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HHawston Beach is an immaculate Blue Flag beach destination that combines a range of natural attractions. Here you'll find a white stretch of beach, scenic mountains, a wide range of birdlife, whales and dolphins.
Hawston Beach is found along a stretch of coastline to the west of Cape Town renowned for its whale- and dolphin-spotting opportunities. The little fishing village of Hawston is located en route to Hermanus, between the towns of Fisherhaven and Onrus, in a scenic part of the country known as the Whale Coast. The idyllic Blue Flag beach located here is a secret that the locals are happy to share with those who appreciate the finer things in life.
This Western Cape Blue Flag beach is worth visiting, if not for the swimming (which happens to be some of the safest on this coastline) then for its views of sweeping mountains and the ocean.
Hawston Beach is a great venue for walking but take caution to treat its extensive dune systems with sensitivity and stick to the designated boardwalks. Interpretive signage on the way is helpful in informing visitors about the vegetation and natural resources of this pristine beach.
Facilities alongside this Blue Flag beach include picnic and braai areas, as well as an Olympic-size swimming pool which is open to the public. The beach enjoys the full attention of lifeguards from 1 December to 31 March each year.
Hawston is named for a frequent vacationer to the spot, Charles Haw, who settled in nearby Caledon in the late 1850s. The location, however, has roots that go back to the earliest known settlers in the area – the Khoisan and, a little later, the Griqua. Hawston families record long and proud histories in the vicinity.
This area of the Western Cape offers excellent birdwatching, and one threatened species you might catch sight of here is the black oystercatcher. Between July and December, it's southern right whale season and whale-watching boat trips out of Hermanus tend to make their way to Hawston for some close encounters with the ocean’s largest mammals.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)28 312 2620
How to get here
From Cape Town, follow the R43 over Sir Lowry’s Pass to Grabouw then though to Hermanus – a distance of 120km that will take about 90 minutes by car. Alternatively follow the coastal route along False Bay on the R44 – a similar distance that takes about 2 hours.
Best time to visit
The Cape summer is at its best between November and March.
Things to do
The Hermanus Wine Village purveys wine from over 600 South African wine producers, with 1 600 labels on display. Visit local artists' studios and galleries. Hike in the Groenlandberg, Kogelberg and Fernkloof nature reserves, and watch whales from June to December. Shark cage diving is popular along this coastline. You can also go white water rafting, abseiling and canoeing in the Hangklip-Kleinmond region or fishing in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve.
Tours to do
Harbour, photographic, wine route and fynbos tours. Eco-tours by boat to see whales, seals, dolphins, penguins and seabirds.
Car hire is recommended. There are few metered taxis in Hermanus.
What to pack
Pack your swimsuit, beach towel and sunscreen for swimming at the beach. For whale-watching bring binoculars and a camera.
Where to stay
Choose from guest houses, B&Bs, 5-star hotels or self-catering cottages in the winelands.
What to eat
Fresh crayfish in season, sustainable abalone from the Abagold factory near the New Harbour, and seasonal linefish. Try stoneground bread from the Camphill bakery, handcrafted charcuterie from Richard Bosman, Truckles cheese and Von Geusau chocolates.
The Hermanus Whale Festival in September and the Hermanus Food and Wine Festival, usually in October.
The region is noted for its award-winning pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc wines. Local artwork and gifts and crafts from the Hemel-en-Aarde Craft Village.