The nearby town of Gansbaai is known as the Great White Shark capital of the world. Just off the coast there are 2 islands teeming with sea life - Dyer Island home to a breeding colony of Jackass Penguins and Geyser Island a seal breeding ground. A veritable feast for hungry Great White Sharks. There are several shark diving tour operators that offer shark cage diving for the brave and surface viewing for those who’d prefer not to get too close. Shark diving shuttles leave from Hermanus daily.
The Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale, common dolphin and bottlenose dolphin can all be seen along the Hermanus coastline. The Southern Right Whales come to the shores in about June each year to mate and calve in the shallow waters. Hermanus has gained the reputation of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world because of the excellent vantage points that the cliffs along Walker Bay provide. Areas designated for boat based whale watching have been carefully selected so as not to interfere with those watching from the land (and the whales of course).
Hermanus is a bird watchers delight – situated between mountains and sea, home to several nature and marine reserves, birders will spot a wide variety of species whether out hiking, strolling around the village or just sitting in our garden.
The ocean, lagoons, dams and rivers in the Hermanus area provide for a range of boating excursions. Boats, kayaks, canoes and windsurfers can be hired at De Mond lagoon in Hermanus. The Hermanus Yacht Club on the Klein Rivier lagoon is a private club, but day visitors are welcome. There are many boating companies that will take you whale watching or deep sea fishing.
Hermanus is a fishermans dream. The Hemel & Aarde Valley has fresh water fishing spots. The beaches, lagoons and cliffs along the coast provide many perfect off-shore fishing locations and there are several companies that will take you deep sea fishing too. The waters of Walker Bay abound with galjoen, cob, red roman, steenbras and many more fish. Fishing permits can be obtained from the magistrates office and the post office.
FLIGHT OF GIANTS
Take the Flight of Giants and see the whales from the air with African Wings. If the whales aren't in the bay African Wings will whizz you off to see the big 5 - just a 30 minute flight away.
Hermanus is boasts one of the most beautiful golf courses n the country – the 27 hole Hermanus Golf Club – a secret favourite of many golfing pro’s. There are also 3 other golf courses in the surrounding area for golfers who like a bit of variety. The newest is the Arabella Golf Course at the Arabella Hotel & Spa on the banks of the Bot River. The course at Kleinbaai, 4 km from Gansbaai, has a sea-view and the Kleinmond course is situated in a spectacular setting at the foot of the Three Sisters mountain.
The 12 km Cliff Path in Hermanus has made the town famous for Land-based whale watching. It stretches from the New Harbour in Westcliff all along the coastline to Grotto beach in Voelklip. The Cliff Path is accessible from many points along the route, is dotted with rock pools filled with natural treasures, surrounded by fragrant fynbos and has benches at strategic points so that you can sit and watch the whales, the moon rise or the mesmerising Atlantic ocean.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve has well-marked and well-maintained hiking trails. The variety of trails accommodates all hikers needs. There are longer trails for regular hikers and easy-going trails for those who might not usually consider putting on boots and set of on an hour or two's walk.
The Frans Senekal Nature Reserve in Vermont offers a delightful walk from Vermont along the sea's edge past Hoek van den Berg to Hawston harbour. The walk takes about two hours.
With a host of mountain ranges and nature reserves, and such a diverse coastline, there is no shortage of hiking trails - each uniquely breathtaking.
SACRED SITES & SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS
Sunpath Tours offers seekers of unexplained mysteries and spiritual travelers an adventure tour of body mind and spirit. Explore the inspiring mystery of the ancients at the southern tip of Africa - a Pilgrimage not to be missed!
The Hemel-en-Aarde Riding School offers lessons and outrides through the valley on Arabian horses and Horse Trail Safaris offers outrides to Grotto Beach.
Hermanus is relatively flat which makes cycling an excellent way to explore. The newly created cycling track along the main road in Eastcliff has made the town even more cycle-friendly. Fernkloof nature reserve has a special mountain biking trail.
There are one or two small shopping malls in Hermanus but the multitude of speciality shops that can be found in every nook and cranny of the village is what makes Hermanus a shoppers paradise. There are a few national retailers in Hermanus, but in the main there are clusters of stores and market stalls that sell everything from home-made cheeses to bikinis as well as several art galleries that sell works of art by some of our world famous local artists.
There are obviously many places to swim in Hermanus. ‘On-shore’ bathing spots include the tidal pool below the Marine Hotel, Fick’s Pool, the rock pools long the cliff paths and the lagoons at Grotto Beach and at Onrus Beach. Then of course there are our pristine beaches:
Grotto beach is a Blue Flag beach that stretches for kilometers making it ideal for long walks. Dutchies restaurant, a play park and excellent ablution facilities make this a favourite beach amongst the holiday makers.
This is a small beach that also has excellent ablution facilities and is great for those who don't like sand as there are large stretches of lawn above the beach.
This is, as the name suggests, a long beach in a secluded cove at the foot of the cliffs. Langbaai is considered to be the 'secret' beach of Hermanus.
Also known as Nanny’s Beach, Kammabaai, is a family favourite. It has the best waves for surfing, picnic spots and braai sites under the Milkwoods and great rocks to climb.
The Sandbaai beach is dotted with rock pools full of marine creatures and is particularly popular at low tide when swimming is safe. It is also popular for snorkelling. There are change rooms and showers.
This is also a favourite for families because of the safe swimming the lagoon provides. Onrus beach is popular with local body boarders and surfers and there are shower facilities. The Milkwood restaurant overlooks the beach and provides take-aways and light meals.
This little spot at Vermont provides a perfect setting for picknicking. Flanked by high dunes, the beach is sheltered and a nice place for the sunbather and popular with sandboarders.
The Hermanus Wine Wander starts at the Wine Village which boasts the largest and finest selections of South African wines. 200m further is Whalehaven where you can sample wines with a view of the mountains and the ocean. Further along is the resplendent Hamilton Russell estate where you realise why this valley is called Heaven and Earth. Next on the route is Bouchard Finlayson where celebrated winemaker Peter Finlayson creates wines that are rated as the best of their kind in the world. Sumaridge wines is next on the route - these mountain vineyards offer heady views of the Atlantic Ocean, responsible for the cool maritime climate which helps create wonderfully balanced wines that age extraordinarily well..
A trip throught the Hemel-en-Aarde valley is a must – not just for wine lovers – and deep in the valley you’ll Sumaridge and Mogg’s Country Cookhouse provide excellent cuisine. All cellars are open daily for tasting.
Hermanus has many festivals and fairs throughout the year where local talent, delicacies and products can be enjoyed. The festivals celebrate a host of different things from calamari, wine, music, beer, christmas lights and art to whales. The Hermanus Whale Festival and the Fernkloof Wild Flower Show take place on the last weekend of September (+/- 24th), the Hermanus Wine and Food Fair and the Kalfiefees take place on the weekend closest to the 9th of August. There are Passion Plays in the Old Harbour at Hermanus every Easter and Midnight Church Services and carol singing under the stars at Christmas.
Now this is the real beauty of Hermanus - it is the perfect place to relax, recuperate, rejuvenate and generally do nothing but treat yourself. European doctors have sent patients to Hermanus to enjoy the restorative qualities of its 'champagne air' for over 100 years. You can indulge in deep body massages, reiki, aromatherapy, facials and reflexology. You can take a walk and then sit and watch whales, birds, flowers, the ocean, the mountains and the heavens. You can eat like a king at the wide range of first class restaurants. You can visit Hermanus to simply sit back and relax and absorb the serenity of the environment.