Get up close and personal with the magnificent Great White sharks when you take a 30-minute boat journey from Hermanus to Geyser Island. Guests are welcomed with a light breakfast and safety briefing before departing from the boat launch site. Subject to research and current shark spotting, your host will anchor and drop a secure cage “shipside”. Guests are given a wetsuit according to their size and will benefit from exhilarating views from inside the cage and on the boat as the sharks are lured closer.
A serene sanctuary set between mountain and sea, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is a five-star eco-paradise that showcases an incredible array of flora and marine life. Offering a glimpse of the "Marine Big 5" including whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins; and incredible floral diversity – this is a truly unique luxury African experience. The exquisite 5-star accommodation is laid out between ancient and magical Milkwood trees, which are known to grow over 1000 years old. Guests can enjoy the tranquillity of this forested environment while looking out across fynbos plans to the azure sea beyond. More than just a luxury nature reserve, Grootbos is a world-renowned responsible tourism destination that invests in the conservation of nature as well as social development projects which provide local communities with sustainable employment.
When visiting Grootbos Nature Reserve, you not only have a good time, but also have a direct beneficial impact on the natural environment of Walker Bay and its people, through the Grootbos Foundation, which is the reserve’s award-winning non-profit organization. Committed to conserving the region’s biodiversity and developing sustainable livelihoods through eco-tourism, enterprise development, sports development and education, the Grootbos Foundation ingeniously creates and puts researched project models and programmes into action. The foundation focuses on three areas: conservation, using sports for development, and enterprise development. Funds from Grootbos’s eco-tourism business as well as donations from guests and external donors are invested through the foundation’s main programmes, which means that all guests to Grootbos directly contribute to the reserve’s biodiversity conservation and social development efforts in the Walker Bay region.
A scenic whale-watcher’s paradise – Hermanus is best known for its scenic coastal and mountain beauty, outstanding whale-watching opportunities, and mild, Mediterranean climate. It’s one of the best places (if not the best) in the world to see whales, with the best land-based whale watching being from Walker Bay. Every year from June to November (winter and spring), hundreds of Southern Right whales gather in the sheltered Walker Bay to breed and calve their young. Whale-watching season is from July to November—with September to November being the “hottest” months—so enjoy going out in search of these giant, majestic creatures from land, by boat or on a scenic flight. This is also the place to meet the world’s only Whale Crier who fills you in on where the whales are by blowing his kelp horn.
The Hermanus Wine Route – Hermanus is also blessed with a spectacular wine route offering up cool-climate wines. Over 15 renowned wine farms find themselves along the famous R320 in the picturesque Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley.
A myriad to explore and do – Take the chance to sit back on one of Hermanus’s pristine Blue Flag beaches, or go hiking, birdwatching, fishing (on the 4×4 Fishing Trail) or swimming in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve! For the adventurous, there’s shark cage diving and ziplining, and also great quad biking opportunities through beautiful vineyards, flower farms, olive groves, forests and up to Fynbos-covered mountains. The Weekly Saturday markets are also a must.
Weather and best time to visit – January to March provide the best weather for Hermanus, as the days are warm to hot and perfectly balanced by cool air from the Atlantic Ocean. But if it’s whales you’re after, be sure to visit between July and November! July to September are the cooler and rainier months, but there are still many sunny days during this period.
Hermanus is a spectacular coastal town on the shores of Walker Bay, only a 90-minute drive from Cape Town. This much-loved destination strikes the perfect balance between a tranquil natural paradise and a bustling holiday resort, with an impressive variety of things to do and see all year round.
The first thing that visitors notice is the breathtaking scenery. The town is surrounded by majestic mountains covered in indigenous fynbos. Most of the urban area is built along a cliff-top that offers panoramic views over the bay, the quaint Old Harbour below, and a range of white sand beaches in the distance lined with magical Milkwood trees. As the official Whale Watching Capital of the World, Hermanus offers nature lovers an unforgettable opportunity to view whales up close in their natural habitat. A pod of around 60 to 100 Southern Right whales visits the bay between July and December every year to breed and rear their young. For active visitors there is golf, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, paragliding, abseiling, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, shark cage diving, fishing and more! The spacious beaches are also ideal for swimming, surfing and sand sports, with secret nooks for private sunbathing. Foodies will love the vast array of restaurants, cafes and fresh produce markets that serve everything from fresh seafood and sushi to Cape Malay curries and homemade local delicacies. There are also several picturesque wine routes in the area featuring multiple award-winning wines. For retail therapy and souvenirs, the centre of town offers an impressive selection of fashion boutiques, jewellery shops, art galleries and craft markets – all within close walking distance of each other. Whether you stay for a weekend or months on end, Hermanus will keep you captivated!