Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Hermanus Hiking Trails
While most visitors to Hermanus have many things to do on their itinerary, most involving the whales that have made this town famous, there are many other activities on offer.
Where? In and around Hermanus.
When? For best visibility, during daylight hours.
One of these is surely the abundance of excellent and well maintained hiking trails through the many reserves that surround the town.
The famous Cliff Path, which winds its way around the rocky cliff faces that separate much of the town from the sea, stretching from the New Harbour to Grotto Beach, is one example. This trail, approximately 10-12 km long, offers some of the best land-based whale watching in South Africa.
This one of a kind trail passes by several landmarks with intriguing names and stories along its route, such as Fick’s Pool, the hidden spring discovered by Hermanus Pieters, after whom the town was named. Or Bientangs Cave, named for the last survivor of the strandlopers who lived in the area who died in the late 1900s.
Also along the route is the famous Marine Hotel which dates back to the early 1900s, Mickey, where cormorants roost and are hunted by Cape Fur Seals, and Kwaaiwater a small rock beach where the raging surf crashes spectacularly.
Although the trail can be walked in its entirety, there are numerous places along its route where the trail can be accessed, for those who are looking for a shorter stroll or just to take advantage of the well placed viewing points.
Within the nearby Fernkloof Nature Reserve, there are approximately 50km of well maintained trails through the fynbos that covers the hills and mountains that encircle the town, offering visitors the opportunity to view the unique Cape Floral Kingdom’s many beautiful species up close. Close to 1500 different floral species have already been identified in this reserve, and it offers one of the most dense and diverse examples fynbos, unique to the Western Cape.
One of the trails on offer in the reserve, the Tree Trail, focuses specifically on the various indigenous trees in the area and offers a well signposted walk from the reserves Botanical Centre to the top of Assegaibos.
Another option is to take a guided tour, arranged by the reserve for a nominal fee, that offers a variety of graded trails suited to all ages and fitness levels and that offers fascinating insight into the plants and animals of the area.
A two hour walk at the Frans Senekal Nature Reserve in Vermont, just outside Hermanus proper, takes visitors along the ocean front, from Hoek van den Berg to Hawston Harbour.
One of the newest attractions in the area is a five day Whale Hiking Trail. Developed by Cape Nature, the trail starts in the De Hoop Nature Reserve near Bredasdorp and meanders through various reserve areas and along the coast, while providing comfortable overnight accommodation.