Top things to do in and around Hermanus on your next trip

Posted on 6 April 2023

On the edge of Walker Bay is a small, coastal town filled with a myriad of exciting experiences. Hermanus is known for whale watching, but it also has the world’s most diverse floral kingdom, mountain walks, beaches, and a lot more.

1. Whale-watching
Picture: Hermanus Whale Watchers

No trip to Hermanus would be complete without seeing a whale or two. The southern right whales make a stop in Hermanus between June and mid-December. The Hermanus Whale Watchers runs daily trips from New Harbour. The one-and-a-half to two-hour voyages allow travellers to explore Walker Bay’s marine life. Depending on conditions and recent sightings, the trip could even extend towards De Plaat or Hawston.

  • Location: Westcliff Road, New Harbour; Hermanus
  • Contact: 028 312 4957 | 082 931 8064 | [email protected]

2. Sea kayaking in Walker Bay

Picture: Walker Bay Adventures

Get up close and personal with the marine life across Hermanus’ coastline in a kayak! Take in the view of the mountain, sea cliffs and marine life – starting from the historical Old Harbour – on a round trip depending on the wind, swells and your paddling abilities. All of Walker Bay Adventures‘ trips are accompanied by experienced guides, and include a thorough briefing on kayaking techniques. Keep in mind that kayaks are paddled in a marine reserve, so paddlers are not allowed to come within 300m of a whale.

  • Location: Old Harbour, Marine Drive, Hermanus
  • Contact: 082 739 0159 | [email protected]

3. Fatbiking

Picture: Fatbike Tours

Voted in the top 10% of activities worldwide and winner of the Travellers Choice Award for 2021 and 2022, Fatbike Tours South Africa offers a stunning 6km ride along a fynbos trail in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. The ride starts at 186m above sea level, ending at Die Plaat beach. With more than a few thousand tours completed, this experience is for both novice and experienced riders.

  • Location: 61 Ingang Street, De Kelders, Gansbaai
  • Contact: 079 514 8386 | [email protected]

4. Klipgat Cave at De Kelders

Picture: Ankergooi Holiday Accommodation

The De Kelders Drip Cave is the lowest-lying freshwater cave on the African coast. Part of a historical cave system, this limestone site is hidden in the cliffs of De Kelders. Inside is a clear pool with mineral water said to be known for its healing properties. Stalactites hang low from the ceiling of the cave, which houses Cape Horseshoe Bats. Focusing primarily on preserving the site, tours are both beautiful and educational. De Kelders is about a 25km drive from Hermanus.

  • Contact: 082 649 5730
  • BookingsBook here

5. Bientang’s Cave Restaurant and Wine Bar

Picture: Bientang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar

This international award-winning restaurant is located right on the shores of Walker Bay in Hermanus. The restaurant is carved into a century-old cave and overlooks the ocean, where whales cruise around a mere 100m away. Here, diners can sit on the deck and enjoy delicious seafood as well as some of the best wines that the Cape has to offer.

  • Times: Saturday & Sunday 09:0AMm to 11:00AM | Lunch daily 11:00AM to 16:00PM | Friday and Saturday Kitchen closes at 20:00PM
  • Location: In a cave, Below Marine Drive, Hermanus
  • Contact: 028 312 3454 | [email protected] | [email protected]

6. Rock art at Phillipskop Mountain Reserve

Fine line art depicting men. Picture: Phillipskop Mountain Reserve

This rock art site opened in 2016 as the only recorded location with rock art on the Cape Whale Coast. Archaeologists and Heritage Western Cape help preserve the paintings at Phillipskop Mountain Reserve near Stanford. The paintings depict a group of men, an antelope and several decorated handprints and finger dots, representing both the San hunter-gatherer and Khoe herder traditions from thousands of years ago. The rock art site is located inside a cave about 2km from the reserve’s reception and car park. Take the Waterfall Hiking Trail, which leads you up to the foot of the cave.

  • Location: 10 minutes outside Stanford, just off the R326 to Caledon and Riviersonderend
  • Contact: 073 621 1808 | [email protected]

7. Hermanus Country Market

Picture: Hermanus Country Market / Facebook

Local residents and visitors alike can be found at this market every Saturday. The market has fresh produce, artisan bread, coffee and breakfast on offer, and even a bottle of wine can be enjoyed over some live music. Parents can shop handmade crafts while kids can take a ride on a miniature train or get their faces painted. The market is also pet-friendly.

  • Location: Fairways Avenue and Jose Burman Drive, Hermanus
  • Contact: 083 657 0191 | [email protected]

8. Hemingways Bookshop

Picture: Hemingways Bookshop

Over the years, the bookshop has become internationally recognised as a source of rare, unobtainable and selected out-of-print books. The Visitors Book kept over the years is an interesting read full of tourists’ comments from all over the world.

The shop is an eclectic mix of bric-a-brac, ephemera and a comprehensive range of Africana, antiquarian and selected collectable books in all genres.

  • Location: 5 Victoria Square, Long str Arcade, Hermanus
  • Contact: 072 933 7140 | [email protected]

9. Bouchard Finlayson Winery

Visitors can enjoy a at picnic at the winery. Picture: Bouchard Finlayson Winery

In 1989, Peter Finlayson, a winemaker from the area, and Paul Bouchard, a winemaker from Burgundy, joined forces to start the Bouchard Finlayson Winery estate in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The estate has a variety of experiences on offer, such as unique wine, macaron and chocolate pairings. Purchase a curated picnic box and enjoy overlooking the picturesque views of the valley, or take a walk with your dog around the farm planted with indigenous fynbos. Children can also take part in a specially crafted pairing with juice and snacks.

10. The Old Harbour Museum

Picture: The Old Harbour Museum

The Old Harbour was proclaimed a museum in 1972, with the first curator appointed in 1973. The neglected area was cleaned and repaired, and old fishing boats were collected and repaired for outdoor display. The indoor museum was built along the steps, where many of the old fishing shacks used to stand. Some of these shacks were rebuilt along the slopes. Visitors can learn all about the fishing days of old, view the ‘bokkom’ stands where fish was dried, and even take a peek at glass negatives taken by famous photographer TD Ravenscroft. Trophies by local fisherman Bill Sherkirk, who caught the world’s largest man-eating shark with a rod and reel in 1922, can also be seen, as can the jaws of this terrifying creature.

  • Location: Marine Drive, Market Square, Hermanus
  • Contact: 028 312 1475 | [email protected]

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