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Hermanus and the Whale Coast

Why visit Hermanus and the Whale Coast?

Flanked by mountains and the ocean, this stretch of coast is famous for being the foremost place in the world for land-based whale watching. What more do you need to know?
Reasons to visit Hermanus and the Whale Coast include:

  • Hear the ”˜whale cryer’ announcing the arrival of the Southern Right Whales from June to November. 
  • Head to the beach and rocky cliffs, where these magnificent mammals can be seen from as close as 10 metres away.
  • Hike along the dramatic cliff paths or to the nature reserves of Fernkloof (home to the largest carnivorous plant in the world, the vlieebos) and Frans Senakal.
  • Go birding ”“ the region is rich in mountain, coastal, river and estuarine species.
  • Watch the fishing trawlers bringing in the day’s catch. Or visit the fishing museum in Hermanus' Old Harbour.
  • Shop ”“ Hermanus is home to an incredible selection of galleries, fashion boutiques and jewellery shops.
  • Take a boat trip and maybe spot great white sharks; shark cage diving is available!
  • Visit Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom and a great place to see wild flowers, fynbos and Milkwood forest, or to go birding or whale watching.

When to visit the Whale Coast?

June to November is the best time to watch whales from the shore. Recently though, whales have been seen further out to sea in the months before and after, so boat trips would be a good idea during this time. 

How to do the Whale Coast?

Hermanus is only an hour and a half drive to Cape Town so can be easily visited as a day trip. However, we recommend spending at least a couple of nights here and then continuing your journey along the coast.

Accommodation on the Whale Coast

Farm 215 is a stylish retreat located in a private nature reserve, with easy access to the coast. For a more seafront location, Whalesong Lodge has balconies looking out over Walker Bay. Ocean 11 is a lovely boutique hotel just outside Hermanus. Abalone Lodge has one of the best locations for land based whale watching.

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Hermanus and the Whale Coast accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT +2 hours

Flight time:

There are daily flights from Europe to Johannesburg (about 10 ½ hours direct) and Cape Town (about 11 hours). There is also a good network of domestic flights connecting all main towns.

Language: English is South Africa's main administrative language and is widely spoken. There are also 11 official tribal languages.


Visas are not required for British passport holders.


No vaccinations are compulsory. Malaria is found in certain areas (mainly Kruger and the east coast towards Mozambique), but not throughout the country.



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