The Best Things To Do in Hermanus: Your Essential Guide

The Best Things To Do in Hermanus: Your Essential Guide

Are you partial to whales, wine and blissful beach walks? Read on…

Situated in the heart of the Cape Whale Route, the once-humble fishing village of Hermanus has developed into a world-famous tourist destination. Still, despite its fame, Hermanus has maintained the rustic charm and natural beauty that made it such a sought-after destination to begin with.

Indeed, Hermanus preserves its seaside seclusion while offering a host of activities that appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and culinary connoisseurs alike. Whale-watching, wine-tasting, beaches, restaurants, art galleries… this resort town has it all. Here’s our guide to the wonders of Walker Bay.

Have you seen, done or eaten something fabulous in Hermanus that you think we should know about? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Explore Hermanus

Outdoor activities
Unique dining
Wine-tasting
Art + culture

Outdoor activities

1. Whale-watching tours

Whale Watching Tours: Things to do Hermanus

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. So why not book an awesome whale-watching tour that will get you up close and personal (without disturbing the beautiful creatures)? You could even plan your trip to coincide with the annual Hermanus Whale Festival.
Departure times Daily, 9am; 12pm; 3pm (June – December)
Contact 082 353 0550, info@southernrightcharters.co.za
Cost R900 (adults)
R800 (students and seniors)
R450 (children under 14)
Free (children under 5)
Where to find it Southern Right Charters: The Whale Shack, New Harbour, Hermanus
Book Now

2. Gearing’s Point

Gearings Point: Things to do Hermanus

Once a lookout point to watch for fishermen sailing into the harbour, Gearing’s Point is now one of the must-see spots in Hermanus for its incredible whale-watching opportunities. Elevated above the harbour, this viewing point allows a wider view of the ocean (and for those with not-such-fabulous vision, there is a telescope available). There are benches and patches of grass for onlookers to rest on while they await the gentle giants.
Cost Free
Where to find it 71 Marine Drive, Hermanus

3. Sea kayaking along Walker Bay

Walker Bay Sea Kayaking: Things to do Hermanus

Get up close and personal with Walker Bay’s sea creatures on a sea-kayaking trip, suitable for newbies and experienced rowers alike. Each guided tour starts with a safety briefing, after which you’ll be hop into your canoe, ready to interact with seals, penguins, dolphins and possibly even whales.
Opening times May – October 2019, 9am; 11.30am; 2pm
November 2019 – April 2020: 8am; 10.30am; 1pm
Contact 082 739 0159, wbadventures@hermanus.co.za
Cost R450 per person (2 hour kayak)
Please note Only children 10 years and older are permitted
Where to find it The Old Harbour, Marine Drive, Hermanus
Book Now

4. Voelklip Beach

Voelklip Beach: Things to do Hermanus

Arguably one of the best beaches in South Africa, for its clean, clear water, fine white sand, and dreamy setting, this secluded spot will grant you some respite from the crowds who tend to flock to Onrus and Grotto. An especially popular spot for surfers, it’s also a great location for picnics, thanks to the surrounding lawns. The sandy portion of the beach is surrounded by rocky outcrops, which make for sheltered swimming.
Contact 028 312 2629, hermanustourism2@hermanus.co.za
Where to find it  7th Avenue, Hermanus

5. Horse-riding at Pearly Beach

Horse Riding Pearly Beach: Things to do Hermanus

For an equine experience that’s as exhilarating as it is exquisite, head to Pearly Beach. As you trot alongside the bluest sea on the finest white sand, your guide Sarah Coronaios (owner of Gansbaai & Pearly Beach Horse Trails) will accompany you, while her husband, Kos, captures the moment photographically and on drone video.
Trails are suitable for all levels of riders, and novices are welcome and encouraged to experience a beach ride with a possible swim in the ocean with the well-trained horses.
Various packages range from The Premium Beach Trail, Sundowner Trail, Exclusive Champagne Trail, to the inland, Mountain Fynbos Trail. Special-occasion trails are also available.
Good to know This is an environmentally friendly business; leaving only hoof-prints in the sand.
Opening times Open seven days a week, year round. Trail departure times vary depending on the trail you choose; each trail is around 2.5 hours long. Booking is essential.
Contact 083 427 5674, info@pbhorsetrails.co.za
Cost From R700 per person (includes light refreshments and photo or drone video package when possible)
Where to find it Portion 1, Farm 321, Kleyn Hagel Kraal, Pearly Beach, Gansbaai
Book Now

6. Cliff-path walk

Cliff Path Walk: Things to do Hermanus

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 world-popular cliff path, 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 colourful 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 metres from the shore).
Contact 028 312 2629, hermanustourism2@hermanus.co.za
Where to find it11km along the Hermanus coastline

