Hermanus – Western Cape, South Africa

The Coast of Whales

Other bays along the coastline of South Africa’s Western Cape attract migrating whales, but most of them return yearly to the waters of Walker Bay and the coastal town of Hermanus. The months of June to November see hundreds of courting, mating, and calving whales, particularly the southern right whale, with a few Bryde’s and humpbacks thrown in for good measure.

Hermanus sits atop a ledge where a 7-mile cliff walk is the prime vantage point for whale-watching; a roaming whale-crier, complete with sandwich board and bullhorn, keeps you apprised of approaching activity. Even on a rare whaleless day, you might be happily compensated with white sharks, jackass penguins, and seals in a natu­rally beautiful setting. Nearby, Grootbos Lodge offers the area’s loveliest stay.

This privately owned 295-acre nature reserve gives a limited number of guests the chance to meander on horseback or on foot over hills draped with wild lilies and fynbos, the predominant flora of the Cape, and through milkwood forests full of bird life. The young European owner and man­ager finds time to excel as a chef as well, and arranges beach barbecues along the coastline, where sunset is a bonus.

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