Whether you’ve already arrived or still on your way to Hermanus, the Cape Whale Coast one of the country’s best places to participate in on-land whale watching. Here are our top-five must-stop spots.
1. Clarens Drive (R44)
Self-drivers should seriously consider taking the scenic coastal route from Cape Town to Hermanus, or vice versa. This scenic route offers spectacular views across the bay and can easily be compared to the famous Chapman’s Peak route for its beauty. Leave Cape Town on the N2 then turn right towards Strand on the R44, which you’ll follow all the way. After Gordon’s Bay is Stony Point Penguin Colony – don’t miss this African penguin breeding spot. Then enjoy lunch and a walk through the cultivated fynbos gardens of the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. After Kleinmond, the R44 will merge with the R43 – turn right towards Hermanus.
2. Rotary Way
Take the mostly-tarred road less travelled to the summit of the mountain range that welcomes you to Hermanus. From Cape Town, approximately 2km before Hermanus town centre turn left into Malva Road before the Gateway Shopping Centre, and follow the Rotary Way signs. You’ll want to stop at various points along Rotary Way for views of Vermont, the Hemel and Aarde Valley, Hermanus’ harbours and, of course, the whales. Rotary Way ends at a parking lot that overlooks the spectacular scene of Hermanus and its southern right whales in Walker Bay. Bring refreshments and prepare to spend a long time taking in the unbeatable sights.
3. Gearing’s Point
It’s from Gearing’s Point at Hermanus’ Old Harbour where people looked out for the fishermen who came in with their catch of the day. Its orientation offered a great view of incoming boats, and today it is one of the ideal spots from where to eye the southern right whales. Should the point get crowded, walk along the paths or relax with a picnic basket on benches and patches of grass. When gazing out at the bay, to the left you will see the New Harbour in the distance, here you can join one of our boat based whale watching trips to get a closer look at these gigantic mammals.
4. Sievers Punt
Sievers Punt is in Hermanus at 306 Main Road and right next door to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Ask locals how to get there, and you won’t be sorry. This is one of the most fruitful whale-watching spots. Sievers Punt is right next to popular fishing spot Kraal Rock and other whale hotspot Die Gang. It’s an easy amble from Hermanus’ town square, but if you’re pressed for time you can quickly drive there, too.
5. De Kelders
De Kelders is about 40km east of Hermanus, past Stanford. The seaside village is named after the numerous caves that have been carved into the high sandstone cliffs. During season, southern right whales swim just metres from the rocky shore, and your vantage point is world-class. While here you should visit the Walker Bay Nature Reserve with its +20km trail along the coast. You could be lucky enough to spot the Cape clawless otter, bushbuck, duiker, and steenbok.