Destination explained

The seaside town of Hermanus is famous for its whales. The whale-spotting season runs from June to December and during this time they can be seen all along the southern coast, but seldom as close up and active as in the sheltered waters of Walker Bay.


Hermanus sits atop a long, low cliff that provides an excellent vantage point from which to view the bay. A cliff-top path runs for many kilometres – almost the entire length of the town – and whales can sometimes be seen basking in the water mere metres away. Southern right whales are the most numerous, but humpback and Bryde’s whales can also be spotted, as well as pods of dolphins and seals. If the whales are offshore, whale-spotting boat and kayaking trips can be booked to see them up close.

Practical advice

The Hermanus Whale Festival takes place at the end of September and the town can get very busy. The beautiful promenade fills with people and it can be hard to find a table at one of the many excellent restaurants that overlook the sea. The eastern side of the town tends to be quieter, and the low cliffs give way to stunning coves and beaches.

garden route leaderboardAt the back of town, against a low ridge of hills, is one of the oldest and most beautiful golf courses in the country, and in the basin behind you’ll find the excellent wine estates and restaurants of the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Hermanus is somewhere you could easily spend a relaxing week, but stay at least a night or two.

Most travelers opt for 4×4 hire South Africa when traveling to Hermanus.