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Hermanus Snapshot

Hermanus (125km from Cape Town) vies with Plett as the Cape’s Riviera. It has lots of whales in season (you ain’t kidding!), holiday accommodation bursting at the seams, and a strip of fast food-chains stretching from one end of town to the other. You either like Hermanus or you don’t. The coastline and surrounding landscape is certainly lovely, and the main town square is a nice spot to hang out, but whatever you do, don't arrive expecting a quaint fishing village (as the local tourism office would like you to believe), because the town has outgrown much of its original character. Also don't assume you will land bum on beach because most of the available accommodation is miles from the sand and water. With so much available best you make direct contact with the local Info office - which carries a mixed bag of granny flats and other accommodation.

Things To Do

  • Hermanus has several beaches, each with different appeal. Die Plaat is an impressive 12km stretch of white sand, extending from the lagoon mouth to De Kelders. The tidal pool near the Marine Hotel is the only accessible swimming spot near the town centre as the rest of the immediate coast is craggy rock.
  • Climb to the top of Hoy’s Koppie where Sir Hoy and his wife Gertrude are buried. Survey the expanding sprawl below and tell us that Hermanus is a holiday village, as the local publicity office would like you to believe.
  • Stroll along the cliff paths stretching from one end of town to the other – a pleasant morning and late-afternoon experience. Take in the Old Harbour, cavorting whales and a coffee shop or two along the way.
  • Fernkloof Nature Reserve offers soothing respite from the bustle below. The reserve has over 50km of trail, picnic spots, great views and impressive flora that is at its flowering peak in spring.
  • For views without sweat, a drive along Rotary Way unveils a vista of Walker Bay and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
  • Some of the country’s top wines come from three wineries in the picturesque Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Hamilton Russel Vineyards scores consistently high with its chardonnay, as does adjacent Bouchard Finlayson, while newish newcomer, Whale Haven Winery is gradually becoming known for its merlot. All three offer tastings from Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings.
  • For places to eat, the sidewalks of Hermanus are neon-lit by franchised fast food outlets and independent coffee shops. Just like home. At last count there were more than 50 eateries listed on the town’s website - that was some time ago, so the actual number is likely far higher today.
  • Yikes, we almost forgot! Hermanus offers some of the world’s best land-based whale watching. Again, the cliffs along the seafront provide the best vantage point.
Getaways in and around Hermanus
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