Hermanus and the area around Walker Bay have a lot to offer, especially during the whale season. Hermanus is one of the very few places in the world where you can watch whales from land. This really in the truest sense, you stand at the cliff and the whales swim past almost within reach.
Of course you have to come in season. Then in the village a gentleman dressed in pirate navy look with a horn makes himself loudly noticeable and announces with special tone sequences, where which whales were sighted.
In town there are riverside paths to stroll along, enjoying the beautiful scenery while watching whales. You don't experience something like this every day.
Whales from the land
You can see the whales even better on a boat trip. There are several providers, in the whale season definitely book in time.
This is a great experience, because you come very close to these large creatures, to touch close. Our trip started in the morning, that's when you see the whales best. Be sure to bring warm clothes, as it is still quite fresh at this time of year.
Whales from the boat
The town itself is very lively with many stores and restaurants. Particularly beautiful is the shore walk along the beautiful rocky coast, which leads partly through dense fynbos and offers great views of the city and the sea.
It is worth to take a nice walk on this Cliff Path in any case, even if there are no whales to be seen.
Shore path in Hermanus
While the northeastern part of this shore path runs mainly along a rocky coast with dense fynbos, the southwestern part is more open and decorated with artwork.
Here you can sit on numerous benches and gaze dreamily at the sea while being watched by seagulls and dassies (klipsschliefer).
Beautiful shore path
There is a large selection of restaurants in Hermanus, we liked the Burgundy Restaurant very much.
This one is right on the shore road with a nice "beer garden" and view of the sea. This is the place to see and be seen. There are simple and good dishes or you meet here for a drink.
If you take the R 43 east for about 2 km, you will see Fir Ave on the left side. to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which is well worth seeing. Here you can take a variety of walks in a beautiful hilly landscape.
The special thing is that here over 1.400 species of plants can be found, especially various species of fynbos. The flowers bloom in different colors and make every walk here to an experience. If the weather is good (unfortunately we didn't have it that day), you have a great view over Walker Bay.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus
Absolute scenic highlight of this region is the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. You reach this via the village De Kelders. It is surprisingly not signposted from the R 43, so at the town sign turn into Guthrie Street and then right into De Villiers Street.
You pay a small entrance fee and drive only a few hundred meters through dense fynbos to the parking lot. Already from here you have an amazing view of this beautiful coastline.
Walker Bay Nature Reserve
From here a steep staircase leads down to the beach and especially to the Klipgat Caves, which are definitely worth seeing. In these caves carved into the rock the stone age people lived as well as until the 18th century. Century the Khoikhoi Bushmen.
This world heritage site is reached by a narrow path over stones and narrow rock crevices. Already the way there is an experience.
You have to pull in your head and belly to get to the caves through the narrow rock passages. From the respective large and partly colorful cavities in the rock, great views of the coast and the lashing sea open up.
The largest cave at the end of the trail is particularly impressive.
If you walk on the other side of the stairs to the end of this small beach, you will reach a rocky outcrop jutting into the sea. An easy climb and behind it an eternally long white and deserted sandy beach opens up with a fynbos background. Wow.
From here you can also see the above mentioned caves "from the outside" very well. In this beautiful nature you just have to take a nice walk by the sea.
Walker Bay Nature Reserve
A bit further south you can visit another beautiful beach at the village of Franskraal. This is also part of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. Bizarre elongated rock formations run through the first part of the extensive sandy beach. Afterwards absolute beach pleasure, very beautiful.
Beach near Franskraal
If you don't want to drive back over the asphalted main road, you should choose the more adventurous alternative route through the mountains. On the R 43 near Franskraal a road leads off to the north at a striking place called Jonny's Party Pub. Then an easily overlooked nameless road turn left towards Uilenkraal.
From here on the road is unpaved but good to drive on. You come out at the noble lodge Grootbos and get back to the R 43. Great tour through beautiful nature.
Tour cross country
Last but not least, a few restaurant tips in Stanford, which can be easily reached from the Blue Gum Estate described below:
In the Ou Meul Bakery there is a large selection of bread, snacks and small dishes, which you can enjoy on the nice little terrace. At Queen Street the simple but very good restaurant Square One invites you to delicious steaks and homemade pizzas. Very nice located and fancy food you can get at The Royal Oak. This restaurant is part of the Stanford Hill Estate and you dine on a very nice vine-covered terrace overlooking a small lake.