nowhere offers views of this magical phenomenon quite like Hermanus.
With its 12 kilometres of cliff top paths which stretch the length of the town and offer unparalleled views of the bay where the whales like to frolic, Hermanus offers an unforgettable whale watching experience.
The most common whale seen in Hermanus is the Southern Right Whale, so called because it was considered by whalers the ‘right’ whale to hunt due to the fact that it floated when killed. Keen spotters however may also be lucky enough to see Humpbacks or Brydes whales and occasionally even Killer Whales.
Hermanus is the heart of the ‘whale trail’ and this can be seen in the culture of the town which embraces all things ‘whale’. Hermanus is famed for being the only town in the world to have its very own ‘whale crier’. Similar to the town criers of Europe, the whale crier announces the presence of whales in the bay by blowing his unique kelp horn. He is also a local expert on both the whales and the town of Hermanus itself and will gladly answer questions for you.
Hermanus also hosts a whale festival every September in the peak of the whale season. It is the only enviro-arts festival in South Africa combining themes of conservation and sustainability with those of arts and culture.
If whale watching from the cliff tops is not up close and personal enough for you there is also the option of boat based whale watching trips. They will take you closer to the whales then you ever dreamed of being and give you the opportunity to spot other wildlife such as dolphins, seals and otters.
If the weather is not conducive to whale watching, do not despair. There are plenty of other things to do in and around Hermanus. There are many great wine farms in the region which offer wine tastings and cellar tours as well as a number of fabulous art galleries which showcase local talent.
Combine your day out in Hermanus with a visit to a top Hemel en Aarde Winery.
Half an hour from Hermanus in a valley with very dramatic scenery, we can visit a winery for food and wine pairing lesson and a barrel tasting with the winemaker. (subject to time of year!)
This tour is only offered June – November when the whales are here!
Rate = R4700 for the day trip excluding entry fees and meals. This price is for the vehicle with guide, maximum 6 passengers.
We strongly recommend the whale-watching boat that departs from the New Harbour at 12h00 every day between June and November, if weather permits. This will cost an additional R1200 per person and is subject to availability – so try to book this tour a couple of days in advance!
En route to Hermanus, for those with a botanical interest, we can stop for an hour at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. Some of the endemic flower species to the Overberg region bloom here between July and January.