From all over the world people come to watch whales mate and calve from July to November, as Hermanus is famous for being the best land-based whale watching venue in the world.
Every year Hermanus hosts a "Whale Festival" and the famous "Whale Crier", the only in the world, strides the streets of the town with sandwich boards and maps, sounding his kelp horn to announce where whales have been sighted.
Hermanus grew as a holiday destination because of the restrictions on private travel during WW II. Farmers from the Overberg area used this village as their holiday venues.
You also find the magnificent beaches of Grotto and Volklip along Walker Bay. At Volklip and Grotto beaches you can swim and surf, while in the Kleinsriviervlei lagoon you can do boating.
Places to visit
Hermanus offers a variety of walks like the one from the new harbour to the mouth of the Klein River. Then there's Die Mond, where canoes, pedal boats, windsurfers, etc. can be hired.
And Onrus River, a resort at the lagoon's mouth, with a natural bathing pool. Birds inhabit the vlei, and the area is frequented by anglers, skin divers and surfers.
Scenic drives include the Rotary Way above Hermanus, with sweeping views down to Danger Point, or follow the Hemel en Aarde Valley, past vineyards and orchards, via Shaw's Pass to Caledon.
The old harbour was converted into a museum with its exhibits housed in restored fisherman's cottages, with a sonar buoy to transmit whale sounds.
The Museum telescope is also available to identify whales in the bay, as they are leaping from the water and lobtailing, as they go about courting, mating and calving. Guided tours are also available.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve
Hermanus also has the 1 446 Ha Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which has magnificent mountain and coastal Fynbos and other plants, snakes and about 48 Erica and 75 bird species.
Various walking and hiking trails are laid out for the nature lover.
Hermanus is thought by many to be one of the best holiday
and fishing resorts in the world. Die Plaat, part of the Walker Bay
Nature Reserve, has twelve kilometres of unspoilt, wild beaches, at
which fishing, horseriding and walking below the highwater mark is
It also has a very good reputation as an angler's
paradise. There are three factories here that processes the hauls
brought in by the local fisherman.
From Agulhas to Cape Point, the coastline consists of rocky sections
interspersed by long, white sandy beaches. There are only two harbours
of note in this area, namely Gansbaai and Hermanus.
These harbours, although mainly for the commercial fishing sector, do have some facilities for the recreational angler.
boat angling in this area is not common, but rock and surf angling is
popular. Species encountered are the same as in the Agulhas area, namely
yellowtail, geelbek, red steenbras, red stumpnose, red roma, elf,
garrick, white steenbras, galjoen and snoek.
Another species that
begins to show itself at certain times of the year, mainly in winter,
is the Cape snoek. This is a barracuda-like fish with a vicious set of
teeth, and although normally caught commercially, it is a popular
recreational catch. Averaging 5 to 9 lb and growing to 20 lb, the snack
offers excellent sport on light tackle.
At the western end of
this section of coastline is the large, shallow, semi-enclosed body of
water known as False Bay, in places 30 miles long and 35 miles wide with
a wide variety of species.
The more common are the yellowtail,
kabeljou, geelbek, elf and snoek, with the bottom-feeding redfish also
occurring regularly. This bay was famous for summer catches of bluefin
tuna in the '60s, but sadly as has happened the world over this species
has been heavily depleted and has not been encountered in False Bay for
more than 20 years.
The bay is serviced by two excellent harbours, Gordon's Bay on the eastern side and Simonstown on the western side.
are a number of excellent slipways for trailer-borne craft. Because of
its sheltered waters and variety of fish, False Bay is an excellent and
popular boating venue with hundreds of boats at sea on good days.