Price range, per nightmin R max R
Standing on the high cliffs in Hermanus, the Westcliff suburb is where visitors congregate for glorious views of whale mothers and their calves resting in Walker Bay below. Hermanus in the Western Cape Province is world famous for land-based whale watching and Westcliff is at the centre of all the action. Here, one can sit for hours on comfortable benches and amongst street art, to watch for the Southern Right, Bryde’s and Humpback whales that visit this part of the world. Some years have seen up to 70 whales in the bay.
Once a tiny hamlet, Hermanus has mushroomed into a modern, spotless seaside town regularly frequented by day trippers from Cape Town and Stellenbosch, and returning international tourists.
For a stay in Hermanus, Westcliff is the most central location to enjoy all that the town and surrounding areas has to offer.
Things to do
You can stroll along the esplanade for whale watching across the bay, do some people watching at one of the open air cafés, or wander through the Old Harbour museum complex and explore the market for curios, pottery and various arts and crafts.
The wealth of fynbos found at the 1400ha Fernkloof Nature Reserve above Hermanus is unmatched and graded paths crisscross the reserve for hikers to easily reach the best sites.
Take a tour of Abagold, an abalone farming company originally setup to counter poaching of this endangered shellfish. The tour shows some of the machinery used to successfully harvest this creature.
Visit the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory established in 1941 to understand and measure the earth’s magnetic field. The site was chosen because Hermanus is magnetically clean, meaning the area has no electrical railway interference.
Travel the Walker Bay Wine Route which takes you through the picturesque Hemel en Aarde (Heaven and Earth) valley where quality dry white wines are produced.
Where to Eat
Rossi’s Italian is on a side street in Hermanus but is always buzzing with students appreciating their thin crust pizzas and fast service. If you have space, try the chocolate volcano dessert.
A meal at Bientang's Cave Restaurant at the old harbour is a must. Enjoy a well prepared seafood dish with the sea practically at your feet! Set in an old cave once inhabited by beachcombers, it’s the perfect venue to dine while watching the whales.
Treat yourself to a meal at the Seafood at The Marine Restaurant. Relax with a pre-dinner drink at the bar and order your meal and wine in time for your seating. Lovely sea and garden views surrounded by elegant décor.
With glorious views and an unusual menu , La Pentola is a lively restaurant on the plaza with friendly and knowledgeable staff.
You will find the locals at the Gecko Bar at the new harbour, partying to the sounds put out by the resident DJs and the occasional live act.
Where to Stay
Accommodation offered in Westcliff include a stylish boutique hotel, guest houses and B&Bs in handsome old homes with established gardens, resorts overlooking private beaches, stately villas and well-equipped private homes.
Air Westcliff is 110km away from Cape Town International Airport.
Car Two car rental agencies are based in Hermanus or you can book a rental online.
Taxi Use the Tuk Tuk Transporter service for location hopping in Hermanus. John’s Hermanus Taxis offer shuttle services between Hermanus, the Cape Town airport and Cape Town & Stellenbosch.
Did you know?
The Hermanus Whale Festival takes place every September and packs in the crowds attending the food & wine events, fun runs, cycle races, classic car show, IMAX film fest and live performances.
In 1922 and after almost 6 hours of battling, a Hermanus fisherman landed the largest catch ever made with a line and hook. The 4m long shark weighed in at 986kg! Quite a feat when you consider that the largest black marlin ever caught weighed 707kg.