Hermanus, South Africa

Hermanus, South Africa (2-2-4/2023)

We greatly enjoyed our short visit to Hermanus, South Africa. This beautiful area is located 1 1/2 hours from Cape Town (click here to view) and has earned a reputation as the best land-based whale-watching destination in Africa - maybe the world. Hermanus is also known for its beautiful beaches, gourmet restaurants with great seafood, fertile winelands, and impressive selection of boutique shops and galleries. 

Hermanus South Africa
Hermanus South Africa

With its Mediterranean climate, Hermanus is a favorite retirement community and considered by many to be one of the safest towns in South Africa. Despite its fame, Hermanus has maintained its rustic charm and natural seaside beauty.

Onrus Beach Hermanus
Onrus Beach - Hermanus

Hermanus has beautiful Blue Flag beaches. The popular large Grotto Beach overlooks Walker Bay with its restaurant, nearby walking trail, and umbrella and lounge chair rentals. With its grassy lawn terraces, secluded Voëlklip Beach tends to be less crowded and considered one of the best beaches in the Western Cape. We enjoyed Onrus Beach (see photo). A Blue Flag beach is rated for cleanliness, safety, lifeguards, and facilities like showers and clean public toilets.

Bientang's Cave Restaurant  Hermanus
Bientang's Cave Restaurant
We enjoyed visiting the New Harbor Waterfront area (see photo below) with its many good restaurants and craft market featuring African merchandise. We liked the upstairs La Penlola restaurant with its wonderful menu, view, and service. Also, for a unique experience in Hermanus, try the rustic-chic Bientang's Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar... the restaurant spills out onto the rocky out cove of Walker Bay with good food and drinks (see photo).

Southern Right Whales from Cliff Hermanus
Southern Right Whales from Cliff
To see migratory Southern Right Whales, visit between June and November. The best months are August to October. You can view them right from the cliffs (see photo) or book a whale watching boat tour. The multi-day Hermanus Whale Festival takes place in late September or early October celebrating the calving and mating season and other marine wildlife with food and craft stalls, ocean-themed activities, and exhibitions that emphasize education. 

Whale House Museum Hermanus
Whale House Museum - Hermanus

Once hunted to near extinction, the whales are now protected. The Old Harbour Museum contains exhibitions that explain the local whaling industry and has a massive exhibit of a whale skeleton at the Whale House Museum across the street (see photo). This is a very popular time to visit Hermanus so book early.

Map Hermanus Wine Region
Map Hermanus Wine Region
With 16 local vineyards (wine farms - see map) producing high quality wines, Hermanus is a great base for a wine tasting tour. Bouchard Finlayson and Hamilton Russel are well known with beautiful venues. The Hermanus Wine Village before your turn onto the Hermanus wine route offers a large selection of South African wines and regular tastings.

Cliff Path Hermanus
Cliff Path - Hermanus

The Cliff Path (see photo) is a scenic 5-mile long walking path along the beautiful rugged coastline from the New Harbour to Grotto Beach with a boardwalk and stairs (see photo). Other fun activities to enjoy while in Hermanus include taking a sea-kayaking trip for an up close and personal with Walker Bay’s marine creatures, dune and mountain biking, Scuba diving, surfing, ziplining, golfing, hiking in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, a visit to abalone sea farm Heart of Abalone, top-rated beauty and wellness spas, First Fridays ArtWalk, and the Saturday Country Market.

Hermanus Railway Station
Hermanus Railway Station

Interestingly, Hermanus has a historic railway station building without a railway line (see photo). The founders of the town decided not to lay any tracks because it would have made Hermanus more commercial and they felt Hermanus needed to stay a small fisherman's village. Locals refer to it as "the village.”

Kennedy’s Beach Villa Hermanus
Kennedy’s Beach Villa
For a fun unique experience, we stayed in the charming Kennedy’s old-world Beach Villa overlooking Hermanus’ beautiful family-friendly Blue Flag Onrus Beach and estuary. The huge Beach Villa has a kitchen, pool table, and antique furniture (see photo).

Kennedy's Beach Villa Hermanus
Kennedy's Beach Villa

Only for you, the Kennedy's Beach Villa also includes a private outdoor bathtub under trees and a private grassy lounge area overlooking the beach and estuary - perfect for a romantic getaway (see photo). Within a short walking-distance, you can enjoy the beach and the very nice The Milk on the Beach restaurant overlooking the beach (see photo). This was a fun experience we will long remember.

The Milk on the Beach restaurant Hermanus
The Milk on the Beach

The people of South Africa are wonderful and friendly. We felt safe visiting the places we wanted to in Hermanus. Driving is on the left-hand side of the very well-kept roads and 10% tipping in restaurants.

A note about South Africa’s ‘Load Sharing’

New Harbor Waterfront Hermanus
New Harbor Waterfront - Hermanus
periodically electricity is lost randomly day and night. Hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc. are prepared for this because it happens daily. Commonly there is a light powered by a battery that you can turn on (we could read with it) and some places have backup generators. It would be good to bring a small flashlight to use at night while visiting Hermanus.

We wished we had more time to spend in Hermanus than just one day. Do enjoy the many things to do in this area including others not included in this post. HAVE FUN!

Click on these links to view other places we visited in Southern Africa...

Cape Town, South Africa

Garden Route, South Africa

Stellenbosch Cape Winelands Wine Region, South Africa

Port Elizabeth & Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa - A Safari Day Trip

Richards Bay and Hluhluve Game Reserve, South Africa - A Safari Day Trip

Durban and uShaka Marine World, South Africa 

Oudtshoorn & Cango Caves, South Africa

Chobe National Park, Botswana - A Safari Day Trip

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

Walvis Bay, Namibia 

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