Scenic Coastal Route
Leave from Cape Town
For this tour, we depart from the Cape Town City Centre at around 08:30 am. Cape Town is a dynamic and beautiful city that is consistently named as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Filled with great sights, top class restaurants and friendly people; a visit to this picturesque city is infinitely memorable.
Cape Town’s distinctive architecture is a legacy from the many people and cultures who have settled here over the past few centuries. As we make our way through town you might notice an unusual gable design on many of the buildings, this was brought into the Cape by the early Dutch settlers of the 1600 and 1700’s.
We will head out of town on the N2 Highway.
Drive over Sir Lowry’s Pass
The N2 winds its’ way past the verdant Cape Winelands and then onto the flat plains of Somerset West. The road then rises to make its way through Sir Lowry’s Pass; a scenic mountain pass that crosses the Hottentots-Holland Range. At the start of the pass you can look back for a panoramic view at the low-lying area that stretches out towards Cape Town.
Over the mountains, we split off from the N2. The road steadily makes it way down to the coast.
Arrive at Hermanus
Nestled between the mountains and the sea, Hermanus is a charming hamlet whose pristine beaches and ‘champagne air’ have been delighting visitors for years. Along with these spectacular attractions, Hermanus is most famous for the incredible Southern Right Whales that come into the bay seeking sanctuary in the cold winter months. From the shore you can see these gentle giants at play in the water; Hermanus is renowned for offering the best shore-based whale watching in the world.
Aside from the awesome natural attractions Hermanus is filled with fantastic restaurants and fabulous boutique shops. The size of the town makes it perfect to be explored on a short walking tour. Small picturesque cliffs that edge Hermanus are threaded with paths; perfect for getting a clear view of the surrounding waters.
Southern Right Whale
The Southern Right Whale is a baleen whale that can grow up to 15 meters in length and weigh up to 47 tonnes. They are closely related to, and indistinguishable from, North Atlantic and North Pacific right whales; however they are unable to cross the warm equatorial waters and interact with other subspecies.
The whales spend the summer months in the far Southern Ocean and migrate northwards in the winter. More than 100 whales visit the Hermanus area during this time. Whale watchers might see behaviour unique to the Southern Right Whale known as “sailing”. They use their elevated flukes to catch the wind; it is thought to be a form of playing for them.
In Hermanus you can choose to either enjoy a boat based whale watching excursion (at own account) or to tour the town.
Hermanus is one of the most picturesque towns in the country and is blessed with spectacular natural views of the ocean and mountains. Your guide will take you on a panoramic drive along Rotary Way, which offers fantastic views across Hermanus and Walker Bay.
We will explore the heart and centre of Hermanus and you can discover the fascinating history of this town.
Get up close to the Giants of the Sea
An incredible opportunity to get within meters of the Southern Right Whales, this boat based activity will take you into the waters of Walkers Bay. Boat excursions follow a strict set of regulations to ensure they don’t disturb these gentle denizens of the sea. This is an unforgettable encounter, with whales often surfacing within meters of the boat. In addition to the whales; huge schools of dolphins, seals and wide variety of birdlife are also often seen on these trips.
Drive along R44 Coastal Road
The scenic stretch of coast between Hermanus and Somerset West is known as the Cape Whale Coast because of many opportunities for spotting these amazing creatures. Along this pristine stretch are a rustic collection of villages, farms, rivers, bays and coves.
This is a stunning natural area that is a key eco-conservation area. As we travel up this stretch of coast you can relax and enjoy South Africa’s spectacular scenery.
Visit a Penguin Colony
A little way down the coast is the seaside village of Betty’s Bay. Sitting on a narrow strip of land which is sheltered by the Kogelberg Mountains on one side and looking out to the ocean on the other; Betty Bay is home to a thriving fishing community. It also holds one of only three land based penguin colonies in South Africa.
The African Penguin more commonly colonise off-shore islands and are the only species of penguin that breeds in this area of the world. The first nest here was noticed in 1982 and the area was soon fenced off to protect the colony. You will be able to see these enthralling birds at play via a well-constructed wooden walkway. These cheerful and boisterous creatures have been placed on the endangered list after seeing a 90% population decline over the last 60 years.
In addition to the penguins you can also see a large colony of Cape Cormorants who also live in the area. A fantastic interplay of life occurs amidst the rocks and the ocean.
Return to Cape Town
After a day exploring the charming towns and amazing marine life around Cape Town we will return to the city in comfort and style.