As far as world class settings for whale and bird watching, Hermanus is definitely a winner. Located along the coastline in the Western Cape 115km from Cape Town, Hermanus is nestled below the base of the Olifantsberg Mountain that rises 958 metre above sea level, and looks out over Walker bay, well known for its world-class viewing of remarkable marine life.
Without too many commercial ventures or main roadways, the idyllic location of this town makes for a unique “family-feel” atmosphere with little of the fast-paced, noisy and polluted lifestyle that often accompanies big cities. It’s thanks to the peace and quiet that Hermanus makes for the perfect environment for an abundance of not only marine life but also birds.
The fauna of the area such as the South African national flower the Protea, White Milkwood trees, Sundews and other spectacular Fynbos plants are home to many different types of insects. These insects attract mainland birds like South Africa’s national bird the Blue Crane.
Due to the wealth of pelagic fish such as Pilchards, Sardines, Hake, Snoek, Mackerel and squid found within the temperate waters of Walker Bay, there are several colonies of Cape fur seals, pods of Dolphins, gams of whales and, of course, flocks of marine birds. Some of the birds spotted in this area that excite birding enthusiasts include African penguins, Sub Antarctic Skua, the Albatross and the Cape Gannet.
African penguins are an endangered species that we are privileged to have living along the Southern African coastlines. These inquisitive and quirky birds can be seen swimming and diving for fish and squid all around Walker Bay.
The Albatross is one of the largest of birds that fly; these excellent pilots dive out of the sky for fish and crustaceans from the ocean, and on land they can be seen performing mating dances. Visitors can watch the Cape Gannet reach impressive speeds of up to 120km when diving for fish, and their nests (which contain just one blue egg) can be seen dotted across the bird-lovers paradise of Hermanus.
As can be seen, both whale and bird watching in Hermanus, are popular, and fulfilling activities.