01/12/2017 16:38 SAST | Updated 01/12/2017 16:52 SAST

Hermanus -- More Than Just Whales

Hermanus has been rated one of the top 12 spots in the world for viewing the giants of the ocean, whales. But what else does it have to offer?

Brand Studio.24
This view could instantly increase your quality of life...

Capitec Bank has launched its #LiveBetter campaign, which encourages people to explore new and unexpected places in their cities and just 120 km from Cape Town, Hermanus is the perfect picturesque weekend escape from the city, with all the charm of a small seaside town. Capitec clients can also enjoy a 10% discount when booking 2 nights or more at the Hermanus Guest House and paying with a Capitec card until the end of December.

Hermanus is known best for incredible close whale viewing – which is undeniably spectacular, with the town's advantage of being perched on low cliffs around the deep Walker Bay, it has been rated one of the top 12 spots in the world for viewing these giants of the ocean, without even having to set foot on a boat. But even outside of Whale season there is plenty to do in this popular town.

Brand Studio.24

Besides its long stretches of white sandy beaches, Hermanus offers hiking in the beautiful Fernkloof Nature Reserve and extensive cliff-top path walks that follow the coastline offers perfect vantage points for sea air and scenery (whale spotting or not). The nearby Hemel-en-Aarde valley offers fantastic wineries to enjoy and in and around town there's a wide variety of restaurants and coffee shops, art galleries and boutiques including the book lovers dream Hemingway's Bookshop, plus the very popular Sunday morning food & craft market.

Brand Studio.24

It took us less than 2hrs to get through to Hermanus, choosing to take the slightly longer, but stunning coastal route, through Gordan's Bay, Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay and Kleinmond. What a beautiful drive that is.

The road has been in better condition and the area has recently been hit by some huge fires, so in parts, the destruction can be a little overwhelming, but the ocean views and the towering mountain ranges on either side of the road make for a most pleasant experience.

On reaching the town we headed straight to the surrounding beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde valley which boasts a number of award-winning wine farms. It's easy to drive yourself between wine estates with a designated driver or take the extremely fun Hermanus wine hoppers 'safari-style' so that everyone can enjoy the tastings! This valley is known for its breath-taking mountains and views, and the wines have a unique quality due to the clay soil and a cool sea breeze and didn't disappoint.

Our accommodation for the night was the Hermanus Guest House. Brilliantly situated along Marine Drive, a short 10minute walk into the busy part of town (restaurants, pubs and shops). The staff at the guest house were very friendly and gave us a welcome reception, including a complimentary bottle of wine, selection of fruits and a nice slab of Lindt chocolate.

Brand Studio.24

The room which was large and comfortable in the back wing of the guest house, tucked away from the common areas of the dining room, library and lounge. Spacious and beautifully decorated, the open plan room had its own private courtyard as well as access to the guesthouses swimming pool. The sea facing rooms have incredible views that look out over Walker Bay and the beautiful Ficks Tidal Pool, a popular destination for young and old over the summer.

We took an early evening walk along the cliffs into the town for dinner, where we enjoyed a pizza at the trusty old establishment of Rossi's Italian Restaurant, a personal favourite, but if you're looking for local seafood fare Lemon Butta is also a must. After dinner, we took a stroll down to another popular institution - Tapas, to enjoy a nice cold beer and glass of champagne.

Breakfast the next morning was a real treat at the Hermanus Guest House and included a selection of pastries, cheese platters, cold meats and fruit salads, fresh juices. I ordered the English breakfast and it was great, but got food envy when I saw someone's omelette arrive (it looked amazing)! Next time I am having that...

Brand Studio.24

We attempted to walk off breakfast with an easy wonder around the Sunday market, but couldn't resist the delicious smelling coffees and cakes on offer. Continuing the 'foody' Sunday we grabbed a gelato at Gelato Mania as we took a walk through the quaint shops and stores of Hermanus town. Before slowly starting to wind our way home (with a stop at the Houw Hoek farmstall for the flaky, buttery, yumminess of their pies of course!).

24 hours was just enough for us to unwind, marvel at the whales and check out the local wines and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Hermanus Guest House offered our perfect location and springboard for exploring Hermanus and we'll definitely be back – there still so much to explore!