Hermanus self catering villas, apartments and guest houses
Hermanus can be enjoyed as a day trip from Cape Town, just 90 scenic minutes drive away, but we highly recommend stopping off here for a few days to enjoy this relaxed and charming seaside town. And even outside prime whale watching season over the Cape winter and spring, Hermanus and the surrounding Overberg region have much to offer, from long sandy beaches and beautiful, empty rural landscapes to some of our favourite, lesser known wine farms, good restaurants and of course some lovely places to stay.
Here are some of the properties we offer in Hermanus and the beautiful surrounding "Overberg" region (and below them some more detailed information on the area) -
The magnificent coast-line, long sandy beaches and relaxed ambience of this former fishing village make Hermanus one of the most popular holiday destinations in South Africa just 90 minutes' scenic drive from Cape Town in the direction of the equally popular Garden Route.
Hermanus lies in a beautiful and peaceful region of the Western Cape known as the Overberg (literally "over the mountains" which you climb in your car from Cape Town along the main N2 or which tower above you if you drive to Hermanus along the incredibly beautiful R43 coastal route). Known as the "bread basket" of the Cape, the Overberg mostly comprises an interior of gently undulating hills and golden wheat fields enclosed on one side by dramatic mountain ranges and on the other by a dramatic coastline of mostly long, empty beaches.
What makes Hermanus itself really special is its reputation as the finest land-based whale watching destination in the world with 100's of "Southern Right" whales returning from the Antarctic ocean to the deep waters of Walker Bay just outside Hermanus from around August to December every year for their calving and mating season. These giant, graceful creatures can be viewed on daily boat trips from Hermanus but also from the cliffs and town itself where the world's only "Whale Crier" helpfully blows his kelp horn whenever whales are sighted in the bay. We have ourselves often stood at times near the town square and witnessed 30 or more whales playing in the bay, a truly magnificent and awe-inspiring sight.
Hermanus hosts an annual whale festival at the end of September, to celebrate the returning of the whales and prior to this main whale festival a "Kalfiefees" (or "Calf Festival") is also held, to welcome the first whales (usually in August). Both festivals are characterised by food and craft stalls, environmental presentations and drama productions.
Buoyed by the popularity of its whale watching, Hermanus has in recent years grown into a cosmopolitan, thriving tourism centre with many shops and restaurants and popular weekend food and craft markets though it still retains its laid back fishing village charm especially around the old harbour. Here you can also visit the historic Old Harbour Museum which houses an entire whale skeleton and exhibits of the former whaling industry that was very prevalent in the area but thankfully no longer exists.
Grotto beach, a short drive from the centre of town, is a wonderfully long sandy beach, with Blue Flag status, and Hermanus also boasts an excellent 27 hole golf course on the outskirts of town as well. And about 20 minutes drive from Hermanus towards Cape Town lies the Hemel en Aarde valley (meaning "Heaven on Earth") one of our favourite wine routes in South Africa, where you can enjoy wine tastings and fine food at the growing number of high quality wine estates in this beautiful, rugged valley (Hamilton Russell, Bouchard Finlayson, Ataraxia and Creation wine estates being our personal favourites to visit).
Hermanus is also just 40km from the sea-side village of Gansbaai where you can take boat trips out to watch or (if you are brave enough!) dive in cages with the legendary great white sharks that are abundant in that area due to the seal colony at nearby Dyer island. You can also drive about 2 hours beyond Hermanus to visit Cape Agulhas a wild and desolate spot which marks the southernmost tip of Africa.