Tag Archives: hermanus

Pirate Golf at Benguela Cove in Bot River (2018-11-10) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 30 AUG 2019

Across the water from the famed golfing Arabella Country Estate, lying on the opposite bank of the Bot River Lagoon, is the luxury Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate. Established in 2003, this lush Walker Bay farm has been developed to house a state of the art winery, luxury lifestyle estate, numerous restaurants, productive olive groves, and a vineyard that can boast about being one of the closest vineyards to the sea!

Which is probably then why you might just be surprised to learn that nowadays you can even play a fun round of putt putt there.

Because adults can’t have all the fun, last year saw Benguela Cove lift the wraps off of Benguela Cove Pirate Adventure Golf, a pirate-themed mini golf (or adventure golf) course aimed squarely at families with kids. A great strategy move on the part of the wine estate of course, but as a parent with two young kids who is always on the lookout for fun family activities, definitely one that is very much appreciated!

The eighteen hole course is standard putt putt fun, suitable for all ages and with pleasingly very few frustrating holes – you know, the ones that often leave kids in tears. Everything from entrance to score card is pirate themed and the course is dotted with pirate mannequins (even a Jack Sparrow when copyright lawyers aren’t looking) and other fun pirate props.

There is a small pirate-themed restaurant aimed at kids onsite (Blackbeard’s Diner), and as an added bonus, a colourful splash pad dubbed Benguela Splash next door, which boasts a variety of fun water spraying, squirting and dumping amusements. (They were still busy installing this when we visited late last year).

Pirate themed putt putt? Of course it’s great silly fun!

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Whale Watching from the cliffs of Hermanus (2018-08-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 JUN 2019

As my regular readers would by now very much know, Chantelle absolutely loves whale watching and given our general proximity to South Africa’s best land based whale viewing area, i.e. Hermanus, we always tend to make at least one trip each and every Walker Bay whale watching season.

Last year August saw us take a drive down to a very windy Hermanus for a spot of Southern Right whale watching, and although the gusty conditions ruled out a walk up Hoy’s Koppie, it didn’t seem to bother the whales at all as we enjoyed a fabulous day of watching whales cavort around in the windswept surf.

For a change we did most of our whale watching to the east of the Cliff Tops Piazza, favouring spots along the Hermanus Cliff Path like Sieverspunt, Kwaaiwater, Skulpiesbaai, Langbaai, Kammabaai and Voëlklip Beach. The adverse wind conditions meant that we weren’t jostling through crowds of fellow whale watchers, making for a whale watching expedition that felt leisurely and not people pressured at all.

That said, the delightful Aromatish Cafe and Bakery still proved to be way too popular for us to grab a seat (so we settled for a cup of coffee at the pleasant enough Groves Cafe instead). Pleasingly, Chantelle also relented and sacrificed some of her whale watching time to allow me the opportunity of popping my head into the Old Harbour Museum, the Whale House Museum, and the De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum. (All things that have for long been on my list of getting around to).

Basically, a little bit of something for everyone but the kids then.

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The Whale Museum in Hermanus (2018-08-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 12 JUN 2019

The Whale Museum, or more accurately, the Whale House Museum can be located within the historic Fisherman’s Village section (right next to De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum) of the Old Harbour Museum complex in Hermanus.

By the early 1990’s, whales had become the primary tourist attraction for this popular coastal town, and as such it was suggested that Hermanus establish a whale museum with the mission of informing and educating both local and international visitors alike. Built up over 3 distinct phases, the main hall (which was completed in 1998) is the museum’s centerpiece, now dominated by the suspended skeleton of a young female Southern Right whale that had washed ashore at nearby Onrus River in 2003.

With a strong focus on digital displays with audio/visual interactions, the Whale House Museum is a treasure trove of cetacean information and although not a large space by any means, it provides a good learning experience for any youngsters stepping through its doors.

There is a also a very interesting mini-sub lounging on its floor (a favourite with the girls) and naturally, there were plenty of photos taken on the day:

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The Old Harbour Museum in Hermanus (2018-08-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 15 MAR 2019

Hermanus is just such a lovely coastal town to visit. The allure of the visiting whales during whale season, the excellent beaches, the surrounding mountains, the breathtaking cliff path – it really isn’t difficult to understand just why Hermanus has exploded into the tourist friendly hub that it now finds itself being. Of course, the historic and stories of old shouldn’t be lost, and one such place attempting to preserve some of this former fishing town’s history is the Old Harbour Museum.

