What to do in Hermanus and the Overberg

Hermanus – as seen from the Rotary Way

Links to Things to Do and Places to See in Hermanus and the Overberg at your Fingertips

This is a ‘working’ blog post and will be updated regularly. Visit it frequently for updates and feel free to make suggestions of your favourite places and activities in Hermanus and the Overberg. No ads, please.

In and around Hermanus

Find accommodation in Hermanus to fit your needs and then plan your holiday from the list below. Make sure to come for long enough, because Hermanus and the Overberg have is plenty to do!

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley wine farms are the hub of some of the best Pinot Noir. There are fourteen farms between Hermanus and Caledon to visit for tastings, lunch, picnics and walks.

Hermanus provides plenty opportunity for swimming, surfing, kite surfing (at the estuary at Grotto beach) and sunbathing on its large and small sandy beaches. Visit Grotto (kite surfing at the estuary at Grotto beach), Voëlklip (surfing), Langbaai, Kammabaai (surfing), Kwaaiwater/Mosselrvier (picnicking), Onrus (surfing)

Restaurants in Hermanus have exceptional food and those on the Waterfront have sensational views. In 2019 Hermanus was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. The children’s playground at the little open-air amphitheatre on the Waterfront lawn offers opportunities for the whole family to enjoy breakfasting, lunching or dining here.

Starting at Grotto Beach, the cliff path snakes along the coast for 12,7 km, which makes it a fantastic walk whether in full or in short walks. It’s ideal for an early morning or early evening walk from almost wherever you stay in the village. Benches are placed along the path for enough opportunities to rest. Take snacks and water along, as the sun can be scorching especially during the summer months. Always use sunblock on your walks and wear a hat. Get tips on how to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday in Hermanus here.

The view from Rotary Way on the top of the mountain is breathtaking and is a good starting point to orientate yourself with a live ‘map’ of the village underneath. Do not feed the baboons if you encounter any there. If you experience any trouble with them, call the baboon hotline.

Hermanus has plenty opportunities for walking. The three dams nestled in the mountains are reachable from Fernkloof, where there are various footpaths to follow. Always walk in groups and do not take dogs on paths where they are not allowed. This precaution is for your own safety.

Hermanus is a proud host of a 27-hole golf course (different course options), with beautiful fynbos, restored wetlands and wildlife to appreciate. There is plenty to keep the whole family busy, so Dad can spend a few guilt-free hours per week on the greens. There are other golf courses in the vicinity as well.

The Hermanus Sports Club offers squash, tennis and table tennis. Make sure to book in advance. There is also a skateboard park and a gym.

Various bicycles can be rented to explore the village and beach.

Kayaking between the old and new harbours can be done on good weather days.

While the Southern Right Whales visit Hermanus’ shores between July and November every year, a few shy locals (Bryde whales) can be observed in the bay from time to time throughout the year. Other wildlife to to watch on and from the land are the dassies (hyrax), dolphins and penguins, birds and seals. Penguin sanctuaries can be visited in Kleinbaai and Betty’s Bay.

Extreme sports are popular in the Overberg region. Find what you want. Another not-to-miss sports event is the annual Walker Bay Outdoor event is held at the end of April each year.

Apart from the permanent Old Harbour Market at Market Square in the CBD, there are plenty markets (at the Wine Village, High Street, and the Hermanus Country Market at the cricket grounds) in and around Hermanus on Saturday mornings and also on Wednesday nights during December/January (at the cricket grounds). The Hermanus NG Kerk (DR Church) has a month-long market in the Grobbelaar hall in town. And St. Peter’s Church has a Saturday morning market in the church garden right through the year. A Saturday morning drive to surrounding towns provide more options.

The CBD offers lots of shopping opportunities with specialty and pop-up shops.  In High Street, shops and buildings are newly renovated and upgraded and the street provides a beautiful and vibrant walk within the village, with little coffee shops and restaurants and another Saturday market to visit.

There are a few museums to visit in town. The De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum next to Market Square showcases photos telling Hermanus’ history and in the old harbour, the whale museum houses bones and information regarding our large Walker Bay inhabitants.

Apart from visiting the museum, the Old Harbour is ideal for fishing, snorkelling, diving and swimming in the small cove, with Bientang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar offering a spectacular close ocean view after the activities have left you hungry and thirsty.

The New Harbour (more about its history) at the end of Westcliff Drive (Marine Drive becomes Westcliff Drive at the bend when you leave the CBD), houses three restaurants/bars, as well as the offices of whale boat watching and diving and fishing excursions. The newly renovated Station 17  National Sea Rescue Institute building keeps an eye over the harbour. A tour of the abalone facilities can be booked on weekdays to learn more about this delicacy. Various companies offer fishing opportunities from The New Harbour.

If you have your own set of Bocce/Petang, you can make use of the little court in Swallow Park to play – or you can just enjoy a rest under the trees while walking in town.

