After a wonderful couple of days in the Cape Winelands, we drove a few hours from Franschhkeok over the Franschhoek Pass, with magnificent views crossing the mountains, to the coast and the little village of Hermanus.
We were headed to this particular town on the southern ocean as it is well known as one of the best places in the world to see whales from the shoreline. There is a large bay that these amazing creatures along with their calves come into. We wanted to add to the plethora of animals that we have seen in South Africa.
We stayed at the appealingly named Lavender Cottage, with amazing ocean views right out the window encouraging us to pay a bit extra than we normally would for accommodation. Right out the front of the property was some bush leading down to the water’s edge. We had arrived late in the day and just had time for a cliff walk, and a quick play on the small beach.
We had only a day to enjoy this quaint little town. With a 10 minutes drive into the town centre, situated at the bay, it was easy to get to for supplies and touring.
We visited the Whale House Museum, containing lots of info about whales, which we thought was a good idea just in case we didn’t see any in the bay. The space was well laid out, had some video footage and also included many whale skulls.
We walked along the bay’s edge, checking out the many statues along the way. There was a Whale Crier hanging about, who is a volunteer to let everyone know if a whale appears. Disappointingly none came while we were there. We did have an animal sighting though, seeing some dazzies on the rocks.
We enjoyed an alfresco lunch in town at one of the many restaurants that line the bay area, and the kids got a chance to play giant chess.
We could have gone out in a boat to spot whales, but we’re not sure that our youngest would cope with the hours on the water with possibly rough seas, and also it was not a cheap thing to do. You can also do shark diving in the waters near here, which didn’t appeal to any of us. We decided to take our chances spotting a whale back on the shore.
There was still no sign of whales in the bay. We decided that if we were not going to see whales in Hermanus, we would at least make the most of our stay in this town, and that involved going to the beach. The kids played for hours with the water running down the beach and around the rocks. Right towards the very end of the day we finally saw a whale, quite a way out in the distance, but we were happy to have seen one after coming all this way.
The day was not over. To maximise our chance of seeing a whale closer to shore, we had dinner at Two Oceans Restaurant on the cliffs, then a play on the rocks.
It was a fun day, and well worth visiting Hermanus, even though our whale sighting was not that spectacular.
Next, we go to Cape Town, our final destination in South Africa.