Hermanus is jam-packed with an unlimited supply of adventures, activities and sights for the intrepid explorer to the leisurely holiday-maker. Thanks to the usually mild, Mediterranean climate and coastal-and-mountain location, visitors are able to experience a diverse range of activities in a smaller than usual area. The many Activity Providers in the area will be more than happy to help you to find the perfect activity for you and/or your group.
The crisp, clean air of Hermanus makes a scenic flight so much more enjoyable; with increased visibility and an opportunity to capture this beautiful coastline from a completely different angle. There are also a couple of different flight options available, ensuring that everyone wanting to experience and air-tour are happy.
The Cape Peninsula flight takes clients along the coast from Hermanus to Cape Hangklip and then all the way to Cape Point, the southern-most tip of Africa. From here the flight turns back towards Hermanus but takes a different route above the Elgin Valley and then back along the coast.
The Flight of the Giants is available during whale season and gives whale-lovers an opportunity to view the majestic Southern Rights from the best seat in the house (or plane). From this height it’s possible to capture the whale’s sheer size and enjoy uninterrupted, panoramic views of the coast and the creatures below.
For those who love penguins, the breeding grounds of the African (or Jackass) Penguins at Stony Point is the perfect place to watch these adorable and somewhat comical birds in their natural habitat. The wooden walkway winds its way around the edge of the breeding area, giving visitors a view of the rocky outcrops and swimming penguins on one side and the shrubbery and nests on the other. The best time to view the penguins is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when they’re returning from their long fishing expeditions.
This area is one of only two shore-based breeding colonies in the country, with the other being at the Boulders Beach near Simonstown. Along the coast at Stony Point, visitors will also be able to watch the endangered Whitebreasted, Black and Cape Cormorants that have made this area their home. They are known to nest along the rocks, leaving the land to the penguins.
Although the breeding colony is now fenced off it can still be visited daily from 09h00 in the morning until 17h00 in the afternoon with an entrance fee of R10.00 per person.
Bird watching is a very relaxing pastime, requiring that the viewer quietly walk through beautiful, natural landscapes to try to catch a glimpse of the unique birdlife in the area.
There are over 100 varieties of bird species within the Fernkloof Nature Reserve that borders Hermanus, with several of these species being endemic to the Western Cape. These are the Orange-breasted Sunbird, the Cape Sugarbird, the Cape Siskin, the Cape Rockjumper and Victorin's Warbler. These fair fouls are the reason that the Hermanus Bird Club chose the reserve as their headquarters. The HBC goes on weekly walks around the area to help its members (and visitors) get the opportunity to see the different wildlife in the area, give a bit of background on the different species spotted and take photos to immortalise the occasion.
Bird enthusiasts are also more than welcome to wander the pathways that run through the Reserve and Garden, taking in the sites and looking out for the beautiful birds in the area. There is also a Fernkloof Nature Reserve Bird Directory that gives visitors a “checklist” to use during their exploration. The only rule is that the only thing to be taken away from the reserve are memories and photos!
Thanks to the coastal and mountainous location, Hermanus offers a number of different walk/hike experiences for the novice and the expert hiker.
The Fernkloof Nature Reserve offers hikers the opportunity to learn as they walk, with a cornucopia of endemic plant and wildlife being spotted along every trail. The paths also offer their own unique experiences, with each one leading into a different part of the reserve, including the Three Dams, the waterfall and also to the highest outlook point (596 meters above sea level) at Galpin Hut (which can be booked for an overnight stay).
The Cliff Path is a perfect option for a scenic stroll along the coastline, with the path hugging the cliffs for over 10km. The Path itself takes walks from the New Harbour all the way to the other end of Hermanus, near the mouth of the Kleinrivier Lagoon. Along this path are a number of beautiful plants, as well as a couple of animals, for everyone to enjoy.
The Fynbos Trail is a more unique nature experience in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. This trail offers the visitor the choice between a fully guided and catered slack-packing trail or a self-guided and –catered trail. The trail itself has a two or three day option and takes hikers along a beautiful stretch of trail through coastal and mountain Fynbos, remote forests and visits some fascinating environmental and social projects along the way. This is an ideal trail for nature and hike-lovers alike, giving visitors the chance to escape city life for an oasis in the heart of the Overberg
The Hermanus Golf Course is located along the foot of the Kleinriver Mountains that border Hermanus. This pristine course is a unique asset to Hermanus as it boasts a 27 hole course, all of which are in perfect condition and surrounded by indigenous wetlands and Fynbos. The course wraps itself around the natural curves of the mountainside, making each hole a different and challenging experience. Golfers are also able to enjoy a view of the ocean from some of the higher placed holes, adding to the ambiance of the course.
Non-members are m more than welcome to enjoy the course but it’s advised that bookings be made ahead of time to avoid disappointment, especially in-season (September – December) as the course usually becomes full very quickly. There are also golf carts, clubs and pull carts for hire should golfers require any further equipment.
Sand-boarding is definitely more geared towards the adrenalin junkies. Racing down a sand dune at high speeds on a thin board might make some feel faint, but for those searching for thrills during a holiday, this up-and-coming adventure sport in South Africa is a must do.