7. Klipgat Cave

Klipgat Cave: Things to do Hermanus

A mere three kilometres from the idyllic De Kelders fishing village is the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, home to Klipgat Cave and its limestone windows looking out onto stunning ocean views. The cave has reached cultural, historical and world heritage significance due to the 1992 excavation, which revealed stone tools and human bones dating back some 70 000 years.
Good to know Bring good hiking shoes, as the cave can be slippery, and a warm jacket as it can get windy.
Where to find it  The 7km long trail towards Klipgat Cave starts at Gansbaai Harbour and boasts lovely views of the ocean and occasional fynbos. But if you don’t feel like the walk, simply drive to Walker Bay Nature Reserve via Hermanus and take the boardwalk down to the cave. There will still be a bit of climbing as you get to the cave.

8. Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Fernkloof Nature Reserve: Things to do Hermanus

Covering about 1 800 hectares in the Kleinrivier Mountains, Fernkloof’s unique topography (a combination of mountain and sea) has given rise to flourishing and diverse plant life, including some unique species of fynbos. A network of colour-coded hiking trails runs throughout the reserve, offering spectacular views of Walker Bay and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
Interesting fact The Fernkloof Nature Reserve comprises 0.002% of the Cape Floral Kingdom but contains 18% of its plants in just 18 square kilometres. There are few places in the world where you can see so many different species in such close proximity.
Good to know The Blue and Yellow hiking trails are dog-friendly, but they must be kept on a lead at all times.
Opening times 6am – 7pm (summer)
7am – 7pm (winter)
Contact 028 313 0819 (Hermanus Botanical Society Office)
028 313 8111 (Emergency number)
Cost Entrance is free, but donations at the Visitor’s Centre are welcome.
Where to find it  Fernkloof Nature Reserve, Fir Avenue, R43, Hermanus

9. Klein River Farmstead

Klein River Farmstead: Things to do Hermanus

Fancy some farm-fresh artisanal cheese? Or a picnic by the river? The idyllic Klein River Farmstead is the perfect spot for a family outing, with its delightful outside play area, and nearby pig, donkey and goat pens. Create your own picnic from the assortment of of Klein River Cheeses, local fresh produce, wine and beer available at their deli-style Picnic Shed, and enjoy it amidst the lush meadows.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 9am – 4pm
Closed on Christmas Day & New Year’s Day
Contact 028 341 0693, info@kleinrivercheese.co.za
Where to find it R326, Stanford, Overberg

Unique dining

1. Moggs Country Cookhouse

Moggs Country Cookhouse: Things to do Hermanus

Tucked in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, surrounded by mountains, treetops and vines, lies family-run Mogg’s Country Cookhouse. A local favourite, this countryside gem is truly a home-grown experience. From the homemade bread to the piles of fresh herbs that sit atop the slow-roasted lamb shank and the Middle Eastern aubergine salad, Mogg’s is a breath of fresh air.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm
Contact 076 314 0671
Where to find it Nuwe-Pos Farm, 28 Nuwe-Pos Farm Road, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus

2. Hermanuspietersfontein Market

Hermanuspietersfontein Market: Things to do Hermanus

This popular Saturday market, known as “Die Markie”, is a wonderful Saturday outing – come rain or shine. The casual setting, which accommodates children and pets, offers an assortment of food and wine stalls, serving a vast variety of grub – from paella to vetkoek – and delicious wines.
Opening times Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Contact 028 316 1875, anika@hpf1855.co.za
Where to find it Hermanuspietersfontein Wines, Hemel-en-Aarde Village

3. Dutchies on Grotto Beach

Dutchies on Grotto Beach: Things to do Hermanus

Just off the blue-flagged Grotto Beach, Dutchies is the answer to all your laidback beachy dreams: where the stunning view provides a one-in-a-million backdrop to a casual meal. Whether you opt for a seafood platter, sushi or good ol’ hake and chips, rest assured it’s freshly caught, and pairs beautifully with a cocktail, chilled beer or a glass of wine.
Good to know The owners of Dutchies are opening a new restaurant at Fick’s pool in September!
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 9pm
Contact 028 314 1392, info@dutchies.co.za
Where to find it Grotto Street, Voelklip, Hermanus

