See whales in Hermanus in South Africa: all you need to know
Animal watching is one of the essential activities during a stay in South Africa. If you do not yet know what to do in South Africa, here is a good start. This country is renowned for its nature reserves where it is possible to go on superb safaris and see many animals, including the famous members of the Big Five, but it is also a dream destination for seeing marine animals, especially on the coast. south in the Western Cape province, in the small town of Hermanus, known worldwide for whale watching. In this article, I give you all the practical information to prepare you for a unique experience: whale watching in Hermanus, South Africa
Hermanus: a small paradise for whale watching
Hermanus is a small coastal town in the south of the country, located about 120 km from Cape Town. Very appreciated for its calm atmosphere, its mild climate and its long and beautiful beaches and its varied landscapes, Hermanus is above all a very popular destination for travelers and nature lovers from all over the world, who come to see whales and other aquatic animals.
Whales can be spotted from many places on the southern coast of South Africa, from Cape Town in the far south-west of the country, to the border with Mozambique north of Durban.
Elands Bay, Algoa Bay, Plettenberg Bay, etc… All these observation sites are on this long coast, but it is really in Hermanus that all the conditions are met. Many cetaceans come to feed, reproduce and give birth in the fish-rich waters that border this small port city. They stay here several months a year and regularly approach just a few dozen meters from the coast.
Hermanus is among the best places in the world to watch whales from land, but it is also possible to take boat trips to have the opportunity to approach even closer whales and dolphins, boats that can be approach animals up to 50 meters (even closer!)
Whale watching excursions in Hermanus
If you want to go on a whale watching tour in South Africa, I really recommend that you book this activity in advance. Several types of outings are offered, directly from Hermanus or from Cape Town.
See whales by boat from Hermanus
If you decide to watch the whales in Hermanus in South Africa, during an excursion directly from Hermanus, the activity will often be cheaper for you. So here are some of the best plans in my opinion
Watching the whales by boat from Hermanus for a day in Hermanus will cost you around $75 per person. This excursion is the best offer in my opinion because it will take you offshore for a whole day. You can also, if the weather allows it, climb on the upper deck of the boat during the whole trip. You will leave with your head full of memories and your camera full of shots, each more beautiful than the next.
To see whales and dolphins from Hermanus, I recommend this 2-hour excursion with a professional guide who will take you to the most beautiful whale watching spots. Of course, bring a k-way and your camera. Tour price? Around €60 per person.
From Cape Town
You can also go whale watching in Hermanus from Cape Town, allowing you to devote a day to this key activity during your trip to Cape Town. This excursion therefore includes the trip to Hermanus from Cape Town, then you will board a boat. You can even bask in the warm waters.
Your excursion will continue with a visit to the Harold Porter Botanical Garden and Fernkloof Nature Reserve. You will also cross the entire coast via Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay. Tour price? Around $75 per person.
Of course, in Cape Town, you will have a huge choice of activities. So if you don’t yet know what to do in Cape Town after a whale watching excursion in Hermanus, I advise you to read my guide on the subject
Where to see whales in Hermanus?
You will see the whales in Hermanus in South Africa, in Hermanus Bay, where the water is very deep even near the shore, which allows the whales to approach very close to the coast. There are therefore several sites where it is possible to see whales from land:
Cliff Path, a trail that starts near the new port of the city and runs along the coast from the top of a cliff for about 12 km. It is a particularly accessible path, where there are many benches and which allows you to enjoy breathtaking panoramas.
Siever’s Point, right next to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve which covers almost 20 km² in the Hermanus Mountains. It is one of the best observation spots, which is also very easily accessible from the city center.
The beaches of Walker Bay, a nature reserve located just east of the town of Hermanus, which in addition to being an excellent place to see whales and also a site of choice for bird watching and for hiking. There is also Klipgat Cave, which was inhabited more than 65,000 years ago during the Stone Age.
To reach these different sites, you only have to ask the locals where to follow other visitors.
Anywhere on the Hermanus waterfront you can enjoy panoramic views of the bay and see whales. But it will not be enough to observe well, it will also be necessary to listen well. Indeed, in Hermanus, there is even a very special profession: whale crier. Each time he sees a cetacean, he blows his horn to warn all observers.
And even if the crier misses an appearance, you can count on the other visitors to show up and point out where whales are surfacing.
During whale season, you are virtually guaranteed to see cetaceans roaming in their natural environment in Hermanus. To observe them at best, do not forget your pair of binoculars, as well as your camera if you wish to immortalize this experience.
What species of marine animals can you see in Hermanus?
- Southern right whales
- Minke whales (sharp-nosed whales)
- humpback whales
- Killer whales
- Bryde’s whale (tropical whale)
- sea lions
When to go whale watching in Hermanus?
Whale season in Hermanus spans the austral winter and spring, from June to November. Throughout this period, many whales join the deep, calm and fertile waters of southern Africa to reproduce and give birth to their young. The animals then stay in the area for a few months before heading north again.
Humpback whales and southern right whales live in these waters only during whale season. On the other hand, other species of cetaceans such as dolphins and rorquals can be observed throughout the year.
If you want to learn more about the best time to go to South Africa, I invite you to read my dedicated article
How to get to Hermanus?
The nearest international airport to Hermanus is Cape Town (Cape Town International Airport). From this large port city on the southwest coast, you will have to travel 120 km to reach Hermanus.
This trip can be done quite easily by bus, car or train. By bus or car, you can also enjoy superb landscapes with the impressive cliffs, the beautiful beaches and the ocean as far as the eye can see during your trip on the coastal road 44, an essential passage during a road trip in Africa. from South. During the season, especially between August and November, you will probably even be able to spot whales already during the trip.
You now know everything to go on an adventure and observe a new species during your safari in South Africa: the whales in Hermanus. You may still be looking for your accommodation in Cape Town, for that, I invite you to read my dedicated article: Where to sleep in Cape Town!