10 Best Places to Visit in Hermanus

Posted on 5 July 2024 By Nelson Kalula

Discover the top 10 must-see attractions in Hermanus, a charming seaside village renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant cultural events. Nestled between the scenic Botrivier Lagoon and the tranquil Kleinrivier Lagoon, Hermanus is home to diverse communities such as Fisherhaven, Hawston, Vermont, Onrus, Sandbaai, Hemel en Aarde Valley, Mount Pleasant, Zwelihle, and Hermanus itself. Enjoy world-famous land-based whale watching along the 14 km cliff path, explore the quaint fisherman’s cottages and stunning sea cliffs of Walker Bay, and delve into the area’s rich history at the Old Harbour Museum.

1. Whale-watching tours

Hermanus is famous for its boat-based whale watching excursions, offering visitors a chance to responsibly observe Southern Right Whales in their natural habitat. Every year, from June to December, these majestic whales migrate to the shores of Hermanus to give birth or find a mate, providing a breathtaking experience for all who visit.

Alongside Southern Right Whales, you might also see Humpback Whales and Bryde’s Whales, as well as African penguins, common dolphins, Cape fur seals, and a variety of marine birds. Beyond whale watching, Hermanus boasts stunning scenery and a wealth of natural beauty to explore.

2. Gearing’s Point

Gearing’s Point, once a lookout for fishermen returning to Old Harbour, now offers some of the best whale-watching views in Hermanus. Historically, it provided onlookers with a perfect vantage point to see the boats and their catch. As the focus shifted to whale watching, a telescope was installed, enhancing the viewing experience.

Despite its small size, Gearing’s Point remains a prime location for spotting whales, especially during peak season from June to December, attracting numerous tourists eager to glimpse these majestic creatures.

3. Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Picture: Facebook /Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Fernkloof Nature Reserve, spanning 1,800 hectares in the Kleinrivier Mountains above Hermanus, Western Cape Province, boasts an elevation range from sea level to 842 meters. Covering just 18 square kilometers, it harbors over 1,300 plant species, showcasing its remarkable biodiversity and unique status within the Cape Floral Kingdom. This diverse flora thrives in a Mediterranean climate characterized by cold, rainy winters and hot, dry summers with strong southeasterly winds. The predominant vegetation, fynbos, derives its name from the Dutch “fijn bosch,” referring to a variety of evergreen shrubs with small, firm leaves.

Fernkloof offers a fantastic family outing with well-maintained paths providing stunning views of the ocean and Hermanus. Visitors can explore the majestic mountains, towering proteas, aloe gardens, medicinal plants, and shaded pathways. The reserve is dog-friendly, provided pets are leashed and owners clean up after them, as there are no trash cans on-site. With its rich biodiversity and breathtaking scenery, Fernkloof ensures every visitor enjoys a heavenly, repeatable experience.

4. Hermanus Brewing Company

Places to Visit in Hermanus - Hermanus Brewing Company

Picture: Facebook / Hermanus Brewing Company

The Hermanus Brewing Company was established in November 2014 to provide beer enthusiasts with high-quality, delectable brews. Since its inception, originality and consistency have been the core principles of the company. Our flagship product, Old Harbour Lager, has been in high demand since its release.

Old Harbour Lager is a sessionable, clear yellow-rose beer that is easy to drink. It features a smooth, crisp, and fruity finish with a well-balanced depth of flavor. Pure and unpasteurized, it contains no additives, ensuring a truly refreshing experience.

5. Walker Bay

Places to Visit in Hermanus - Walker Bay

Picture: Facebook / Walkerbay Adventures

Walker Bay, a significant bay in South Africa’s South-Western Cape province, stands out as one of the region’s premier attractions. Situated just southeast of Cape Agulhas and False Bay near Cape Town, it offers unparalleled opportunities for land-based whale-watching, making nearby Hermanus a world-renowned destination. During the winter and spring seasons, southern right whales frequent these waters, drawing visitors from around the globe to witness their majestic presence.

