CapeTownMagazine.com

Have a Whale of a Time in Hermanus

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com

Have a Whale of a Time in Hermanus

Watch the world’s gentle giants of the deep frolic in waters of Walker Bay

Wedged between the mountain and the sea, the quaint hamlet of Hermanus has been rated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as one of the twelve best whale watching locations in the world, and it is often regarded as the heart of the whale route.

This story-book fishing village along the southern coast is, arguably, one of the Western Cape’s most breathtaking destinations and is complemented by a range of fine restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and more. It’s no wonder that pods of whales pack their sunscreen and beach towels, bound for the sheltered bays and coves of Walker Bay. 

TYPES OF WHALES: 

Southern Right whale
This whale is distinguished by callosities (calluses) on its head, a broad back without a dorsal fin and a long, arching mouth that begins above the eye. These mammals often swim close to the shore: if the looming shadow of a big fish at your hotel window leaves you cowering under the duvet, it’s probably real.
Interesting fact: an adult female can weigh up to 80 tonnes. Male Southern Right Whales have, what are arguably, the largest testicles in the animal kingdom: each weighing about 500kg.
Best time to spot them: July – November.

Humpback whale
The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobby head. Curious about their environment, they will approach whale watching boats closely, often sunbathing near the boat for a while. They pass through Hermanus on their way to a scuba diving holiday in St Lucia.
Interesting fact: Male Humpback whales produce complex songs, sometimes lasting 10 to 20 minutes long. These songs are often repeated for hours at a time, and while scientists have not yet figured out the tune’s porpoise (ahem, purpose) some believe it is related to mating rituals.
Best time to spot them: May – December.

Bryde’s whale
Bryde’s whales are named after the Norwegian consul to South Africa, John Bryde, who helped set up the first whaling station in Durban. They are medium-sized, dark grey in colour with a white underbelly.
Interesting fact: Bryde’s Whales can reach depths of up to 300m while diving and can stay submerged up to a maximum of 20 minutes!
Best time to spot them: all year round.

You can also spot: orcas, although sightings are occasional.



LAND BASED WHALE WATCHING: 

“While sunbathing at a local beach, I can sometimes spot up to five or six whales, just behind the last set of waves,” says a Hermanus Tourism representative.

As Mzansi’s capital of whale spotting, Hermanus offers residents and visitors alike a number of vantage points to spot these deep sea divers. Whether you’re sunbathing along the beach, perched atop the 12-km cliff with its panoramic view or simply waking to an unobscured view of the ocean, chances are high of spotting a giant tail or a breaching whale. Gearings Point is a popular spot that offers a panoramic view of the bay; viewing terraces at the Old Harbour make it possible to spot Southern Right whales; and spotters can also catch a glimpse of breaching whales at Dreunkrans, Windsor Bay, De Gang, Siever's Point, Kwaaiwater as well as Voëlklip and Grotto beaches.

The Whale Crier
When Southern Right whales come to the warm waters of Hermanus to mate and calve it is the job of The Whale Crier to alert shore-based whale watchers to the whereabouts of whales, by blowing a message, via a horn made of kelp. A sandwich board around his neck informs visitors how they may interpret codes. For updates on whale whereabouts, call +27 (0)78 1159214, or the whale watching hotline on +27 (0) 28 312 2629.

Whale, Wine and Wors Tour by Wine Flies
Alternatively, if you’d like to view these lords of the deep under slightly more adventurous circumstances, it’s worth investigating boutique wine tour operator Wines Flies’  Whale, Wine and Wors Tour .  As the first ‘W’ suggests, guests will get to do some land-based whale watching in Hermanus, which is facilitated by one of the fun-loving company’s experienced and amiable tour guides.  Beforehand though,  tour-goers will tackle the remaining ‘Ws’: Wine tastings at the Middelvlei Wine Estate in Stellenbosch and a boerewors and cider pairing in Grabouw also form part of the experience.   
Cost: Wine Flies’ Whale, Wine and Wors tour costs R650p/p, which includes all tastings, food pairings and lunch. Tours run every Tuesday and Thursday (July to December) from 7:30am-6pm. Phone: +27 (0) 21 462 8011| info@wineflies.co.za

AERIAL WHALE WATCHING: 

African Wings 
“The biggest advantage of aerial whale watching is that you are able to see the whole whale, as well as its calf,” says owner of African Wings, Evan Austin, “If a mother lies on her back with her stomach on the surface, the calf will try repeatedly to slide up on her stomach, where it will lie between her pectoral fins for a stroke.” On your private, 30-minute flight (max. 3 passengers); you’ll see whales playing, mating and breaching, unaware of human presence. African Wings have been known to spot up to 198 whales, during one 30 minute flight over Walker Bay. 
Weltevrede Airfield | Stanford | +27 (0) 28 312 2701

