On the South Coast of South Africa in the Overberg District, lies the beautiful seaside town of Hermanus. Known as a popular whale-watching destination, Hermanus draws thousands of tourists each year. However, it is also a popular holiday destination for the locals. Here you will find beautiful beaches and coastline like Grotto Beach, Voëlklip Beach, and Walker Bay. There is a wide variety of accommodation available as well as restaurants to pick and choose from.
While in Hermanus you also have to visit the small seaside town of Kleinmond (only a 40 min drive away / or on your way), with its pretty lagoon, wild horses, and awesome hiking trails.
From the airport, you have two options of getting to Hermanus by car. One of them is taking the R44 (Clarens Drive) south from Gordon’s Bay to Kleinmond. This is also the start of the Whale Route and one of the most scenic drives in South Africa. It is beautiful, but do keep in mind – there is a common courtesy on this route – not to travel at a high speed. Here you take your time and appreciate every second of the drive, and the scenery when stopping at the lookout points. Following this route, you will find Bettys Bay, Pringle Bay, Rooi Els, Gordons Bay, and Strand… and all of these places are definitely worth a visit.
Your second option is to travel by car via the N2 main route. This way you’ll have a 1-hour drive to Hermanus and a 50 min drive to Kleinmond. Following the road through the beautiful Sir Lowry’s Pass, through Grabouw and Bot River.
Either way, it is a beautiful road trip with amazing vistas along the way.
Your nearest International Airport will be Cape Town International (CPT). From here you can rent a car with GPS and follow the main routes to enjoy a self-drive holiday. (You can do your direct bookings online via our DIY Travel Booking Page – see at the top.)
The photo above: “Sewejaartjies” (in Afrikaans) (Roughly translated as ‘Seven Years’ in English) is a beautiful Fynbos flower found in the Hermanus, Kleinmond area.
The photos below: The area is also home to the beautiful South African National Flower – The Protea. (Remember: ONLY take photos.)
You need at least a weekend, but if you are in no hurry, take the time to explore the surrounding areas as well. During holiday seasons (December and January is peak time) Hermanus is quite busy because it is one of the “hip and happening” seaside holiday towns in the Western Cape. So allow extra time for traveling as the roads can get very busy.
You can also, from here, do the Garden route on a self-drive vacation and see some of South Africa’s most beautiful towns.
Each year between June and December people from all over come to Hermanus for the whale season. From as early as May you can start spotting the Southern Right whales as they arrive and they only leave in early January.
You might also be interested to read more about Gansbaai, located near Hermanus.
“An annual Spring Flower Festival in August is hosted in the Fernkloof Hall and includes local arts and crafts, with the main purpose a colorful and spectacular showcase of local fynbos arranged in a display that will amaze every onlooker.”
If you are in Hermanus during Christmas time, the Rotary Club of Hermanus presents an evening of carols by candlelight in the Old Harbor arena on the last Friday before Christmas. “Entrance is by way of a donation in aid of charity for your “candle in a bottle” and hymn sheet.”
I think this is the biggest festival in Hermanus and a very busy time for the town, but also the most fun. The festival is usually held around National Women’s day in August. Festival-goers can enjoy theatre productions, local cuisine, and obviously tons of art and crafts.
“Since its inception in 1997 the Hermanus Food and Wine Fair, which coincides with the Kalfiefees, has become an important event in the Western Cape wine industry calendar. Visitors can chase away the winter chills by sampling mouth-watering wine and other products from over 30 exhibitors. It includes some of the Cape’s top wine estates as well as the producers of specialty foods and other delicacies.”
When it is time for the magnificent Southern Right Whales that come to Walker Bay to calve and mate, it is time for the Whale Festival. This usually falls during the month of September when you can watch an abundance of shows which includes theater as well as musical events.
The more energetic traveler can enter for the triathlon, half-marathon, or cycling events.
In Hermanus whale and dolphin watching is popular and you can go on a chartered boat trip for this very special experience. Alternatively, for the more adventurous traveler, there is Shark Diving in Gansbaai which is about 45 min away.
There are always loads of arts and craft shops to explore.
Here are two restaurants in Hermanus that we will definitely recommend. Both are family-friendly and are also favorites amongst locals. (That says a lot already.)
To top it all – they have sea views and when visiting Hermanus, this is where you want to eat.
A restaurant with a sea view and fantastic food. – Well worth putting it on your itinerary.
You will be greeted by friendly faces as though you are family, and the feeling of ‘being welcome’ is part of why this restaurant is a firm favorite. The food is out of this world.
You can read their reviews from around the world on their website.
This International Award Winning Restaurant is situated on the shores of Walker Bay and is carved into the depths of a century-old cave extending over the rocks to the water’s edge. You cannot get any closer than this. Enjoy your food with the mist spray of the ocean’s waves just a few meters away from your table.