Tag Archives: overstrand

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.

A whale of a time was had. (Again, not by the kids. This was definitely more of a mommy and daddy outing through and through.)

Related Link: Hermanus Cliff Path | Hermanus

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:

So a perfect little distraction to slot in on a day filled with actual whale watching then.

Related Link: Whale House Museum | Hermanus

Poached Eggs and Exploring the Beach in Pringle Bay (2018-04-21) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 30 JAN 2019

Upgraded road surface along Clarence Drive, Kogelberg views for days, delicious poached eggs benedict for breakfast from Simply Coffee and then some exploring of the rock pools, dunes and lovely beach of Pringle Bay – now that’s the way to spend a Saturday morning.

Interestingly enough – I am reasonably sure that this was the first time that I had ever actually made the effort to locate Pringle Bay’s beach. Unfortunately for me though, this also just happened to be the end of my trusty Huawei P8’s battery.

Hence the almost complete and utter lack of photos of said beach. Sigh.

Guess it just gives me a reason to head out back that way when I next get the chance.

Related Link: 365 Bistro and Simply Coffee | Clarence Drive | Pringle Bay

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!

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!

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.

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