Hermanus brags with more than twenty art galleries in the CBD and a few more in the suburbs, as well as in Onrus. The First Fridays Art Walk was extended to an all around the year activity after lockdown, so make sure to plan your trip around a first weekend of the month, because on the first Sunday of the month the Art in the Park exhibition is at the cricket grounds (where the Saturday Country Market is being held).

Picnicking can be done in the gardens at Fernkloof, on the beaches and even on top of the mountain, while watching the sunset. Most of the wine farms in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also have picnic menus.

Hermanus has it’s own Camino now! So, if you have a few days and fancy a walk, check it out.

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also hosts regular adventure activities such as a Zip line, weekly Saturday Park Run, quad biking, cycling and walking are fun day activities for individuals and families to do.

Day trips

Shark cage diving in Kleinbaai (Gansbaai) is something for the not-so-fainthearted and can be booked here.

Another wonderful and informative visit is the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary near Stanford.

Stanford offers trips on various river boats for fun family/group activities.

A visit to the wine farms near Stanford, can be combined with tastings/lunch at the cheese farms.

With the long days during summer time, day trips to as far as Paternoster are perfect to experience a different place, but be back in Hermanus by dusk, because once here, you don’t really want to be away for too long! Consider the following possibilities.

Go see the Klipgat Cave near De Kelders, go up in the lighthouse at Danger Point, visit the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, do shark cage diving at Kleinbaai and/or have an encounter (swimming!) with crocodiles at Afrikanos (near Danger Point).

Drive a bit inland and visit Riviersonderend, Caledon, Genadendal, Greyton, Grabouw, Elgin, Napier, Bredasdorp, Baardskeerdersbos, Elim, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Montagu, Worcester, Matjiesfontein.

Go horse riding at Karwyderskraal or Pearly Beach and drive a bit further to visit the cave at Waenhuiskrans/Arniston (at low tide), and end your afternoon where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at L’Agullas (and visit Struisbaai harbour while you are there), before you head back for a night of fine dining back in Hermanus.

Driving to Cape Town to go up Table mountain via Clarence Drive through Gordon’s Bay. And on another day, on the same route, visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay, sunbathing and swimming at other nearby beaches at Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay, Rooiels and Kogelbaai. Or shoot past Cape Town to see Bloubergstrand, Melkbosstrand and Paternoster.

Sleep-over Trips Inland

If you absolutely must leave Hermanus, take a drive inland and visit Matjiesfontein, Paternoster, L’Agulhas, Stilbaai, Mossel Bay and surroundings, George, Knysna for a night or two.

© 2021 Fielies De Kock

Wife. Mom. Blogger. Freelance writer. Living in Hermanus in the Overberg, South Africa, with a crazy-haired husband and two dogs. Author of a children’s chapter book and a few short reads, and co-author of a writing prompts book with her content writer son, who also has crazy hair.

Winter is Whale Time in Hermanus!

Hermanus is in the privileged position to not only be a great summer destination, but also have more than enough to lure holidaymakers to its shores during wintertime. The reason? The annual return of the Southern Right Whales, of course!

With 2020 and 2019 not being the best whale seasons with regard to the number of whales returning, we hope that the three-year cycle will not disappoint and that there will be more to see this year. If the local Bryde’s Whales’ generous presence during the last few months in the bay is something to go by, we might just be in luck this year.

Hermanus is one of the twelve best whale watching destinations in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Walker Bay (the bay area between Hermanus and Gansbaai) is famous for being the breeding grounds for the Southern Right Whales, travelling all the way from their feeding grounds around Antarctica. The whales normally arrive from the end of May and entertain locals and holidaymakers until the middle of October.

When to Come

The best time to see whale moms and calves frolicking in the bay, is from end of June to November. The climax of the season was normally the Whale Festival on the last weekend of September, but unfortunately, the festival is postponed until 2022. Fortunately though, Hermanus and surrounding areas have more than enough other charms, such as wineries, fantastic restaurants with delicious food, adventure sports, lots of walking opportunities etc. for a memorable holiday.

How and Where to Watch the Whales

Hermanus has whale watching boats which take visitors to experience the whales up close and personal. Book in advance (online or at the offices in the new harbour) and keep in mind that all boat trips are weather permitting.

For visitors on a tighter budget or for those preferring not going on boats, the good news is that the whales are visible from the promenade – with Gearing’s Point, the Old Harbour (in the CBD-area) and further alongside the coast, with Die Gang and Siever’s Punt, popular places to watch from. Hermanus’ own whale crier could be found on busy days, blowing on his kelp horn in town when a whale is observed.

