Hermanus Tourist Attractions
Hermanus is a popular holiday resort on the Atlantic, 120km/75mi east of Cape Town. During the main season (December and January) the population of the town is doubled by an influx of holidaymakers and it is practically impossible to find a room free.
Hermanus's great attractions are the beautiful sandy beaches to the east of the town and the facilities for all kinds of water sports. The coastal waters, in which some record catches have been made, attract numbers of anglers, and the fishing industry ranks along with tourism as a major source of income.The town takes its name from an itinerant Dutch teacher named Hermanus Pieters who, with his flock of sheep, encamped at a nearby spring in 1830. The original name of the place, Hermanuspietersfontein, was, fortunately, shortened when it gained the status of a town in 1904.The beginnings of tourism in Hermanus date back to the 19th C: the town's first hotel was opened in 1891, and holiday homes began to be built round the harbor in the early years of the 20th C.Hermanus consists of a seemingly endless succession of holiday and weekend houses. The heart of the town, however, round the harbor, is quite small. In this area there are a number of restored fishermen's houses, now occupied by restaurants, bars and shops.A good general impression of Hermanus can be had from the 10km/6mi long Cliff Path which runs from the New Harbour to Grotto Beach. Between June and November there are good prospects of seeing whales close inshore.
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Fernkloof Nature Reserve
On the northeastern outskirts of Hermanus, centered on the Mossel River, is Fernkloof Nature Reserve (area 1,446ha/3,572ac), which also takes in the Platberg, a hill to the north. Ranging in height between 63m/207ft and 842m/2,763ft, the reserve presents an interesting cross-section of the different types of fynbos vegetation and protea species. There are over 40 different Erica species, offering a succession of flower throughout the year. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded here, including a pair of crowned eagles which bred in the reserve. The visitor center, 500m/550yd from the entrance to the reserve, is the starting-point of a 40km/25mi long hiking trail running through the whole of the reserve (picnic areas).
Old Harbor Museum
The Old Harbour Museum has a large collection of material on the history of fishing and whaling in Hermanus, as well as a number of old fishing boats (restored) in use between 1855 and 1961.The museum also has a collection of photographs, housed in the Old Schoolhouse in Market Square.