FAMILY FUN IN THE OVERBERG
Whale Watching – and so much more…
Hermanus is of course world-renowned for being one of the best places on earth to admire the majestic Southern Right Whales. Whale watching is therefore a must – but not all there is to do with your family in the area. From penguin spotting and horseback riding, to ziplining, sandboarding and Quad biking – not to forget cheese and wine tastings – the Overberg region is well worth exploring.
The best way to experience an up-close and personal encounter with the ‘gentle giants’ of the ocean is to go on a boat-based whale watching tour with Southern Right Charters. Departing from the New Harbour in Hermanus and operating within the local waters of Walker Bay – one of the best whale watching areas in the world – this is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For land-based whale watching, amble along the famous Cliff Path, a trail that winds its way from New Harbour all the way to the Blue Flag Grotto Beach – a long stretch of beautiful golden sand. Between June and December you can also spot the famous ‘Whale Crier’ in action, who sounds his horn to proclaim the news of the whales’ arrival. The Cliff Path forms part of the 1,800-hectare Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which can be explored walking, running or cycling.
Traveller’s tip: Grotto Beach features a fun play park – perfect for keeping little ones entertained.
If you are in Hermanus in August, you might want to join the Hermanus Kalfiefees, an Afrikaans-centred cultural festival coinciding with the arrival of the whales. Then there’s the famous Hermanus Whale Festival in late September/early October – a celebration of all marine life, the three-day festival is packed with adventure activities, kids entertainment, musical performances and culinary delights.
Those looking for something with more action will enjoy swinging from tree to tree at the Hermanus Tree Top Zipline, or going on a Mountain and Vineyards Quad Bike Drive with SA Forest Adventures. Fun sea-based sports activities meanwhile include Sea Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
Saddle up and experience the magnificent Hemel-en-Aarde Valley on horseback, courtesy of Heaven & Earth Trails. Whether you prefer a slow gaited walk or an adventurous outride, there are a variety of scenic mountain-view trails on offer to suit all levels. En route you will be able to indulge in wine tastings on some of the spectacular wine estates within the valley – several of which also offer special non-alcoholic tastings and pairings for kids.
Traveller’s tip: Start your Hemel-en-Aarde day with breakfast at Plaaskombuis – there’s a kids menu and play area to keep children busy while you enjoy a ‘Breakfast Bunny’!
Betty’s Bay & Kleinmond
Despite Betty’s Bay’s reputation as a tranquil refuge, adrenaline junkies will be excited to hear that the 230-metre sand dune in the area is considered to be one of the best in Africa – and you can ‘ride’ it with SA Forest Adventures. Following a speedy descent, penguin fans should head to the Stony Point Nature Reserve, where they will encounter one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world.
During the summer months, SA Forest Adventures will also take you on an adventurous – as well as picturesque – tubing session on the Palmiet River. The river is part of the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site – it is often considered the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, because of the exceptional quality of its Fynbos. Needless to say, the scenery is a sight to behold!
Traveller’s tip: Jock’s Bay & Shelly Beach, small coves situated in the vicinity of the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, are great for young kids and the ideal spot for a family picnic.
Stanford & Beyond
A visit to the award-winning cheese-producing Klein River Farmstead near Stanford is best described as a celebration of ‘cheese, picnics and family’. You can create your own picnic at the deli-style Picnic Shed, which is filled with local produce, wine, beer and a mountain of artisanal cheese.
An exciting boat excursion can be found near Gansbaai, thanks to Dyer Island Cruises & Eco Tours. Choose from various options and, if you are lucky, get to see whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, and great white sharks all in one trip! After so much excitement you may wish to relax with a stop at – and wander around – Platbos, an ancient indigenous forest with trees that are over 1000 years old.
Traveller’s tip: The Saturday morning market on Queen Victoria Street in Stanford makes for a wonderful family outing.