While Hermanus is known as a holiday destination of note, it’s really the natural splendour of this bustling seaside town that sets it apart from any other. The best way to truly experience this beauty is on one of the many hiking trails leading over the dunes, along the coast, through fynbos thickets and up and under magnificent cliffs. If you’re planning on holidaying in Hermanus, pack your hiking boots because there’s simply no better way to tour than on foot.
Many of these little roads-less-travelled, like the famous Cliff Path, throw various little twists and turns all along the water’s edge, giving you the opportunity to explore the cliff sides and rock formations that separate the town from the coast. Stretching across the entire 10 – 12km lying between New Harbour and Grotto beach, this scenic trail passes many of the country’s best whale watching hotspots as well as a number of historic sites and landmarks. Among these you’ll find Fick’s Pool – an enchanting spring discovered by the very man after whom the town was named – Mr Hermanus Pieters – as well as the Marine Hotel which was built in the 1900s and the Bientang Cave, named after the last surviving strandloper who also passed away during this time. If you’re not up for walking the entire trail in one go, you can access it from a number of points along the way, giving you the opportunity to take it one bit at a time.
Fernkloof Nature Reserve
The spectacular Fernkloof Nature Reserve is a knot of winding nature trails that add up to about 50km in total. The reserve boasts close to 1500 flower species and the hill hopping trails will take you past every single one of them. If you’re more into fauna than dainty flora, you’d best embark on the Tree Trail – a meandering route that passes the various species of indigenous trees and winds all the way up to the top of the Assegaibos. Tourists with a gripping fear of getting lost in the mountains can relax as pretty much every trail has signposts along the way, leading you along your path of exploration. However if that still doesn’t put your mind at ease, there’s always the option of embarking on one of the reserve’s guided tours at a small fee. With an in-depth knowledge of the area, each tour guide knows exactly which trails are manageable, taking hikers along routes that the whole famdamily can easily manage no matter how old or (un)fit they are. These nature experts will also give you added insight into the various plant species, giving a little more depth to the whole experience.
Frans Senekal Nature Reserve
Another reserve worth visiting is the Frans Senekal Nature Reserve in Vermont where you can embark on a two hour nature walk from Hoek van den Berg all along the ocean front to Hawston Harbour. Another brand new addition to Hermanus’ plethora of hiking trails is the five day hike developed by Cape Nature. This spectacular route starts on the coast at the De Hoop Nature Reserve just outside of Bredasdorp and winds its way through a number of coastal reserves. Along the way you’ll pass magnificent fynbos plantations and mystical coves, and stop off at quaint overnight accommodation spots.