16 July 2012 by Julienne du Toit

The whale-watching cliff paths of Hermanus

Where else in the world do you get to meander through flowers and along a glorious coastline to see whales for free? But the shoreline at Hermanus offers even more.

People rave about the splendid views of whales from the cliff paths of Hermanus, and quite rightly so.

From August through November, this is 1 of the greatest free shows on Earth. You get to stretch your legs and also see whales mating, playing with their calves and generally having an exuberantly good time, sometimes only a few metres offshore.

It is a gift to whale lovers from around the world.

But even out of whale season, the cliff paths are quite lovely.

You get to stretch your legs and also see whales mating, playing with their calves and generally having an exuberantly good time, sometimes only a few metres offshore.

Walking among fynbos neatly combed and pruned by the sea winds, there is so much life. The iridescent feathers of sunbirds flash among the Cape honeysuckle flowers. Francolins putter around in the open areas, running only a few metres away when approached, then stopping and watching you with obvious curiosity. 

Dassies (rock hyraxes) thrive here, and you’ll often see them crossing the paths and then hiding in the vegetation to watch you pass. Mongooses too.

In July there are few whales, but the early spring flowers are starting to dance: blue felicia daises, yellow bietou daisies, bright cobra lilies and crimson ground aloes against a backdrop of orange and grey lichen on the sandstone.

You pass in front of beach houses worth millions and gaze down on tidal pools and gullies, the wide sweep of Walker Bay and the dramatic dark mountains that run parallel to the coastline.

You rest on benches that are often dedicated to those who loved these views. And, like us, you may have the very good luck of seeing 1 of the 1st whales of the season blow a V-shaped salute and a wave a languid giant flipper.

Category: Attractions


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