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KKleinmond Beach is a not too far from the seaside town of Hermanus and is known as a premier whale-watching site during whale season. It’s also a favourite with families because of the calm Kleinmond Lagoon where children can paddle and play.
When Kleinmond Beach promises its patrons a ‘whale of a time’ this is no idle boast. This Blue Flag beach, found near the town of Hermanus, is one of the premier whale-watching sites on a coastal stretch famed for its annual parade of these massive animals.
It's not only a great place to spot southern right whales; it also offers acres of sand where holidaymakers can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Whale Coast. Happily, there’s a bit of overlap between whale season (from July to December) and Blue Flag season (from December to March), so those who visit during these months really do get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Conditions at this Western Cape beach can be windy during the summer months. Lifeguards are on duty during Blue Flag season as a precaution if things get rough. If the water does prove a bit too tempestuous for a swim, the wide, sandy beach is wonderful for a brisk walk, while the rocks make great perches for watching the world go by. An added bonus is that the beach is adjacent to Kleinmond Lagoon, a great place for paddling and non-motorised watersports.
Kleinmond owes some of the hike in its international profile to the Arabella Hotel and Spa – an award-winning, super-luxury resort located on an 18-hole championship golf course. It further enjoys the honour of being located in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, the first such reserve to be declared in southern Africa as part of UNESCO's worldwide network. Kogelberg contains thousands of indigenous species of fynbos plants. Each December a Fynbos Festival showcases Kleinmond’s natural abundance.
There is plenty of good accommodation in and around Hermanus, and some good dining too. If you chat up the locals, you will learn of Kleinmond’s intriguing history, populated with pirates, runaway slaves, cattle thieves, 'strandlopers' (beach dwellers) and countless other characters who made their mark along the Whale Coast.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)28 312 2629
How to get here
Kleinmond Beach is situated approximately 100km from Cape Town. Drive out of Cape Town on the N2, over Sir Lowry's Pass and then take the turn-off to Hermanus.
Best time to visit
Each year the Cape puts on its best in terms of weather between November and March. However, if you want to see the whales then visit any time from May to October.
Having your own car to explore the Whale Coast is worth considering and, of course, taking a drive over Sir Lowry's Pass is an unforgettable motoring experience.
Where to stay
There are a number of B&Bs and guest houses in the area, but please make sure you book long in advance for the annual Whale Festival in September as accommodation is at a premium.
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.
Tours to do
Harbour, photographic, wine route and fynbos tours. Eco-tours by boat to see whales, seals, dolphins, penguins and seabirds.
What to eat
The seafood along this coastline is legendary. Platters of prawns, calamari and crayfish are offered at any number of seafood restaurants in the Overberg.
What to pack
Bring binoculars and a camera.
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.