We had ‘n few cold and rainy days, so instead of taking walks, we spend our time indoors in front of the fireplace. Yesterday we went for a late afternoon drive to buy more wood and on the way home I asked my husband spontaneously to drop me off just out of town to walk back home.
Although I believe in the Almighty God of the Bible and believe firmly that He is in control and will bring us through this time of epidemic, riots and so many other things life throws at us, I sometimes do get discouraged and a bit depressed. I’m human after all.
I love cold coastal afternoons, when the cool air touches my cheeks and makes me feel more alive. When I’m feeling a bit off, just a half hour walk by the sea makes me a new person again. But, as I was walking down the road – not having reached half an hour yet and still not feeling so renewed, I was thinking about friends having serious problems, issues in the family and just all the changes we had to make and have to live by because of the pandemic. I was wondering if we would ever have a bit of boring normality again and if there will ever be a time when I would become as excited as a child about the future again. (I’m not sure if this lack of excitement had come due to circumstances or because of age, but that’s a musing for another breezy afternoon.)
As I was thinking these thoughts, people passed me in cars and on bicycles and on foot – all enjoying the nippy, fresh air which the wind breathed in from the snowy mountains not too far away. I heard some music over the sound of a nearing car and thought it was coming from a nearby house or one of the boutique hotels. But alas, towards me walked an elderly man with his two leashed dogs and when we got close enough to each other, I heard opera music coming from the cell phone in his pocket.
I walked home smiling, way lighter in spirit and I just realised again, that it is the small things in life which causes happiness and which makes pandemics and problems bearable. The God of the Bible does burning-bush miracles, but sometimes He just sings opera in the cool sea breeze.
2021 had just gone on where 2020 left off, with the year beginning with a stricter level of lockdown, forcing schools to start later – meaning that the holiday didn’t coincide with Easter weekend this year. Every dark cloud has a silver lining though. In this case it means not two in one, but two separate holidays to provide that little bit of relief from all the stress the pandemic had brought upon us all. It also means that we have time to relax and get away from working at home. For local businesses it means that the seasonal window for business is open a bit wider for longer.
With travelling abroad not an easy option right now, towns like Hermanus are reaping advantages as South Africans opt for local holidays. It was really wonderful to experience a bit more vibrancy to our coastal villages during the twee long weekends recently, with people flocking back slowly to come and relax in this most pleasant of seasons in the Overberg. Flowers are blooming, days are sunny and lazing on the beach or walking the cliff path are a wonderful activities for both individuals and family.
Here and there we will have a bit of wind and rain of course, but hey, that is what our magnificent restaurants and coffee shops are for! For all the latest events going on, Google ‘hermanus restaurants’ and then visit their Facebook and Instagram pages. The Burgundy Restaurant, for instance has regular Friday night live music evenings with well-known performers and Dal Italia Deli and Romantiques combine to entertain small groups of 20 on dining and a movie. Follow the restaurants on social media to see what is on while you are visiting.
Hermanus is a convenient one and a half hour-drive from Cape Town which provides an easy daytrip opportunity for someone on a limited budget. Be warned though – a day in the village will not even cover the basics, while a visit of four days or so will give one at least an idea of what the town has to offer.
Make sure to include a Saturday in your trip planning to visit one or more of the markets in the area. Also keep the art walk on the first Friday of every month in mind (only between September and April). There is now also an art market every first Sunday where the Saturday market is held.
Start your visit in Hermanus with a trip up the Rotary Way to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view of the whole of Walker Bay.
The town offers quite a few walking options. There are various routes into the mountain from the Fernkloof Nature Reserve as well as a cliff path walk along Hermanus’ 7.5km coastline from the new harbour to Grotto Beach (or the other way around). One of the local taxi services can be used for transport to the beginning and from the end point. You can also walk shorter distances on the cliff path from anywhere you stay in town.
For nature lovers there are plenty to see. The area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom with plenty unique fynbos species to be observed.
Unfortunately our weekly Parkruns (on Saturday mornings at the venue on the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley road) is still not being held due to Covid-regulations.
Other physical activities (weather permitting) to explore in the area are surfing, mountain biking, fat biking on the beaches, scuba diving, kite surfing, sandboarding, sea fishing etc.
Although ‘whale season’ is mostly during the months of August through to early November when the Southern Right Whales visit the bay, our local residential whales, the Bryde’s whales are currently entertaining residents on a daily basis. Colonies of seals, pods of dolphins and even waddles of penguin are seen regularly, along with schools of fish and always lots of different species of birds.
On wind-quiet, sunny days, kayaking is a wonderful way to get exercise as well as do some on-water sightseeing between the two harbours.
The town has no shortage of beaches with the main beach, Grotto, being the largest. On windy days, the estuary is a favourite playground for kite surfers. Alongside the cliff path lies Voëlklip (famous for surfing), Langbaai, which is small and intimate; and Kammabaai – a favourite for parents with small children and also suitable for surfing. Mosselrivier and Kwaaiwater beaches are also well-liked, with Kwaaiwater’s beach being a popular picnic area to lazy away summer evenings when the sun only sets after eight o’clock.
Hermanus’ restaurants are world-class and the road alongside the marine is lined with many options offering delicious food and the most beautiful views.
For art lovers there are 20 art galleries to visit around town as well as outdoor sculptures to adore as part of the annual FynArts Festival (in June). If you are here on the first Friday of a month, make sure not to miss the art walk, where you can stroll from gallery to gallery in town between 17:00 and 20:00.
The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is Hermanus’ contribution to South Africa’s wine industry and offer fourteen wineries to visit for wine tasting and other activities. Tours are available from the Market Square to ensure that tourists do not drive under the influence.
Hermanus is a favourite extreme sports destination, featuring a leg of the Cape Epic. Other activities include hang gliding, zip lining etc. (on the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley road).
Other places to visit are the old and new harbours, the many sites alongside the cliff path from where one can appreciate the view from a wooden bench on the rocks, Hoy’s koppie in the middle of the town and the surrounding suburbs of Onrus, Sandbaai and Vermont. Stanford (and De Kelders are also close by which provides more entertainment opportunities such as river cruising, fishing and much more.
Hermanus is a photographer’s paradise, so bring your camera and tripod or test your cell phone’s picture taking abilities. You will not be disappointed!