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>> Hermanus & the Whale Route <<

Introduction

The Atlantic ocean that surrounds the Hottentots Holland mountain range forms False Bay and is part of what is known as the Cape Whale Route. The 'whale season' is from June until November each year. That does not mean to say you may not catch a glimpse of one at any other time of the year. In any event the drive along the coast is recommended at any time of the year for some magnificent mountain, fynbos and sea views. The whale route takes you through some quaint little holiday places including Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay, Kleinmond, Rooiels and Hermanus.
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What to See


Hermanus
Whale Crier of Hermanus
The town of Hermanus is the hub of the whale route with views that extend far out into Walker Bay. The whales come to the protected bay to calve and is known as one of the twelve best whale-viewing spots in the world. The whales that you will see here are known as Southern Right whales, known as such because they are 'Right' species of whale found in the Southern Hemisphere.

The town of Hermanus has a quaint centre with restaurants, souvenir shops, coffee shops and plenty of accommodation. It makes for a great getaway since it is only 120 km from the city of Cape Town.

Kleinmond
Kleinmond is next to Betty's Bay. You can visit the Kogelberg and Mountain coastal reserves for hiking, go bird watching at the lagoon or enjoy some water sports like tubing down the Palmiet River. There are also a few shops that cater for your holiday needs.

Betty's Bay
Betty's Bay has a historic whaling station and is now home to many a holiday home and is perhaps most renowned for it's botanical gardens, the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens, where you will see many variants of wild fynbos. African Penguins can be spotted at Stony Point.


What to Do


Whale Route Tours
To experience the whale route, you can visit our associate specialist tour guide based in Cape Town for Whale Watching Tours.

Whale Watching
This goes without saying! Find a comfortable place to sit and be patient. Be sure to have your camera and binoculars ready! In Hermanus the whale crier will let you know when whales are in the bay. Look out for clouds of water and callosites (white warts) that appear on their skin and you will notice too that Southern Right whales do not have a dorsal fin They can live for as long as 50 years and can weigh as much as 41 tonnes!

Wine Tasting
Hamilton Russell wine estate
The Cape Whale Route is not usually associated with wine and wine estates but boutique wines are on offer at picturesque estates. Visit one these southern estates in at Bouchard Finlayson.

Hiking
Whether you choose to walk along the seemingly endless beaches or visit one of the nature reserves a walk in this countryside is recommended. In Hermanus go to the Fernkloof Nature reserve or visit the Kogelberg and Mountain coastal reserves in Kleinmond.

Bird and Nature Watching
With the abundance of nature that surrounds you along the Cape Whale route is does not come as a surprise to hear that you there are numerous bird watching spots. The best places to visit are the river estuaries of the Klein River, Onus River and Bot River or go to the lagoon in Kleinmond for some wetland birds. Look out for the South African national bird, the Blue Carne. For some four legged creatures you may get to see the wild vlei horses in Kleinmond and beware of Chacma baboons all along the way!

Shark Diving
Fancy the chance of being 'up close and personal' to a shark? It is possible to Great White shark viewing and cage diving off Dyer Island. At your own risk!

Water Sports and Paragliding
Although these two don't necessarily go hand in hand there is a good chance that if you fancy the one you will fancy the other! Try kayaking and deep sea fishing or if you fancy a birds eye view then why not try hang gliding or paragliding from the mountains overlooking Hermanus.

Play Golf
The renowned Arabella Hotel and Golf Estate is situated between Hermanus and Kleinmond. The greens look superb and are sure to tempt any avid golfer.

Eat seafood
There are an abundance of restaurants offering seafood. Be picky if you are seafood crazy and we are sure that you will find some of the best there is to offer. It is along this coastline that you will find the protected Perlemoen and of course; crayfish!


What to Eat


Beer
The beers widely available in South Africa are Castle, Tafel, Amstel, Hansa, Black Label and Windhoek and Tafel from Namibia. These beers a complimented by a wide range of foreign imports.

Boerewors
A South African Speciality Sausage with spices often cooked at a braai. You can have it as a snack, a mains or in a roll.

Biltong
Biltong is a South African favourite. It is dried meat. Beef, springbok, kudu, impala and other game is used in this cured meat treat. It's really good and so is droewors, dried boerewors, try it.

Cape Wines
Excellent wines are produced in the Western Cape and there are reds and whites to please even the pickiest of palettes. Wine estates are open to tourists for visits, sales and tasting. The price is good, the setting is beautiful and the wine is excellent in this African wine producing region. Franschoek, Stellenbosch, Robertson and Paarl are of particular interest.

Cap Classique
South Africa's very own bubbly is made in the traditional Methode Champagnoise.

Seafood
The seafood is delicious in this part of the world. Calamari, crayfish, mussels, hake, yellowtail and kingklip are popular choices. For a local speciality, try snoek, a barracuda like fish that is great smoked or fried.

Pies
For those not too concerned with their health or in need of a quick bite to eat, pies are widely available at rest stops and supermarkets.

Bobotie
Bobotie is basically a Cape Malay Shepherd's pie. Egg, mince, sultanas and spices are used as main ingredients and are complimented with rice and chutney when eaten. It's slighly spicy and delicious.

Potjiekos
Potjiekos is made in a potjie, a cast iron pot. Potjiekos is a slow cooked stew of lamb, chicken or beef with vegetables. Many a saturday afternoon is spent around the fire chatting as the potjie simmers away.

Koeksisters
Twisted pastries that have been soaked in syrup.

Milktart
Milktart is a crusty pastry filled with a milky sweet filling.

Rusks
Rusks are dried bread made with buttermilk and aniseed. Dip in coffee - great!!

Braaivleis
Barbecue meat - lots of braais, barbecues, are done daily in South Africa.


Where to Sleep


Hotels
You can find excellent hotels along the Cape coast and in South Africa. Many of the main online hotel sites will have listings for you in Hermanus. Find Hotels.

Hostels
There are hostels and cheap accommodation in Hermanus and the whale route. Prices vary from hostel to hostel but are generally affordable. Search and book a hostel in Hermanus.

Bed & Breakfast
There are numerous excellent bed & breakfast accommodation options available in and around the whale route, try one our booking services mentioned above to find a place to lay your head down at night.

A nice bed and breakfast close to Hermanus is called the Wooden Leg. Find out more information about this Kleinmond Guesthouse.


How to Move


Airport
The closest airport to Hermanus and the whale route is Cape Town International and is about 90 minutes away.

The national carrier of South Africa is South African Airways and you can book flights with them at www.flysaa.com

Find out more about the airport of Cape Town at www.airports.co.za

Car
A car is ideal to explore Hermanus and the surrounding coast line. The roads are excellent and the scenery is breath taking. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road here.


Locals


Language
South Africa has 11 official languages so you will hear a variety of dialects. Afrikaans and English are widely spoken in the Western Cape.

Time Zone
GMT +1 or +2, depending on the time of the year.

Currency
South African Rand. 1 Rand is equal to 100 cents.

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