Hermanus has a twelve kilometre cliff path running from the new
harbour to Grotto Beach. This unique stretch of the coast, the World Wildlife
Fund has recognised as the best land-based whale watching area in the
Each year, huge numbers of Southern Right whales begin to arrive in Walker Bay in
July after their long haul from the sub Antarctic. The ocean giants, measuring
up to sixteen metres long and weighing sixty tons, come to the Western Cape
waters to calve and nurse their young. For 5 months, the spellbound audience
watching from the cliffs is rewarded to an amazing display of water acrobatics.
Hermanus is experiencing a boom. In the past three years, hundreds of people
have moved to this laid back part of the Cape. "There has been a massive
influx of new permanent residents," says town clerk Thys van Rooyen.
"But not just retired people. Families with young children have also been
arriving to make Hermanus their home."
Entrepreneurial locals have been quick to take advantage of the crowds who flood
into town for the whale extravaganza. Seven years ago, September was a low point
in the town calendar. Although the whales were wallowing in Walker Bay, nobody
made too much fuss of their friends from the deep. "It was the best kept
secret of the Cape," smiles businessperson Jim Wepener. "Whale
watching as a pastime was unheard of and when the September school holidays
started, everyone left. This place became a ghost town."
is one of the better known whaling spots in South Africa because if you mention
whale spotting to people they say Hermanus to you, but yet they know nothing of