Whale watching in Hermanus

Whale watching in Hermanus

Day 6: Betty´s Bay and Whale Watching in Hermanus

The whale watching in Hermanus is our final destination today, after enjoying the routes through Cape Town in one day and Cape Town in two days and an amazing tour of the places to see in the Cape Peninsula, with What can we say, we have started the trip to South Africa in 25 days in the best possible way, although before this encounter with the whales, we are going to know another of the essential places to see in South Africa, which is none other than the penguin colony Betty’s Bay.

We have breakfast at 6:30 in the morning in the lounge of the Circa Luxury Apartment Hotel, our accommodation in Cape Town these days, to take the rental car in South Africa at 7 o’clock and punctually make our way to this first point on the route of today, it is about 100 kilometers from Cape Town and an hour and a quarter drive.

If you are going to do this route from Cape Town to Betty´s Bay, we advise you to leave Cape Town by the N2 connecting with the R44, instead of doing all the way along this road. In this way you will be able to travel the first section of the whale route going along the coast, having the possibility of stopping at different viewpoints and, if you are lucky, start watching whales before reaching Hermanus, since this area of ​​the coast, from June to November, receives these incredible animals.

In our case it seems that luck is not on our side and we did not get to see any whales, something that makes us go with butterflies in our stomachs and some fear, hoping that whale watching in Hermanus is possible and we will not stay with the desire to enjoy this incredible animal.

We arrive at Betty’s Bay when it is 9:15 in the morning, leaving the rental car directly in the parking lot enabled for it and we go to the lockers where we pay

Betty’s Bay

Betty’s Bay is a pleasant town located in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, known especially for locating the Stony Point penguin colony, one of the four colonies in South Africa, which was declared a nature reserve in July 2002.
Since then This colony has grown a lot due to the care they receive and their greater reproduction.
In addition to the penguins, in Betty’s Bay, you can see three species of cormorants, Hartlaub’s gulls, which feed in the colony and numerous dassies, which can be seen among the rocks.

From our visit, something that we highlight is that it is done entirely through walkways, so you cannot touch the penguins or the rest of the animals, that the entire environment is very well cared for and that the work we see from the volunteers in the time that we are, he is incredibly attentive to animals, something we have to say, we especially like it.

Betty’s Bay
Betty’s Bay
Catwalks in Betty’s Bay

Tips for visiting Betty´s Bay

  • The schedule is from 8 am to 5 pm (last entry at 4 pm)
  • The price is R20 per person and the Wild Card is not valid.
  • The duration of the visit, although it depends on the stops you make, is approximately one hour, making it easy and taking photos.
  • The best time to come is in the afternoon, as it is the time when the penguins return from going fishing in the sea.
  • Always respect the rules: not feeding the animals, not disturbing them or not touching them is the main thing and although we understand that this is something that should be common sense, it is worth remembering it.


Betty’s Bay


Betty´s Bay penguin colony

After the experience we have to say that we believe that Betty’s Bay is totally recommended, even if you have been to Boulders Beach, since these can be seen in a more responsible way, since you cannot approach them on the catwalk and in our, In any case, we have seen a colony much larger than the one we saw on the beach. 

Betty’s Bay

A few minutes past 10 in the morning, after an hour with the penguins, when we continue with today’s route, now heading towards Hermanus, the place where we hope to see whales in South Africa, one of the dreams of this trip, which we hope to be able to complete in a few hours, where we arrive around 11 in the morning after 50 kilometers of travel, going directly to Hermanus Backpackers & Budget Accommodation, our accommodation in Hermanus tonight, where we leave our luggage and go straight, camera in hand, in search of the long-awaited whale watching in Hermanus.

Map of today’s route through Betty’s Bay and Hermanus

We leave you a map with the stops of today’s route in Betty’s Bay, to see penguins and Hermanus for whale watching.

And it happens. We do not need more than 5 minutes, the time it took us to reach the coast from our hotel, to see the first whale in the distance and with it, let out a cry and feel such emotion that we are not aware that it is also that we have just seen, right next to it there are several more, we have 10 who play, leave and enter the sea and show their tail just a few meters from the coast, giving us one of the most incredible moments of the trip.

