- Coastline The Cape of Good Hope
- Coast life Whale watchers and wine buffs
At the southernmost tip of Africa, the seaside town of Hermanus sees one of the continent’s most amazing natural spectacles when, for several months a year, Southern Right whales come to calve around beautiful Walker Bay.
The Cape coast hereabouts is an alluring mix of rugged sea cliffs, tranquil lagoons and warm wooded valleys lined with vineyards and orchards, and the area is also famed for its dolphins, penguins and great white sharks. If diving in a shark cage is a bit much, horse riding along the beaches or a wine tour in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley will allow you to appreciate Hermanus’ natural wonders in more relaxed surroundings. However you work up an appetite, you’ll need no excuse to indulge in the fresh seafood, organic produce and excellent wines.
Do go/Don’t go
Hermanus has mild climate and even the blustery winter season has plenty of sunny days. Summers months are dry and hot, although the sea breezes offset the temperature. Early March is perfect, with afternoon mists known as ‘champagne air’. The all-important whale-watching season is from July to late November, with activity peaking from August to October.
Planes Cape Town International (+27 (0)21 937 1200) is the nearest airport | 90 minutes north of Hermanus. Flights take 11.5 hours from London; Virgin Atlantic | BA and South African Airways operate direct flights from London.
Automobiles A car is ideal in Hermanus. It’s cheap | and easy (particularly if you’re British: they drive on the left side of the road) | although you will need to reserve a car well in advance. It’s worth noting that it is South African law to carry your international driving licence at all times. Also | some driving tips: at roundabouts | there are four-way stops where the rule is | whoever gets there first | leaves first. Minibus taxis have right of way – let them go ahead.
- Taxis Taxis are plentiful and cheap; ask your hotel to call you a cab.