The perfect tailor made Hermanus holiday
Hermanus is a seaside town southeast of Cape Town, in South Africa’s Western Cape Province
Overlooking Walker Bay and long-popular as a retreat and retirement spot by Capetonians, the small town of Hermanus is regarded as one of the finest bases for land-based whale watching in the world.
Between July and November each year thousands of Southern Right Whales (rather bluntly named as they were once simply regarded as the “right” species to hunt) pass by the coast, using the deep waters of Walker Bay to calve and rest before their long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. A clifftop walkway, stretching for miles away from the town allows visitors to head out and gaze down at the whales, the presence of which is rather noisily and theatrically announced by the Hermanus Whale Crier, a colourful character who is found on the clifftops throughout the season. Visitors looking for close encounters can also enjoy boat cruises from Hermanus harbour.
However it isn’t all about the whales. The wholesale development of the town and tourist facilities over recent years make it a great option in the summer months, with the cooling sea breezes and seemingly endless beaches very appealing. Thrill-seekers can head to nearby Gansbaai for cage diving with great white sharks, a truly exhilarating experience. A great secret of the area is the Hemel-en-Aarde wine route, a series of vineyards which don’t have the fame of those in the Cape Winelands, but produce some truly superb wines, especially the more “cold weather” varieties such as Pinot Noir.
Accommodation on a luxury Hermanus holiday tends to lean more towards small, owner-run guesthouses, although there are a couple of outstanding hotels for those looking for something truly superb. Visitors looking for somewhere altogether quieter might prefer the small village of De Kelders to the east of Hermanus, whilst a couple of breathtaking private nature reserves are found a little way out of town and provide the ultimate in luxury and things to do.
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