The seaside village of Hermanus in the Western Cape has become one of South Africa’s top travel destinations. People from all over the world flock here for the mountain and ocean views, the hospitality, the events and most importantly, the whales.
From July-August onwards the Southern Right Whales visit the warm waters of the Walker Bay in order to mate and calf their young. Hermanus received something like 137 000 visitors in 2011, and has since been called the best land-based whale watching destination on the globe. That’s quite impressive!
So impressive in fact that two festivals are held each year in honour of the blubbery mammals. The Hermanus Kalfiefees will see theatre productions, classical music, a book fare and food tents take over the town between 8-12 August.
And then, from 28 September – 1 October the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival will wake up the somewhat sleepy town with great food, vino, live entertainment, a sports calendar, craft markets and yep, you guessed it, whales!
If festivals aren’t your thing, the town is also famous for its top class restaurants and cute coffee shops. The Hemel an Aarde valley is any wine lovers dream – it offers amazing views of the valley, as well as a number of award winning wine cellars, restaurants and picnic spots.
At night you can party in the town’s hottest club slash cocktail bar, Shimmi – which overlooks the old harbour, and gives you a great view of the ocean (and mountains, and whales, of course!)
Accommodation ranges from 5 star hotels to cheaper backpackers and even camping sites – believe me when I say that there really is something for everyone!
Been to Hermanus before? What other gems in the area would you recommend visiting? Pop your comments below.