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Your guide to Hermanus
All About Hermanus
The small town of Hermanus at the tip of the Western Cape in South Africa is one of the world’s top whale-watching centers. Hermanus lies along Walker Bay, just over 100 kilometers southeast of Cape Town, and you can watch the mighty mammals breach from the cliffs surrounding the town. Hermanus has a long fishing and whaling history, which you can explore in the museum housed in the preserved Old Harbour.
Hermanus is also the gateway to the Western Cape wine country, and you’ll find some of South Africa’s finest wineries a short drive away. To make art more accessible on the first Friday of every month, Hermanus holds an art walk, with more than twenty galleries throwing open their doors so visitors can look around and browse.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Hermanus?
Hermanus has a warm, tropical climate. Summers are warm and dry, winters are cool and overcast, and while there’s little variation in temperature between seasons, it’s smart to bring layers to protect against the wind all year round.
To make the most of your time in Hermanus, plan your stay around the annual Whale Watching Festival at the end of September, with a week of eco-marine celebrations, live music, food, and all-ages entertainment. The best time for whale watching is between June and December. You have very good chances of seeing Southern Right whales from September through the end of the year, when they arrive from Antarctica to mate and raise their calves, with numbers reaching a peak in October. The best time for birders is between October and March, when migratory species are passing through town.
What are the top things to do in Hermanus?
Some of the best whale-watching viewpoints are along the 7.5-mile clifftop path which runs through Hermanus. Most days you won’t even need binoculars here, as whales can be seen playing just a few feet from the shore. Gearing’s Point and the Old Harbour have panoramic views across Walker Bay, allowing you to catch the whales in action from another point of view.
The Hermanus official wine route winds its way up the Hemel-en-Aarde (“heaven and earth”) region, taking in 15 of the country’s finest wineries. You’ll find classically styled South African Pinot Noir and Chardonnay among the varieties produced here, which you can sample against scenic backgrounds of the three continuous “wine wards” comprising the town of Hermanus, a nature preserve, and the South Atlantic Walker Bay.
You don’t need to be an avid bird watcher to understand the importance of Hermanus as a birding paradise. More than 100 species can be seen at the Fernkloof Nature Reserve just outside of town. The Hermanus Bird Club runs regular walks around the area, helping you spot the Cape sugarbird, the Cape siskin, and many other exotic species.