Breaching Whales in Hermanus Harbour

Hermanus has become an annual trip for us. We go every year around August or September to see the southern right whales as they come to calve and mate in the waters of this seaside town in the Western Cape in South Africa. We have never been disappointed. 2014’s trip was especially memorable, because although it was our second trip, it was the first time my mother came along and she promptly fell in love with Hermanus as well.


We usually go for a long weekend, flying into Cape Town early on a Friday or Saturday morning, and leaving again late Sunday evening. This gives us more than enough time to get settled in our hotel (on this trip we stayed in the lovely Whale Coast Hotel), walk along the clifftops and explore the main town centre.

Our weekend started off with wine-tasting at one of the town’s local cellars. The Western Cape is known for its magnificent vineyards and if you’re a friend of Bacchus you can do worse than explore the region one taste test at a time.


By far my favourite part of a visit to Hermanus is meandering its coastal path, the sun on my face and the wind whipping through my hair. Okay, I’m not a huge fan of the tangled hair, so I always wear a hoodie or a scarf when we visit, but still, being outside, clambering on the rocks, stalking dassies and taking pictures of the amazing scenery is what makes this visit so much fun.

Hermanus-Kayaking Hermanus-Seagull Hermanus-DassieHermanus-Art-View

The whales make it special.

On this occasion my mother went on a whale watching boat trip on her own and Gareth and I stayed behind at the old harbour, lazing around on the tidal wall in the sun. To our great delight, two whales swam past, lobtailing and spyhopping every few meters. A crowd of onlookers gathered and we all ooh’ed and aah’ed every time one of the whales showed itself. They swam so close past us that I could probably have jumped onto their backs if I were brave enough (and it was allowed, of course).

Hermanus-Tidal-Wall Hermanus-Old-Harbour-Boat

We followed the whales as they swam past and then, suddenly, one of them breached right in front of us! It was the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen.


Have you visited Hermanus? Is there anywhere you go to year after year and still have amazing experiences?

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