Hermanus Whale Crier
Villages in the UK have town criers; Hermanus has its very own whale crier, and, what’s more, Hermanus lays claim to the only whale crier in the world. The popular town, connected directly to the Mother City by the R43 and N2, is famous for whale watching, and the whale festival at the end of September attracts thousands of visitors.
It’s no surprise then to discover the whale crier whose job it is to alert everyone to the whales’ whereabouts. And, should you need details to help you recognise him, other than the huge black and white ‘whale crier’ sign around his neck and his constant bugling, he’s the guy with an odd looking feather in his cap.
Actually it is a kelp horn that Pasika Noboba, successor to Godleck Baleni and before him Wilson Salukazana, the second whale crier who walked the Hermanus cliffs for eight years, carries. There is a whole series of horn blows that Pasika gives to indicate points along the coastline and the number of whales spotted.
It takes a great deal of skill and practise to master the horn, and people familiar with it know from the blow alone whether it is a Southern Right whale, Humpback or Bryde in the bay. Pasika, who took on the mantle as the world's only whale crier in September 2008 and who has an incredible knowledge about whales and Hermanus, usually notes these on the board around his neck, to make it easier for you.
The first whale crier in Hermanus was Pieter Claasens whose incredible knowledge and armour plated indifference to his fellow residents’ mockery and teasing, endeared him not only to visitors but to the world’s media, resulting in his becoming one of the major attractions in Hermanus. He was made an honorary town crier of Britain on invitation to attend an annual town criers’ competition in Topsham.
Look out for the Hermanus whale crier every day from June to December as he does his rounds between 10am and 4pm.
Stay overnight in Hermanus
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