Whale watching in Hermanus
Whale watching in Hermanus

Whale watching in Hermanus

Located about 120 kilometers from Cape Town, on a truly incredible stretch of coastline, we find Hermanus, a charming little town, known worldwide for being one of the best places in the world to watch whales, even from the coast.
Between the months of June to November, southern right whales settle in this bay for months to mate, give birth and feed, in waters very rich in plankton, giving an incredible spectacle to travelers who come here in search of one of the most incredible moments of nature.

Whales in Hermanus
Whales in Hermanus

It must be taken into account that the whales, during this time, can be seen along the entire coast, although the sighting in Hermanus is especially known because in this town they come very close to the coast, they are usually seen in greater numbers and at a short distance, in many cases less than 20 meters, so this has become an essential stop for any lover or not, of nature and these beautiful animals.

At this point, we want to highlight that our experience at Hermanus has been truly incredible. We can say that we have seen more than 50 whales in the morning that we have been touring the coast of the town, some closer than others, but always visible without the need for binoculars.

Whales in Hermanus

Places for whale watching in Hermanus

Although they can be seen along the entire coast, as we mentioned previously, in Hermanus there are two duly marked trails, where you can see whales on a regular basis, within the time when they approach these coasts and that we believe, they are the most indicated to have an encounter with these incredible animals.

Trail 1

This is the first of the trails that we advise you to follow, especially if you are staying in the same hotel as us. It is located about 500 meters away and runs along the coast until it reaches Puerto Nuevo, where most whale watching tours depart in Hermanus.
This trail is just over 2 kilometers long, but if you don’t have time or don’t want to do it completely, you can only do part of it, since the whales tend to be along the entire coast.
This is the least crowded since it is farthest from the most central area of ​​the town so you can be calmer and enjoy this incredible spectacle of nature for yourself.

Trail 1 Hermanus

Whale in Hermanus

Trail 2

This trail of just over 1 kilometer, runs along the coast closest to the center of Hermanus and being much closer to the road, it is much more crowded than the previous one. Despite that, we recommend doing it, since in many of the points it is very close to the coast, something that allows you to see whales much closer and more clearly.
If like us, you arrive at Hermanus in the morning, it is best to do trail 1 first and then do trail 2 and finish in the center of Hermanus for lunch.


Trail 2 Hermanus

We recommend you to go through both trails since it will not take you long and they are very easy to travel. In both, you will find benches where you can rest, viewpoints on rocky headlands, where you can get closer to the sea, and all kinds of signs and explanations of marine life.

Tips for whale watching in Hermanus

  • The most important thing is to know that the whale season in Hermanus runs from June to the beginning of November, the first half of October being a highly recommended period, at which time the temperature is mild since winter has passed but it has not yet arrived. summer.
  • Despite the fact that in most cases the whales can be seen with the naked eye, it is highly recommended to have binoculars, as this way you will be able to see many more details and in case one is jumping in the distance, you can see it.
  • Another recommendation for whale watching in South Africa is to have a lens indicated for nature photography. We carry a Fujinon 100-400 with the Fujifilm XT2 that accompanies us on trips and after the experience, we couldn’t be happier.
  • As we have mentioned, we have been very lucky and have seen whales in Hermanus from minute one, but this is not always the case, so we recommend you to be patient and above all, not to get overwhelmed if you do not see at first. The incredible thing about this place is discovering it little by little, sipping it, and waiting for the moment to come.
  • Our recommendation is to dedicate a full day to Hermanus, in order to be able to do both trails and a boat excursion, either in the afternoon or in the morning, at sunrise, as we have done.
Whale watching in Hermanus
  • Whether you do the trails or not. Whether you see whales or not. Be it further or closer, after our experience we highly recommend that you do a whale watching tour. In Hermanus there are 4 companies that carry out this service, all of them promote responsible tourism and do not come within meters of what is established from the whales, in addition to not chasing them at any time, so we believe that it is a unique moment to enjoy this incredible spectacle of nature.
    Although you can book it directly at the companies or through your accommodation, it is important to know that sometimes places are sold out quickly, as has happened to us, so it is interesting to have the reservation made in advance.
    One of the options is this tour from Hermanusor this one stops from Cape Town to see whales in one day.