The museum consists primarily of two sections, the historical Old Fishing Harbour and Fisherman’s Village, the latter being home to De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum and the Whale House Museum.

The old harbour itself (or “Visbaai” as it was known back in the day) is preserved as an open air museum, with a couple of relics from a bygone era still visible along the stone and concrete walls of the structure. There is also the War Memorial at its entrance, and tucked into one of the old fisherman’s shacks is the Old Harbour Indoor Museum which displays an eclectic mix of items used by the local fishing industry both present and past, as well as some items from the Selkirk Collection.

That said, in all honesty I would have to say that the indoor museum has obviously seen much better days and is probably very much in need of better funding – though nevertheless makes for an interesting enough stop if you have some time to kill and nothing else left to see. (Admittedly, the kids don’t agree with me on this one).

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Coffee and Sandwiches at Groves Cafe in Hermanus (2018-08-25) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 16 FEB 2019

After a day spent bay hopping around Hermanus to watch the whales frolic and play, as well a stint in a museum or two, we rounded off our Overstrand visit with a cup of cofee and something light to eat at Groves Cafe.

Situated in the heart of the touristy center of Hermanus, Groves is a small coffee shop and bistro that excels in providing excellent coffee, a good selection of craft beers, and light meals – complemented of course with a great view over the bay.

Simple, delicious, and a great way to get off our feet for a short while.

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The De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum in Hermanus (2018-08-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 10 FEB 2019

Hermanus, or Hermanuspietersfontein as it was known before the postmaster shortened the name to make it more practical, is of course an exceptionally popular South African coastal town that is a must for whale watchers, beach lovers, and people who want to escape to the sea. It used to also be quite the fishing town, and if you head over to the Fisherman’s Village complex belonging to the Old Harbour Museum, you’ll come across a small house marked as the De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum.

(Incidentally, this house, which is right next to the Whale Museum, is actually the old Dutch Reform Sunday School house, which was broken up into numbered stones, moved across to the current site, and then rebuilt by the museum curator and his team.)

The small museum houses a nice collection of photographs detailing old Hermanus, with some of the pictures dating as far back as the beginning of the last century. A number of photos in the exhibit are printed from the glass negatives taken by famed photographer T.D. Ravenscroft. The antique furniture displayed in the cottage belong to Will Paterson, son of Scotty Paterson (one of the founders of Hermanus), and a leading figure in Hermanus at the turn of the last century.

Now granted there are hardly enough photos here to label this post as one of my normal photo gallery outings, but that is only because the museum made if very clear that the taking of photos was not particularly welcome.

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Following the Cliff Path of the Hermanus Biodiversity Walk (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 09 MAY 2018

Hermanus is probably the best place for land based whale watching in the Western Cape (which is why we find ourselves visiting at least once a year), and its beautifully maintained Cliff Path makes this relaxing activity all that more better.

Although originally constructed by the Hermanus Botanical Society, these days the path is cared for by the volunteer Cliff Path Management Group (CPMG), who have done a fantastic job in improving, making accessible, and enhancing the walkway such that it remains one of the more popular Hermanus tourist attractions.

Wedged between the Kleinriviersberg mountain range in the north and the broad expanse of Walker Bay to the south, the official walkway meanders for almost eleven kilometres along Hermanus’ rugged and beautiful coastline, stretching from the New Harbour in the west and snaking all the way through to the estuary at the mouth of the Klein River in the east.

In addition to being great for whale watching, the path is super interesting for nature lovers as well, winding through a diversity of vegetation types (complemented by some informative signage along the Biodiversity Walk stretch). It takes you past a number of fascinating points of interest, including both the historic Old and New harbours, as well as the village market square. Follow it for long enough and near the wooden footbridge at the mouth of the Mossel River, you’ll even find signs depicting the graves of two southern right whales that beached at that point!

