I haven’t posted on my blog since settling earlier this month in Onrusrivier (aka Onrus) – a few minutes from better known Hermanus. Onrus is a beautiful South African seaside town. It’s a noted whale-watching destination In the Cape Overberg overlooking Walker Bay. Voëlklip and Grotto are two main beaches in the area. Grotto is my favorite.
During peak whale watching season – August to mid-December – Southern Right Whales “become part of the Onrus seascape”!
Whales, Whales, Whales
“When sitting at a restaurant about to devour a delicious meal, don’t be surprised when everyone drops their cutlery with a yelp of glee and rushes to the edge of the balcony for a closer look at the frolicking whales. They’re not to be missed!”
Right Whales breed in the sheltered bays of the Cape coast, spending up to five months a year there. “They pass time playing, courting, and nursing their calves, often metres from the shore, providing spectacular land-based viewing!”
“Hermanus is about breathing fresh ‘champagne air’, drinking crystal clear mountain water, watching marine life from your restaurant table, visiting the richest Floral Kingdom on earth, and satisfying your palate with exquisite food.”
Fernkloof and Kogelberg
There are abundant hiking opportunities in the area, including Fernkloof and Kogelberg Nature Reserves. Both are known for “minimal human interference, exceptional diversity, and high-quality fynbos”.
Another option, the easy Hermanus Cliff Path, hugs the seafront and passes over cliff tops and beaches. During whale season, you can sit on wooden benches along the path and enjoy a birds-eye view of the exciting whales, coastal Fynbos, and over 200 species of birds.
Hermanus is an eco-destination. Kelp forests along the coast nurture abalone and crayfish. Southern right whales, humpbacks, and dolphins make seasonal visits to Walker Bay which extends from Hermanus to Gansbaai.
The area is an angler’s paradise and one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching. Between June and December, “hundreds of Southern Right Whales congregate in the sheltered shallow waters of Walker Bay to mate and calve their young”. The Bay is a Whale Sanctuary Marine Protected Area.
“With an excellent choice of outdoor activities, you can do anything from mountain climbing to deep-sea diving .”
Abundant Outdoor Activities
Outdoor enthusiasts stroll along coastal paths or hike for days through mountain ranges. Water babies can surf, swim, sail, dive, kayak, and watch whales from rocky outcrops or boats. Foodies can dine in style or enjoy wine estate picnics. “No matter your taste for life, Hermanus adventures are waiting.”
It’s wonderful here, but I’ve suffered from a flu-like allergic reaction to endemic fynbos and have struggled with congestion, inflammation, sneezing, and coughing. I’ll need to take antihistamines continuously, but after a few weeks the symptoms are improving. Local pharmacists say that fynbos allergies even plague some locals. Many are resigned to taking antihistamines and using nasal spray year-round.