It is 1 o’clock in the afternoon, after a little more than two hours touring the coast enjoying whale watching in Hermanus, when we decide that the time has come to make a technical stop to eat so we approach the most central area of ​​the town, to one of the most recommended restaurants other than Pearl Tree, where we order a plate of squid, a special hamburger plus beer, soda, dessert and two coffees for R392 that we have to confess, they fit us wonderfully.

We finished eating at 2 in the afternoon and although we wanted to take a few minutes to relax, the nerves of continuing with the whale watching in Hermanus, make us return to the Hermanus Backpackers & Budget Accommodation to check-in since before we have not yet Our room was ready to try and book a whale watching tour from a boat at 3 PM for R700 per person.

Unfortunately, having waited so long and not having it booked in advance, they tell us that there are no more places for 3 in the afternoon, something that we are not going to lie to you, it leaves us crushed enough to comment to the owner of the accommodation if You can give us some other solution that does not involve wasting a lot of time tomorrow since the planning we have is also tight and we cannot take many hours away from you.
After several calls, he gets us a place on a small boat, which is what we wanted for 6:30 in the morning, coinciding with sunrise and also the time of day when the sea is calmer, something which is impossible to resist and that we booked after paying R700 per person.

With a smile from ear to ear and now calm for having the whale watching excursion in Hermanus already closed, we stayed in the room to rest for a while and work for a few hours and when it is 4 in the afternoon, go back to trail 1, which we have a few minutes from our hotel, where we find a whale with its calf less than 20 meters from the coast, which gives us one of the most incredible experiences we have ever had. And it is that hearing the sound and seeing them so close, it really is something impossible to explain in words from what we can already say, this South Africa has been worth it for free. 

Whales in South Africa

After two spellbound hours, touring the Hermanus coast again, now dotted with fewer whales than this morning, when we decided to go to an ice cream parlor in the most central area of ​​Hermanus, where we had lunch and a coffee before returning to Hermanus Backpackers & Budget Accommodation, take advantage of getting to know a little of Hermanus, getting lost in its western-style streets, in which a total tourist atmosphere reigns until 5-6 in the afternoon, when the shop closes and only restaurants and bars are open, making Hermanus a locality in which the whales at that time go into the background.

Whale Watching Tour in Hermanus

Although we did this tour the next day first thing in the morning, as we have commented, since we ran out of places for the afternoon tour due to not having booked, we wanted to include our experience today so that you can have all the information about whale watching in Hermanus in the same article.

  • As we have already commented on several occasions in this post, there are 4 companies that carry out the whale watching excursion in Hermanus and all of them are within what we know as responsible tourism.
  • Most of the whale watching companies in Hermanus depart from Puerto Nuevo, located about 3 kilometers from the city center. You can get there perfectly by car and leave it in the parking lot while you go on the excursion.
  • Each of them has a different schedule, although the most common are 8-9 in the morning, 11 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. In our case, we imagine that because it is high season, they offer us a tour at 6:30 in the morning, coinciding with sunrise, which we have to say, after the experience, it is highly recommended.
  • The tour lasts between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the whale sightings or how far the boat has to go to see them.
Whale Watching Tour in Hermanus
Whale Watching Tour in Hermanus
  • Whatever time you choose to do the whale watching excursion, bring some warm clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen, as both the air and the sun can be annoying.
  • Once the tour is over, back to Hermanus, they usually give a drink and a snack included in the price.
  • Don’t forget your camera and binoculars.
  • And most importantly, enjoy it to the fullest! Whale watching in Hermanus is one of the most incredible experiences in the world.

Map of today’s route for whale watching in Hermanus

We leave you a map with today’s points for whale watching in Hermanus, one of the most incredible experiences that we have been lucky enough to live on our trips, our accommodation, the port, and the restaurant.

Day 5: Cape Town in 2 days: Table Mountain, Waterfront and Robben Island

Day 7: What to see on the Garden Route: Cape Agulhas, De Hoop Nature Reserve

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