Whale Watching in Hermanus


Hermanus was our second stop on our Western Cape trip. It is a popular retirement town, but it's probably best known for southern right whale watching. During the months of July to December tourists flock to Hermanus to observe southern right whales which migrate to the coastal waters to calve and mate.

Here are some of the things we did while visiting Hermanus: 

Walk the Cliff Path

One of the easiest ways to orient yourself with Hermanus is by walking the Cliff Path. The path runs from the new harbor all the way across the town. We were told that if you take it the whole way it is about 10km.  

Hiking in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve

On our last full day in Hermanus we went for a quick hike in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. The trail we went on took us to some amazing lookout points over the ocean and then wrapped around the hill with lots of beautiful fynbos to observe on the way.

Watch whales from the cliffs

And of course, the #1 must do while in Hermanus is...whale watching. There are whale watching boats that will take you out to get a closer look at these creatures (for about R500pp) but we decided not to and to try to spot them from the cliffs. On our drive coming back from Cape Point, we stumbled upon a whale that was super close to the coast along the road in St. James so we decided that we wouldn't be too  disappointed if we happened to not see any whales in Hermanus. However, since Hermanus is supposed to be one of the number one whale watching destinations in the world our hopes were still pretty high. We spent our first three days in Hermanus with no signs of whales (minus a few that we could barely make out pretty far from the coast) despite having walked along the coast in Hermanus multiple times. Then when we were hiking in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve we saw from up above that there seemed to be a ton of whale action going on below us. Later that day we came back to that area and behold there were whales galore! There were at least  ten whales gathered in one spot and they were super close to the shore. We spent a long time watching them splash around and play despite it being very windy and chilly out.  This was definitely one of the biggest highlights of Hermanus for me. 

Spend some time on the beach

The main town area of Hermanus itself does not have any beaches as it's mostly cliffs. If you go past the main town and continue to head east on the N2 you'll get to a nice stretch of beach. Apparently it stretches at least to the next town over, De Kelders. It was a bit rainy and overcast our first few days in Hermanus so we didn't spend any time getting our sun on, but we did enjoy it a bit after doing some whale watching, while the sun began to set. 

We stayed at the Zoete Inval Traveller's Lodge based of a recommendation by Nicole over at Treasure Tromp.  Zoete Inval is a combination guest house/hostel with separate buildings for each. A nice breakfast of muesli, toast, fruit, fresh jams, and coffee/tea was included each morning. Wifi is available for a small fee (it was something around R25pp for the entire stay). You can definitely tell that the place has some years on it, but it was clean and all of the staff were very friendly. For R550 per night were very satisfied with Zoete Inval.

Where we ate:

Tapas Food and Wine Bar: Ironically we did not eat any tapas here.  We stumbled into Tapas after being very indecisive and walking around all of Hermanus while trying to choose a restaurant. It actually ended up being one of our favorite restaurants we ate at in Hermanus as we came back a second time. The food and drinks are very well priced for the portions that you get. The restaurant is very simple, but with a very friendly staff. Although I can not vouch for the tapas my boyfriend and I can say that the steaks, pasta, and burgers are delicious.

Lemon Butta: Sushi is not South Africa's forte I've found (at least not in Gauteng).  I really wanted to go here after reading good reviews about the food and the views. I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed.  Not the cheapest, but it's worth it is you are looking for some good quality sushi.

Fabio's Ristorante: Fabio's claims to have the best Italian food in Hermanus. My boyfriend was not the biggest of the restaurant however due to the fact that the waitress forgot to bring him his drink until after our food was served and because they "trick" you into buying bottled water by asking if you would like some sparkling or still water for the table (which is actually a very normal thing that happens when you are actually in Italy). Either way I will say that the pasta was right on spot. I got the carbonara (which I like to call the adult version of mac and cheese) and my boyfriend got the puttanesca although we honestly could have split one pasta because the portions were humongous.

Cocos: We went here in the afternoon on our first day in Hermanus when my boyfriend decided that he was in the mood for cocktails and appetizers. The cocktails were well priced and they definitely were not stingy on the alcohol. The restaurant is located on the second floor with large windows that give beautiful views of the ocean.

Honingklip Brewery: We went to this brewery/restaurant to spend some Bitcoin. Read more about it here.

We actually did spend a good amount of time in Hermanus (4 nights total), but since we spent a good amount of time there just sitting around in the guest house working I decided to combine this stop into one post. Next up on the journey recap...Cape Agulhas!

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  1. so happy that you enjoyed your time and went to Lemon Butta!!

  2. Yes, Hermanus is such a great little town! Thanks so much for all of the suggestions!