What to pack when visiting Hermanus to do Whale Watching

From May to August we can have anything from wonderful sunny beach days to days when the wind tries to blow one away to heavy stormy weather! Although spring starts showing its warmth in the rest of South Africa from August, Hermanus can see some of the coldest days during September and October, with rainy and windy days sandwiched in between beautiful wind-still days. So, when packing, keep the following in mind:

  • Bring a raincoat/jacket and an umbrella.
  • Pack a wind breaking jacket and warm clothes for cold weather and layer when getting clothed in the morning.
  • With the cool sea breeze almost a constant, carry a jacket, scarf and beanie when going out.
  • Bringing good binoculars will ensure a great viewing experience.
  • Although cell phone cameras are incredibly good these days, bring a DSLR or small camera if you have one. If going on a boat, you might be able to take close-up photos of whales, but from the shore you will need a camera with a good zoom ability.
  • Good walking shoes is a must for going ‘whale hunting’ from spot to spot in the village to get good pictures.

Planning your Stay

Most places of accommodation have Covid specials which might surprise you, so even if your budget is tight, don’t shy away of staying long enough. A weekend in Hermanus is a nice break away, but to enjoy more of the village and the surrounding areas, you need at least four days. A week would be better!

Other related links:

What to do in Hermanus and the Overberg

About whales:

Security tips:

More things to do in and around Hermanus:

© 2021 Fielies De Kock

HERMANUS UNLIMITED is a travel writing blog showcasing Hermanus and surrounding areas through photos and articles. Ads for businesses may be added at a later stage.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hermanus-Unlimited-118490463355941

Instagram: @hermanus_unlimited

Email: hermanusunlimited@gmail.com

Partnering with House Watchers Hermanus

Hermanus is Awaiting your Visit

Hermanus is a picturesque village in the Western Cape, South Africa, nestled in Walker Bay, between the fynbos-dressed Overberg Mountains and the cold Atlantic Ocean. Although Hermanus is a smallish town, it has a big town feeling with a wonderful vibe and lots of events taking place.

As everywhere else, the restrictions during the Covid-19 lockdown had also left its dirty prints on the town and business owners are doing what they can to up the area’s economy and provide employment for residents and travel opportunities for tourists again.

Although the annual Flower Festival (second last weekend in September) and the Whale Festival (last weekend in September) was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, other activities are slowly starting to happen again. The monthly First Fridays Art Walk (September to April) commenced in September and although it was a bit of a subdued affair – probably due to the fact that no wine and snacks were served – it was a necessary step in normalising village life in Hermanus again.

Hermanus is a convenient one and a half hour-drive from Cape Town which provides an easy daytrip opportunity for someone on a limited time 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.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when planning your visit to our beautiful little village:

  • Book in advance to ensure your stay at one of the many guest houses or hotels.
  • Make sure to include a Saturday in your trip planning to visit one or more of the markets and and also one of the more than twenty art galleries in the area. Also keep the art walk on the first Friday of every month.
  • 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 to enjoy the beautiful fynbos.
  • 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.
  • Weekly Parkruns can be attended on Saturday mornings at the venue on the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley road (after lockdown).
  • Other physical activities to explore in the area are surfing, mountain biking, fat biking on the beaches, scuba diving, kite surfing, sandboarding, sea fishing, kayaking, etc.
  • During the months of August through to early November travellers flock to Hermanus to see Southern Right Whales frolicking in the bay with their new-born calves. They can be watched from the shore or from one of the whale watching boats if weather permits.
  • 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).
  • 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, sometimes 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. Gansbaai, 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!

Unfortunately, not even beautiful Hermanus is excluded from crime, so always be alert, especially when walking. Preferably, always walk in pairs at least. Read here how to stay safe in Hermanus during your holiday (and also to get a list of emergency numbers).

To avoid unbalance advertising regarding businesses, I don’t include links to businesses in this article. You can just search to find what you want.

So – don’t even bother wondering about where to go to for your next break away. Come and see why we are raving about our beautiful village. Hermanus is awaiting your visit.

© 2020  Fielies De Kock

HERMANUS UNLIMITED is a travel writing blog showcasing Hermanus and surrounding areas through photos and articles. Ads for businesses may be added at a later stage.

Read full articles at www.fieliesdekock.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hermanus-Unlimited-118490463355941

Instagram: @HERMANUS_UNLIMITED

Partnering with House Watchers Hermanus

Home of HERMANUS UNLIMITED Travel Blog

HERMANUS UNLIMITED is a travel writing blog showcasing Hermanus and surrounding areas through photos and articles. Ads for businesses may be added at a later stage.

Read full articles at www.fieliesdekock.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hermanus-Unlimited-118490463355941

Instagram: @HERMANUS_UNLIMITED

Email: hermanusunlimited@gmail.com

Partnering with House Watchers Hermanus

Read our blogs:

Hermanus is Awaiting your Visit
Hermanus’ Celebrities of the Sea
5 Reasons why you Absolutely should Visit Hermanus
Your Guide to a Safe Hermanus Holiday
5 Free Definitely have-to-do’s in Hermanus
Why Your Family Needs a Break in Hermanus this School Holiday!
Winter is Whale Time in Hermanus!