BOAT-BASED WHALE WATCHING: 

Hermanus Whale Cruises
“The best way to view whales is by boat,” enthuses manager, Phillipus May, “you interact with them and are far better informed of their behaviour, which makes for an exhilarating experience.” Your two hour cruise includes cool drinks and snacks, as well as hotel transfers.
245 Westcliff Road | New Harbour | Hermanus | Western Cape | +27 (0)28 313 2722

Southern Right Charters
“Observing, not disturbing” is the motto of the ‘Miroshca’ – a luxury catamaran, built with passenger safety in mind. Four different viewing levels and outside walking areas provide an opportunity to get up close with curious whales that swim right up to the vessel.
The Whale Shack | New Harbour | Hermanus | C/O Westcliff Drive and Stil Road| +27 (0)82 353 0550

TIME TO GET WHALE-EDUCATED:

The Whale Museum
Noel Ashton uses paintings and scientific illustrations to tell the fascinating story of underwater lives of Southern Right Whales. His daily show, at the Whale Museum, is sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
The Whale Museum | Behind Market Place | Hermanus | Western Cape | +27 (0)28 312 1475

The Hermanus Whale Festival
Thousands of enthusiastic visitors come to Hermanus for the annual whale festival, which marks the return of the Southern Right whales to the waters of Walker Bay. This year the event is happening in October and there’s live music, art exhibitions, colourful stalls and food stands.
Main Road | Hermanus | Western Cape | +27 (0)21 313 0928

DIRECTIONS TO HERMANUS

From Cape Town:

  • Take the N2 through Somerset West and Grabouw and travel towards Caledon.
  • After crossing the Houw Hoek Pass (just before Bot River), the road will split.
  • One fork will take you on the N2 towards Caledon and the other will take you on the R320 towards Hermanus.
  • Take the R320 to Hermanus.
  • At the T-junction, turn left and follow the R43.
  • Pass the Kleinmond turn-off.
  • Drive passed Hawston and Onrus and head straight into Hermanus.

---
Make a weekend of it and have a look at these accommodation options in Hermanus. If you can only stay for a day, here are our must-do tips for a day trip, and for the more adventurous, we’ve got an overview jam-packed with awesome activities.
---
Check out our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City!

Cape Town Events Calendar
June 2016
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

Sustainable Market 3Pop-Up Sustainable Development Market

Make your way to this vibrant market and sell clothes, veggies and recycled ...

One Day Jewellery WorkshopMake Your Own Jewellery Workshop

Discover the joy of jewellery design in Giselle Petty’s one-day workshop

Benguela Cove Tasting RoomLove Wine Sundays at Benguela Cove ...

Enjoy exclusive award‐winning wines and sweet tunes at this exquisite Sunday ...

UEFA Euro 2016 4UEFA Euro 2016

Some of Europe’s finest national football teams compete for the European ...

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

Winter Wonderland - 5Gordons Bay Winter Wonderland Festival

Head to this not-so-sleepy town for warming food, wine and family friendly ...

The FirebirdThe Firebird Dance Performance at ...

From the creators of the life-size 'War Horse' puppet comes a poignant tale of ...

Vortex Phoenix Festival of FireVortex Phoenix Festival of Fire

Get ready for a fiery winter stomp-fest that will help dispel those chilly ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsThe Goatshed Restaurant’s Themed Food ...

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

Delheim Mushroom WeekDelheim Wild Mushroom Hunt

Put the fun back in fungi at this Stellenbosch estate’s annual forest forage

Christmas in Winter TulbaghTulbagh Christmas in Winter Festival

The most wonderful time of the year comes early in this Western Cape town

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

Camissa Tour 5 2015Sunday Gospel Experience with Camissa

Embark on a spiritual Sunday journey through one of the Mother City’s most ...

MV Logos HopeMV Logos Hope Book Fair at the V&A ...

The “World’s Largest Floating Bookshop” sails into Cape Town

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Boschendal Mushroom ForageMushroom Foraging Weekend at Boschendal

Enjoy a magical journey into nature at the fungi foraging weekend at Boschendal

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

Wizard of Oz - 1The Wizard of Oz at The Playhouse ...

There’s no place like Oz…

cape town comedy club logoHalf-Price Sundays at Cape Town Comedy ...

Laugh 50% off top-notch entertainment every last day of the week at this ...

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

Hazendal Wine Farm Cape WinelandsSunday Lunch and Picnics at Hazendal ...

Unwind with affordable fare on one of Stellenbosch’s oldest wine farms

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.