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Hermanus

The small town of Hermanus, east of Cape Town on the southern coast, is predominantly known for its amazing whale-watching. The season runs between the months of June and November, when hundreds of Bryde’s, Humpback and Southern Right Whales come to Walker Bay during their migration. From the comfort of the beach you can watch the incredible spectacle of whales playing and frolicking in the water right before your eyes. There is also a beautiful hike up to the cliffs and along the ‘Whale Walk’ which offers a better view of these magnificent mammals. Boat cruises are also available where one can experience amazing sightings of the whales and other marine wildlife such as penguins, seals and dolphins.

At the end of September, Hermanus hosts an annual whale festival in celebration of their return to mate and calve in these waters. Eco tourism is at the core of this event, with a strong focus on education and environmentally responsible activities. The open-air museum is open 24 hours a day with boats, the old sea wall, brine tanks and "bokkom" stands on display, as well as exhibitions on natural history showcasing the local cultural history.

The area around Hermanus is known for its natural beauty and it is part of the fynbos – the Capes floral kingdom which is more botanically diverse than the Amazon. Over 9,000 plant species are found in the fynbos and the majority are endemic. There are several nature reserves within close proximity and leading luxury eco-lodges such as the wonderful Grootbos that offers unique activities such as Botanical safaris, horse riding and quad biking, making this the perfect location for both nature lovers and families alike. The nearby Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven on Earth) wine route is also gaining fame for its excellent white wines including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It is becoming a hotspot for foodies and the superb local restaurants offer world class dining and a magnificent array of wines, with spectacular views of over the valley.

Hermanus itself is home to some fantastic luxury hotels and in-between whale watching and cooling off in the natural tidal pool, the town also has a plethora of interiors shops where you can pick up some Afro-chic hardware and English-inspired fabrics as mementos of your trip.

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ilaire Belloc

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