Hermanus is a small town of 25,000 people on South Africa's southern coast of the Western Cape. A couple of hours drive from Cape Town, it's reputedly one of the best places to spot whales from the shore. The best time to catch a glimpse of these huge mammals is between June and November, when you can spot Southern Right Whales, Humpback Whales, Bryde Whales and even Killer Whales.
Hermanus has the worlds only whale crier, Pasika Noboda, who walks the streets sounding his horn to alert people to whale sightings.
Whale watching can be undertaken with quite a few operators, one of which is Walker Bay Adventure Travel. They offer many more options though, among which are kitesurfing, fishing, horse riding, paragliding, microlighting, sea kayking, shark-cage diving and township tours.
Trips to do yourself include a great hike, named the Cliff Path Walking Trail, a 10-kilometre long hik from the new harbour, 2 kilometres west from town, along the ocean to the mouth of the Klein River. The Fernkloof Nature Reserve is particularly nice if you are interested in fynbos (fine bush) and there is a choice of 60 kilometres of hiking trails.
The town hosts a whale festival at the end of September when Southern Right Whales come into the bay to mate.
Coming from Cape Town take the N2, and turn off at Caledon. Follow the R320 to the coast and the signs to the town. It's about a 1.5 hour drive.
There are no regular buses to Cape Town, but shuttles are available to both Cape Town and Gansbaai. The Baz Bus stops about 50 kilometres from town, with hostels offering shuttles from there.
|Baleens||310 10th Street Voelklip, Hermanus||Hotel||-|
|Beaumonte Guesthouse||Alikreukelst. 15 Vermont Hermanus||Guesthouse||-|
|Hermanus Backpackers||26 Flower Street Westcliff||Hostel||84|
|Milkwood Lodge||152 Seventh Street Hermanus||Guesthouse||-|
|Misty Waves Hotel||21 Marine Drive||Hotel||-|
|Zoete Inval Travellers Lodge||23 Main Road HE||Hostel||-|
|AmaKhosi Guesthouse||Longstr. 17||Guesthouse||80|
|Ocean Song||1 Louis Trichardt Street Sandbaai||Guesthouse||-|
|Pelagus House||31 Marine Drive Hermanus||Guesthouse||-|
|Nautilus Cottage||11 Church Street Hermanus||Guesthouse||-|
|The Whalehouse Rock||15 Fourie street Westcliff, Hermanus 7200||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Blue Gum Country Estate||R326 Road Stanford||Guesthouse||-|
|Sixteen Guest Lodge on Main||16 Main Road||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Whale Coast Lodge||19 Flower street||Guesthouse||-|
Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).
See also International Telephone Calls
South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.
South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.
There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.
The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.
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