4. Bientang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar

Bientangs Cave Restaurant: Things to do Hermanus

Picture this: you’re seated on the water’s edge, devouring a Malay-style seafood curry and sipping on a glass of Hamilton Russell chardonnay. Is there a more perfect way to take in the coast of Hermanus? We think not. The cave – named after Bientang, the last known Khoi Strandloper who lived in it self-sufficiently – is home to a restaurant that’s open daily to ocean- and food-lovers alike. Be sure to make a booking during season as this is a prime whale-watching spot.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11.30am – 4pm
Please note Off season, dinner on Friday and Saturday nights is weather-dependent. During season, booking is essential.
Contact: 028 312 3454, bookings@bientangscave.com
Where to find it: Bientangs Cave, Below Marine Drive

5. Manor House Restaurant

Manor House Restaurant: Things to do Hermanus

A trip to Stanford Valley is a must for visitors to the Overberg, and while the village boasts a number of noteworthy restaurants, the Manor House at Stanford Valley Guest Farm captures the spirit of this countryside getaway beautifully. Chef Marc Robert’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 The Manor House.
Opening times Thursday – Saturday, 8am – 10pm
Sunday, 8am – 4pm
Contact 072 198 0862, manorhouse@stanfordvalley.co.za
Where to find it Stanford Valley Guest Farm, R326

6. The Restaurant at Newton Johnson

Newton Johnson Restaurant: Things to do Hermanus

This feted restaurant offers cutting-edge cuisine with traditional South African flavours, as well as spectacular views of the Hemel-en-Aarde vineyards as they stretch out towards the Atlantic Ocean. The seasonally evolving menu, overseen by chef Ricky Broekhoven, consists of artfully prepared dishes made using the natural bounty of ingredients foraged and grown on the farm. Situated off the R43, a 10-minute drive from Hermanus, it’s worth a detour on your way back to Cape Town.
Please note The restaurant is closed from 19 August – 11 September 2019.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm
Contact 021 200 2148, therestaurant@newtonjohnson.com
Where to find it The Restaurant at Newton-Johnson, R320 Hemel-en-Aarde Road, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus

7. Hermanus Country Market

country-market-hermanus

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 and ciders, wines, gin, 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 from Tulip Roasters.
Opening times Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Contact 072 883 3894, farmersmarket@hermanus.co.za
Where to find it  Corner Fairways Avenue and Jose Burman Drive, Hermanus

Wine-tasting

1. Bouchard Finlayson Winery

Bouchard Finlayson Winery: Things to do Hermanus

Just 10 minutes from the centre of Hermanus, Bouchard Finlayson Winery is a slice of luxury, famed for its pinot noir and Missionvale Chardonnay. As one of the most awarded boutique wineries in South Africa, it offers wonderful wine-tastings and cellar tours, as well as a variety of self-guided and guided nature walks.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Contact 028 312 3515, info@bouchardfinlayson.co.za
Cost R30 (tasting: 3 wines)
R60 (tasting: 6 wines)
R60 (cellar tour; booking is essential)
Where to find it Bouchard Finlayson Winery R320, Hermanus

2. Creation Wines

Creation Wines: Things to do Hermanus

On the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde ridge, this sought-after destination offers unforgettable “wine”-tasting experiences for young and old. Of course, there’s no underage drinking – but rather a Young Adults and a Kiddies’ pairing menu. And, naturally, the grown-up food-and-wine experience, which is heavenly.
Opening times Wine-tasting: Daily, 10am – 5pm (booking is essential)
Wine-and-food pairing: Daily 11am – 4pm (booking is essential)
Contact  028 212 1107, info@creationwines.com
Cost From R10 (wine-tasting)
From R575 (wine-and-food pairings)
Where to find it R320, Hemel en Aarde Road, Hermanus
Book Now

3. Sumaridge Estate Wines

Sumaridge Estate Wines: Things to do Hermanus

Snugly situated between two mountains, with a close view of the ocean, the stone-walled cellar at Sumaridge Estate Wines beckons. Delicious platters accompany wine-tastings, and there’s even one for the little ones.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Contact 028 312 1097, info@sumaridge.co.za
Cost R40 (tasting: 4 wines)
R60 (tasting: 6 wines)
R20 (MCC tasting)
Where to find it Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus

 4. Ataraxia

Ataraxia: Things to do Hermanus

The four wines produced here are done so with as little interference as possible, allowing their natural flavours to shine. And you’ll get the opportunity to taste them in the unique Wine Lounge, which was originally a chapel,  built in the vernacular of the Overberg area.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm
Saturday and public holidays, 10am – 4pm
Contact 028 212 2007, info@ataraxiawines.co.za
Cost R50 (fee waived if you purchase wine)
Where to find it The Skyfields Farm, Hemel en Aarde Road, Hermanus

