The South African village of Hermanuspietersfontein is approximately two hour’s southeast of Cape Town on the Atlantic coast, depending on your urgency. Thanks heavens the postal service changed the name to Hermanus after they ran out of digits on the franking machine. Just imagine keying that into the satnav. Thanks also for predictive texting.
Rooi Els Beach Looking back to Cape Town
You are seldom far from the ocean as you pass the villages of Rooi Els, Kleinmond, Fisherhaven, and Vermont. Beyond Hermanus lies Cape L’Agulhas where the harsh Atlantic merges with the warmer Indian Ocean. No wonder Hermanus has always been a magnet for callers from cooler climes. Arrive at Hermanus at dawn in late September when the Southern Right Whales return to calve and mate. Discover that everything else can wait.
Hermanus Whale Watching
The oldest part of Hermanus dates from before city folk ‘discovered’ the local farmer’s holiday cabins. It stands poised on a rocky cliff, affording places to gaze down on whales cavorting in season. There are also places to safely scramble down to isolated coves, and be one with nature as you hear the giant mammals breathing, seemingly close enough to touch.
Southern Right Mother and Child Return
Elsewhere, the cliff gives way to lower, open ground, safe bathing spots, and a picture-perfect fishing harbour. Just beyond it, an extended jetty provides boats trips to Gansbaai further south, where intrepid divers swim among Great White Sharks. I prefer the quieter side of the village, where I can linger over coffee, and wait for calls of the official whale crier telling me that the season for sightings has begun.