Alongside its renowned whale-watching, Walker Bay also hosts Gansbaai, a coastal town famous for thrilling Great White Shark diving experiences. The bay’s natural beauty and ecological significance are preserved by the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, ensuring its status as a protected marine area where boating and fishing activities are restricted. For visitors to Hermanus, exploring Walker Bay promises unforgettable encounters with marine life and stunning coastal vistas, making it a must-visit destination on any South African itinerary.

6. Voëlklip Beach

Places to Visit in Hermanus - Voëlklip Beach

Picture: Facebook / Voelklip Beach, Hermanus

Located on the outskirts of Hermanus, Voëlklip is a beloved vacation destination nestled between majestic mountains and the sparkling sea. Its main attraction, Grotto Beach, stretches for kilometers, offering a unique experience for both tourists and locals alike. As the renowned whale capital of South Africa, Voëlklip provides stunning vistas of rolling mountains, expansive ocean views, rugged coastlines, and soft sandy beaches.

Beyond its appeal as a beach destination, Voëlklip boasts proximity to amenities and picturesque surroundings, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and those seeking a relaxing day by the sea. Whether enjoying the beach or capturing the natural beauty with a camera, Voëlklip promises an unforgettable experience in the heart of Hermanus.

7. Hermanus Country Market

Hermanus Country Market

Picture: Hermanus Country Market / Facebook

The Hermanus Country Market, open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., is a beloved gathering spot tucked away from Hermanus’s center. This vibrant market, known for its locally produced goods, welcomes visitors rain or shine, offering farm-fresh vegetables, artisanal breads, and a variety of handcrafted items. Arriving early ensures a prime spot and the opportunity to enjoy coffee, breakfast, and live music, while kids can have fun with train rides and face painting.

The market’s layout is well-organized, with food and drink vendors on one side and crafters on the other. Families can relax at centrally located tables, where they can oversee their children playing in the designated area. Hermanus Country Market embodies a social hub where locals and tourists mingle, fostering a warm community atmosphere.

8. Old Harbour Museum

Places to Visit in Hermanus - Old Harbour Museum

Picture: Facebook / Old Harbour Museum Hermanus

The Old Harbour Museum, located in the heart of Hermanus on the coast, is a significant South African museum that dates back to the discovery of fresh water and abundant fish in the mid-nineteenth century. Since 1970, the town’s original harbour has been designated a Provincial Heritage Site and a national monument. The museum’s Fishermen’s Village exhibit, located across from Market Square, features remodelled historic fishing shacks that vividly depict Hermanus’ fishing history and marine life.

The Old Harbour Museum, which was founded as a province-aided museum, acquired Fishermen’s Village in 1983 through fundraising efforts spearheaded by the Friends of the Museum. They meticulously restored the de Wet Sunday School House, which now houses a collection of historic Hermanus photographs. The museum expanded in 1998, adding a whale house adjacent to the original site, kicking off the first phase of its ongoing preservation and exhibition efforts.

9. Heart of Abalone

Heart of Abalone operates as a tourism company located on Abagold’s farm in Hermanus’s New Harbour. Their dedicated venue, the Heart Shed, includes an onsite shop where visitors can explore and purchase a variety of abalone-related products. The company is committed to showcasing the story of South African abalone, offering guided tours that provide insight into the farming operations and allow guests to sample this local delicacy.

Weekday tours begin at 11:00 a.m., and reservations are recommended to secure a spot. Guests appreciate the tours’ informative nature, which is often led by knowledgeable guides who make the experience educational and engaging. Visitors are frequently surprised by the size and complexity of abalone farming, making the tour a must-see attraction in Hermanus.

Whether visiting Hermanus for the first time or returning, visitors find the experience enriching and memorable, emphasising the tour as a hidden gem to discover in the heart of Hermanus.

10. SANSA Space Science

SANSA Space Science, formerly known as the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, stands as South Africa’s national geomagnetic research facility. Located in Hermanus, Western Cape Province, this facility is part of the South African National Space Agency. Visitors find it a fascinating place to explore, guided by knowledgeable tour guides who eagerly share insights into the Earth’s magnetic fields and their interaction with solar radiation.

Many visitors are surprised to learn about the significant global impact of research conducted in this small town. The observatory’s role in studying geomagnetic phenomena underscores its importance in both scientific research and public education.

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Also Read: 10 places to visit in the beautiful village of McGregor

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