Want to make the most of your Hermanus experience – and really get your time and money’s worth? Then, good planning is essential. Here’s our suggested itinerary. See you on the cliff path…
Friday, 1pm: Lunch at Paul Cluver Wine Estate
Image credit: @nikihalljones
Conveniently situated on the way to Hermanus, Paul Cluver Estate won’t take you too far out of your way. Nor will you regret the opportunity to sample some fine wines and fresh, honest-to-goodness dishes at Fresh, the estate’s restaurant. The hospitable country atmosphere, and spectacular views of the valleys below, will set you up for your Overberg vacay.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3.30pm (September to May)
Contact 021 844 0014, 071 563 6020 (Niki), email@example.com
Good to know Fresh at Paul Cluver closes every July for their winter break
Location De Rust Estate, Grabouw, take the Kromco turn-off on the N2
Alternative suggestion Pool Room at Oak Valley if it’s open, or you could grab a pie for the road at the Peregrine Farm Stall
Friday, 4pm: Hermanus Cliff Path Walk
Image credit: African Sun Road Tourism
Hermanus has no shortage of fine restaurants, which means dining out is probably going to feature highly during your stay. Build up an appetite with a brisk(ish) saunter along the popular cliff path trail and witness the entire coastline of Walker Bay in all her majesty. As the path takes you through the Old Harbour (declared a national monument in 1970) you’ll get a glimpse of the town’s interesting history, dating back to the mid-19th century and its origins as a small fishing village. Naturally, the trail has some prime spots for whale watching (they’ve been sighted as close as five meters from shore).
Contact 028 312 2629, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternative suggestions Art aficionados might prefer to visit Lembu Gallery and Studio on Harbour Road for a casual browse of oil paintings and unique handcrafted items.
Friday, 7pm: Dinner at The Marine
The elegant Marine Hotel lives up to its name, with nautical-inspired decor (that’s chic not kitsch) and fresh seafood dishes. The versatile menu, overseen by executive chef Peter Tempelhoff, offers shellfish, curries and tempting platters. Here, even good ol’ hake and chips is given the royal treatment (it’s called “rich man’s fish and chips” on the menu), which is not surprising given Peter’s provenance (working under Michelin-starred culinary maestro Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis in London).
Why you’ll love it This special-occasion eatery is worth splashing out. service is warm, professional and informed.
Opening times 12pm – 2:30pm, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Contact 028 313 1000, email@example.com
Location The Marine Hotel, Marine Drive, Hermanus, Western Cape, 7200
Alternative suggestion Feel like something more more cosy? Try the Barefoot Cook (open on Saturday nights during high holiday season, but call ahead to confirm).
Saturday, 9am: Breakfast at Hermanus Country Market
Image credit: Earth Under my Feet
All the things we love about Hermanus are rolled into one at this laidback country market, making it a fitting start to Saturday (that’s assuming you’re in Hermanus over the weekend). Sausages, pies, hand-made cheeses, fresh juices, craft beer, excellent coffee, and loads more, can be found at the various stalls. Live music and a variety of arts and crafts contribute to the vibrant atmosphere.
Good to know The market is pet-friendly.
Don’t leave without trying a heavenly mini melktert (or five), washed down with a good cup of coffee.
Opening times Saturday, 9:30am – 1pm
Contact 072 883 3894, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Hermanus Cricket Club, Fairways Avenue, Eastcliff, Hermanus, Western Cape, 7200
Saturday, 3pm: Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary
A 30-minute drive from Hermanus, this experience is worth making room on your schedule for. Founded by Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine S. Nyquist, Panthera Africa is a haven for big cats rescued from breeding grounds where they were exploited, and some directly bred for the purpose of the canned hunting industry. Inhabitants include white and brown lions, black leopard and Bengal tigers (and, of course, the dedicated staff and volunteers who help care for them). Hear their heartfelt stories, raise your awareness and leave a changed person!
Opening times 90-minute guided educational visits, 9am and 4pm (October to March)
10am and 3pm (April to September)
Cost R240 (adults)
10% discount for families of 4+
Pre-booking is essential
Contact 071 182 8368, email@example.com
Location Pappiesvlei, on R326 from Stanford to Caledon
Alternative suggestions You could spend the day in charming and buzzy Stanford, which boasts numerous attractions including the Raka Tasting Room (we recommend the Sangiovese), Sir Robert Stanford Wine Estate, and the Klein River Farmstead (great picnic spot, though it closes at 1pm on Saturdays).
Saturday, 7.30pm: Dinner at Manor House Restaurant
A trip to the Stanford Valley is a must for visitors to the Overberg, and while the village boasts a number of noteworthy restaurants, the newly opened Manor House at Stanford Valley Guest Farm captures the spirit of this countryside getaway beautifully. Consultant chef Madré Malan’s contemporary country cuisine is honest, utterly delicious and full of goodness. And the owners’ warmth and passion for what they do will make you want to pack up your life and relocate to Stanford…
Read our full review of Manor House here.
Opening times Thursday – Saturday, breakfast, lunch and dinner
Sunday, breakfast and lunch
Contact 028 341 0574, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location R326, 10km from Stanford towards the N2
Sunday, 9am: Whale-Watching Tour
Image credit: Southern Right Charters
No guide to Hermanus would be complete without mentioning the gentle giants. In fact, if you’re in the Overberg between June and November, they’re probably the main reason you’re here. One of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) 12 Best Whale-Watching Destinations in the World, Hermanus is a breeding ground for southern right whales. As such, there’s a number of whale-tour operators, a few of which are listed below. You might even plan your trip to coincide with the annual Hermanus Whale Festival.
Whale Tour Operators in the area Southern Right Charters / Ivanhoe Sea Safaris / Whale Watchers Hermanus
Departure times Southern Right Charters: Daily, 9am, 12pm and 3pm (June – December)
Whale Watchers: Daily, 9am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm (June – December)
Ivanhoe Sea Safaris: Daily, 10am and 1pm (June – December), 7am and 5pm during peak season (August – October)
Contact Southern Right Charters: 082 353 0550, email@example.com
Whale Watchers: 028 312 4957, 082 931 8064, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivanhoe Sea Safaris: 028 384 0556, email@example.com
Location Southern Right Charters: The Whale Shack, New Harbour, Hermanus
Whale Watchers: Westcliff Road, New Harbour, Hermanus
Ivanhoe Sea Safaris: Gansbaai Harbour, Gansbaai
Alternative suggestions A hike in the beautiful Fernkloof Nature Reserve, where spectacular bird life and fynbos abound. Or, spend the morning at the secluded Voelklip Beach.
Sunday, 1pm: Lunch at Newton Johnson Wines
Chef Eric Bulpitt’s feted restaurant offers cutting-edge cuisine with traditional South African flavours (as well as spectacular views of the Hemel en Aarde vineyards). Situated off the R43 around 20 minutes drive from Hermanus, it’s worth a detour on your way back to Cape Town.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm (September – April)
Thursday – Saturday, 7pm – 8pm (September to April)
Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm (May – August)
Saturday, 7pm – 8pm (May – August)
Contact 021 200 2148, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Newton Johnson Winery, 7200 Hermanus, Western Cape
Alternative suggestions If you’ve had your fill of wine farms, The Harbour Rock offers delicious seafood dishes and great views of Walker Bay.
Psst, if you feel like splurging, book a night at Birkenhead House.