5. Spookfontein

Spookfontein: Things to do Hermanu

Spookfontein’s welcoming, brick-faced tasting room is nestled so effortlessly in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, it blends into the Overberg’s beauty, making you feel part of the surrounds. While you’re there, enquire about the restaurant and accommodation.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4.30pm
Sunday and public holidays, 10am – 4pm
Contact 028 125 0128, admin@spookfontein.co.za
Cost R35 (fee waived if you purchase wine over R100)
Where to find it Hemel and Aarde Road, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus

6. Hamilton Russell Vineyards

Hamilton Russell Vineyards: Things to do Hermanus

With the cellar and tasting room set beside a bucolic lake, frequented by a raft of resident ducks, you’ll feel a world away. Amidst the greenery of the hilled vineyard, weeping willows and Italian cypress and eucalyptus trees, sip their signature pinot noirs and chardonnays to your heart’s content.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Contact 028 312 3595, info@hamiltonrussellvineyards.com
Cost R50
Where to find it R320, Hemel en Aarde Valley, Hermanus

7. Domaine des Dieux

Domaine Des Dieux: Things to do Hermanus

This boutique wine farm specialises in small-batch wines and was the first estate in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley to produce MCCs.
Opening times 1 September – 30 April: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm
1 May – 31 August: 11am – 4pm
Contact 028 313 2126, info@domainedesdieux.co.za
Cost R50
Where to find it R320, Hemel en Aarde Road, Hermanus

Art + culture

1. Hemingways Bookshop

Hemingways Bookshop: Things to do Hermanus
Kaelin Govinden

Known as the quirkiest bookshop in South Africa, Hemingways is any book-lover’s dream. Get lost in the pages of rare collectables and out-of-print books or simply soak up the charm of the quirky decor. Any trip to Hermanus would be incomplete without leaving with one of their books tucked under your arm.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 5pm
Contact 028 312 2739, hemingwayshermanus@gmail.com
Where to find it 4 Warrington Place, Harbour Road, Hermanus

2. Rock Art (Phillipskop Mountain reserve)

Phillipskop Mountain Reserve: Things to do Hermanus

A 40-minute drive beyond Hermanus lies the only recorded rock art on the Cape Whale Coast. You’ll find it in a capacious cave at Phillipskop Mountain Reserve that’s open for day visitors and those staying in one of the accommodation options available on the reserve. Phillipskop boasts artwork of Khoe (Khoi) pastoralists and San hunter-gatherers that’s thought to be between 1 000 and 2 000 years old. Visitors can freely explore the reserve or book one of the guided introductory walks. The walk to the cave from reception is around two kilometres, and normally take around two hours.
Pet-friendly? No dogs are permitted in the reserve.
Opening times  Monday – Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Contact  073 621 1808, info@phillipskop.co.za
Cost R40 (adults, day visitors)
R20 (children 5 – 18 years)
Free (children 0 – 5 years)
R125 (guided introductory walks (minimum of 4 adults required; children 0 – 5 years free)
Where to find it 3km off R326, Stanford

3. Lembu Gallery

Lembu Gallery: Things to do Hermanus

Housed in a century-old fisherman’s cottage, now the home and studio of artist Ed Bredenkamp, you’ll find a myriad of African stories in the form of paintings, fabrics, ceramics and jewellery. A treasure trove of gifts and unique art pieces – including some of Ed’s oil paintings of red elephants – Lembu is the place to buy authentic souvenirs from the African continent.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Contact 028 312 1187 / 028 313 2741, lembu@telkomsa.net
Where to find it 10 Harbour Road, Hermanus

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Research by Hannah Littlewood, Bianca Hausle, Matthew Flax

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 20 August 2019

6 Responses to “The Best Things To Do in Hermanus: Your Essential Guide”

  1. Avatar

    Donald Fraser Bett

    I believe that Sievers Punt deserves a special mention as one of the best whale viewing places in Hermanus. They come in so close one can almost touch them. Even out of the whale season the views are across Walker Bay towards Voelklip, Grotto Beach and de Kelders, with the mountain backdrop, are superb. The early evening is our favourite time there.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    William Ntebe

    You Missed out the Zwelihle YouthCafe a cultural and economic development centre in the township of Hermanus. Definitely worth a visit when you are in town again. You can hop on the Chillguru sightseeing bus which has a hop off at our centre.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Cathy McClune

    Went to Moggs restaurant yesterday and very impressed with the lovely venue and food. Really worth a visit.

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    Jakes Louw

    Three craft breweries in the area but not a word? REALLY?

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      The Inside Guide

      Hi Jakes
      Thanks for your message.
      We are currently in Hermanus investigating the craft beer scene. Watch this space!

      Reply
  5. Avatar

    Lorraine Barry Martin

    Awesome pics and text. Suggest pic of nature reserve walk gets some people in pic as that attracts. Well done on an excellent marketing tool

    Reply