Hermanus is one of South Africa’s most popular and easily accessible beach escapes, at just 1.5 hours away from the city of Cape Town. This quaint small town throbs with activity over the summer season, as visitors pour into its numerous restaurants, bars, wineries, coffee shops and outdoor attractions.
Though Hermanus is widely known for pricey excursions such as whale-watching and shark cage diving, there are also options for those on a budget. Here’s a list of eight free things to do in Hermanus over the summer holidays.
Hikes and walks: Hermanus offers visitors a number of enticing, world-renowned hikes and walks, from within the bounds of nature reserves, through to cliff paths. Experience the beauty of the popular Cliff Path trail spanning 12km, beach walks along Grotto, and in Fernkloof and Vogelgat nature reserves.
Mountain Biking: Explore the 17km circular trail in Fernkloof Nature Reserve for an unforgettable mountain bike experience.
Swimming: Hermanus boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, so what better way to spend your time there than on one of them? Blue Flag status Grotto Beach is perfect for swimming, tanning, walking, picnicking and lazing on. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see and is a must for all visitors to the town.
Vintage films at Romantiques: Watch authentic vintage films in an olde world tiny cinema at the antique shop, Romantiques, in the centre of town. Patrons are invited to view films on a donation basis, while 1950’s themed cinema snacks are sold at the entrance to the cinema. Treat yourself to R5 brown bags filled with vintage candies and sugary delights and enjoy 2 hours of reel-to-reel old school films. Expect everything, from James Bond through to Marilyn Monroe. Romantiques lists the films they will be showing a month ahead of time.
Kayaking and canoeing: Have fun paddling in the warm waters of the lagoon mouth if you have your own canoes or kayaks. The lagoon strip between Hermanus and Stanford has to be one of the most beautiful strips of lagoon on earth, so make the best of it and bring the whole family, pack a picnic, plenty of protection from the sun and water and head off on your own lagoon adventure for the day.
Markets: spend the morning experiencing local foodie goodness at one of the many markets in the Hermanus area.
- Farmer’s Market – Cricket Field (08h00 – 13h30) Saturday. One of the most popular gathering spots in Hermanus on a Saturday, this market offers everything you could want.
- Market Square – Central Hermanus (09h00 – 14h00) 7 days a week. Clothing, African collectables, jewellery and more.
- Hermanuspietersfontein Market—Hemel-en-Aarde Village (08h00 – 14h00) Saturday. This classy market celebrates the best artisanal foods and wines produced in the area and is an absolute must for foodies and those who love excellent quality wine.
Barbecue on the beach: Grotto beach offers and handful of dedicated barbecue spots on the lagoon mouth end of the beach but be sure to get there early because they’re nabbed early, no matter what the weather. Enjoy exquisite views over the beach as you make a feast and have fun with family and friends.
Whale-watching: Whale-watching puts this town on the map, and it actually doesn’t have to be pricey. You can spot whales right from the shore, if you have patience and a good pair of binoculars: Southern Right whales from July to November, humpbacks between May to December, and Bryde’s whales all year round.