Beyond the river mouth, the path continues around the Langbaai bathing beach, on to the Kammabaai and Voëlklip beaches and right up to the magnificent main Grotto beach – which itself sweeps for nineteen kilometers around Walker Bay to De Kelders and Gansbaai!

Last year August saw us in town for a spot of whale watching (and of course lunch), and naturally we took the time to stroll a small section of this brilliant walkway on the day. It will still be a few years until we can walk the whole thing in one go (the girls moan far too much at the prospect of walking any real sort of distance at the moment), but once everyone is ready (i.e. a little more grown up) it is definitely something I’m going to make us do!

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Anyway, Hermanus always makes for a good day trip, and seeing as whale season is soon upon us once again, I guess we’ll be back in the area sooner than later…

Related Link: Hermanus Cliff Path | Hermanus

From Whale Watching to Fick’s Pool in Hermanus (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 APR 2018

There is a reason why Hermanus is so popular come whale season time in Walker Bay – its elevated seaside cliffs give the absolute best vantage point to watch the whales cavort in the waters down below.

Now while I’m not a massive whale watching fan, Chantelle is, and thus she absolutely loves our infrequent trips to the whale watching capital of the Western Cape – but only if there are whales to be spotted of course! ;)

Last year August saw us take an impromptu drive through to Hermanus for a spot of Southern Right Whale watching, which turned out to be a fortuitous day to pick thanks to the fact that there was in the end plenty of activity down in the water to be seen.

We started our expedition up on top of the cliffs (across from the Cliff Tops Piazza), which gave us a particularly good view over the bay for a minimal amount of effort.

Amazingly, neither of the girls were scared or overly cautious about being up so high, leading to a rather nice and relaxed bit of time spent staring out over the ocean.

The spot where we had climbed up turned out to be right alongside Fick’s Pool, one of the older tidal pools in Hermanus and one that back in the day used to very much be the place to be seen if you were looking for some local fun as a teenager.

These days this quite well protected, small tidal pool is particularly popular for families with kids who want to splash about but who don’t feel like getting sea sand shoved up every nook and cranny.

Only one problem though – this wasn’t summer and we weren’t here to get wet!

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From Fick’s Pool we then made our way over the nearby Cliff Tops biodiversity path before ending up, ice cream in hand, watching whales from the piazza.

Perfect way to spend a whale watching day in Hermanus then.

Related Link: Fick’s Pool | Hermanus

Whale Watching from the Cliff Tops Piazza in Hermanus (2017-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 30 MAR 2018

October 2005 saw the official opening of the Cliff Tops Piazza in Hermanus, a bustling central node for the town and one of the most perfect spots to sit, ice cream or coffee in hand, and watch whales come whale watching season in Walker Bay.

In fact, the Cliff Tops site has historically always been a traditional centre of Hermanus, a town that may have started out as a simple fishing village back in the early 1900’s, but which these days is very much the tourism giant of the Overstrand region.

Now while the piazza area is indeed great as a node for the all shops, restaurants and bars inhabiting it, I’m far more smitten with the lush green amphitheatre sprawled out in front of it, and thanks to the bribery of ice cream cones in their hands, I suspect my two small girls now rather agree with me.

Perfect spot to stretch out, take things slow, people watch, and of course admire the beautiful landscape all around you.

Mind you, our traditional walk to the Cliff Tops site is pretty nice as well. Always love all the public art installations (though admittedly this current batch on display isn’t exactly my favourite).

In terms of Southern Right Whale spotting for this particular day that we visited back in August last year, plenty of whales were out to put on a show in the bay – much to the delight of Chantelle who never quite seems to tire of watching whales wallow in water.

As for the girls, as always they were far more enthralled with the jungle gym and the furry dassies that run around everywhere than with boring old art, people on the sea in bright yellow kayaks, or the occassional flip of a whale tail out in the distance.

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Interestingly enough, I have never actually strolled down to the Old Harbour, nor paid a visit to the Whale Museum. I suspect both of these will happen when I one day lose my tail…

(Or I bribe it with something bright and shiny, or sweet and melty.) [Update: I did eventually get to visit the Whale House Museum in 2018]

Related Link: Cliff Tops Piazza | Hermanus