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28 April, 2021

4 Reasons to Visit Hermanus Right Now

Royal Malewane

There is something magical about experiencing the Hermanus coastline and its marine life in different seasons. During the late summer months, daytime weather remains fine and sunny allowing for many exciting activities including whale watching, shark cage diving, golfing, hiking, surfing, and wine tasting in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

We recently caught up with Birkenhead House’s in-house tour guide, Jacques, who filled us in on what’s happening in May and June.

Hermanus is renowned as the best place for land-based whale watching in the world and Birkenhead House is privileged to enjoy the best vantage point in Hermanus – standing on the clifftop above Voelklip beach. Whales can typically be seen from June to November, with the best months being September and October. This year it seems that the Southern Right whales are arriving sooner than expected and should be In Hermanus within the next three weeks.

Whale watching can be done on land (at Birkenhead House), at sea or in the air. For those looking to get up close and personal with the Southern Right whales we recommend heading out on the ocean with a company called Dyer Island Cruises – their primary focus is on marine conservation and research.

 

The Sardine Run Has Begun

A magical migration happens as the water in Walker Bay begins to cool during the autumn months. Millions of shiny sardines embark on their annual journey, a one-way trip from the cooler waters of the Cape to the warmer tides of KwaZulu-Natal.

These massive sardine shoals attract magnificent wildlife into the waters in front of Birkenhead House. Guests can expect increased sightings of game fish and marine mammals including whales, dolphins and seals, and other spectacular bird life. Last month (March 2o21) our guests experienced the start of the Sardine Run and spotted a family of Orca whales in the bay.

This marine spectacle is a seasonal delight that ends just as fast as it begins and is definitely worth planning your trip around.

Fabulous Fynbos At Fernkloof

Within the Hermanus area, visitors will find a wide variety of Fynbos scattered throughout the town and surrounds. The Fernkloof Nature Reserve is a five minute drive from Birkenhead House and boasts a growing collection of over 1,470 species of fynbos. A few rainy days during April have brought the colour back into the Hermanus landscape and the Autumn bulbs have begun to bloom. Thick sheets of tawny gold and brown restios and blossoming proteas can be found along the well-maintained hiking paths and mountainsides.

There are several hiking trails around the Fernkloof Nature Reserve of varying lengths and difficulty, with all levels of fitness easily accommodated. The trails offer spectacular views across the town of Hermanus, Walker Bay and beyond. Guided hikes and picnic baskets can be arranged.

First Friday Art Walks

Enjoy an evening walk through the art galleries of Hermanus during First Fridays – a worldwide initiative to make art and art galleries more accessible to the public. On the First Friday of every month, more than 20 art galleries open their doors to the public until 8pm.

Pick up a map at any gallery, stroll through the centre of town and marvel at works of South African masters and emerging artists. With the Hemel en Aarde wine region being so close by, there’s often complimentary wine from local vineyards along the way.

Please note that the Art Walk does not take place during the winter months (June, July and August).

Images from Walker Bay Modern Art

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