It is similar to snowboarding as you can choose to stand with two feet locked onto a board whilst sliding down a sand dune at high speeds. However, if you feel that this is a bit beyond your capabilities, you have the choice to sit. Lying down is not recommended lest you find yourself swallowing a mouthful of sand. No experience is needed though to take part in this adventure sport, however balance plays a big role. Betty's Bay offers the ideal location for sand-boarding, with its picture-perfect beaches and high sand dunes; a fun activity for families or friends wanting to spend some quality time together.
For contact information, please visit our Activities & Operators page.
Paragliding is both a recreational activity and competitive adventure sport. Flyers use paragliders – lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircrafts that use a harness and large kite (like those used by Kite Surfers) - to glide over long distances. The gliders make use of the air flow and manual guiding to manoeuvre the gliders.
The paragliding providers in Hermanus offer both solo and tandem experiences for those wishing to tour the town from above. The breath-taking coastal scenery and beautiful mountains make this an experience of a lifetime; one that will leave anyone with plenty of stories for the future. During the flight, flyers are also privy to the undisturbed wildlife below, including deer, baboons, blue cranes and other wildlife. Swallows, eagles and crows have also been known to fly close to the gliders.
The flight itself usually lasts around 45 minutes and includes a quick safety presentation for newcomers. Overall, the flight is an adrenaline filled one, with plenty to see and take in.
The horse trails in and around the area offer beautiful and scenic trails that give riders a chance to experience the Overberg on horseback. Most of the service providers have horses for all riding levels – from novice to experienced – insuring that the experience is enjoyable for everyone involved. There is also a quick safety briefing and overview of horse riding so that riders know how to handle climbs, rough terrain descents.
The trails can take riders through mountain passes, vineyards and orchards, ending with a picnic beside a waterfall, or there are several coastal trails that trek along perfect sandy shores with the Kleinrivier Mountains as a backdrop during the trip.
For the less experienced riders (and younger children) there are shorter rides that encompass beautiful landscapes but have very easy-to-navigate trails.
Abseiling or rappling is the act of sliding (slowly) down a rope under controlled conditions. As with any climbing sport, abseiling does have its risks, but the service provider will insure that everything is a-okay and properly setup so that climbers can enjoy an adrenaline filled and memorable climb while exploring the coastal cliffs in the area.
There are many ideal spots around Hermanus to abseil, all of which will be suggested by the guide. They will also supply all of the needed equipment for the experience, leaving guests to just enjoy themselves.
This ancient technique dates back to 10 000 BC and is the art, practice or skill of shooting/propelling arrows with a bow. Archery was once used for hunting and combat but is now more commonly used for competitions and recreation.
The Hermanus Field Archery Club (HFAC) offers a professional range with targets set from 10 yards to 80 yards, as well as a circular course with a total of 28 stations. HFAC also hosts a small competition on the 4th weekend of every month, including hunting and sporting archery challenges.
This beautiful course is located amongst Fynbos and pine trees along the R43, between Kleinmond and the Bot River turn-off, which is a quick 15 minute drive from Hermanus.
Paintball is an action packed activity that gives contenders an adrenaline rush as well as an unforgettable experience that several Activity Providers have on offer. Take out the competitors with paint in large, highly dense areas whilst using the surroundings to help survive until the end. The equipment and apparel are provided for players but it’s suggested that comfortable and old garments be worn underneath (due to the paint and shrubbery).
To make this experience even more enjoyable, teams can choose from several different games, each with their own end goal. Players can Capture the Flag of the enemy, Ambush the enemy and take their flag back to home base or just have a good, old-fashions Shoot-em-Up (or Zombie Round) where everyone shoots everyone else and the last one left standing wins the round.
Whatever option is chosen, everyone is sure to have a great time, get some fresh air and exercise and leave feeling happy and content.
Treetop sliding is a great activity for all ages. Expert guides will assist you in getting strapped into a full body harness as your safety is of the utmost importance. Tree top sliding involves traversing from one platform to the next along a steel cable suspended approximately 9 meters above the ground allowing you to enjoy the magnificent scenery and bird life.
This concept originated in Central America when biologists needed to conduct research on untouched and inaccessible rainforests without wanting to disturb the environment. They soon discovered that this was a fantastic form of eco-tourism allowing visitors the opportunity to experience these incredible rainforests without damaging the natural environment.
For contact information, please visit our Activities & Operators page.
Quad bikes are small four-wheeled vehicles designed for rough terrain and off-road exploration. These little vehicles are also built to withstand a lot of travel and are used for tours, game drives, sports and leisure activities.
Taking a quad bike tour is a slightly different approach for exploring Hermanus but it’s definitely one that leaves a great impression. With safety gear provided, groups are taken on a journey along any one of the numerous four-wheel tracks available. Riders can choose from a tour through two of the beautiful vineyards in the area, ending at the outlook point in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, a wine tasting trip at two of the beautiful vineyards, after which the group heads back along the scenic vineyard-filled hills, or the group can take a longer sunset trip that ends in a twilight picnic atop the Fernkloof Reserve.
Children aged 8 and up are also more than welcome to join but minors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent during the ride.
The Hermanus MTB Trail is the favoured option for mountain bikers in the area, starting at the Hemel en Aarde Village and giving riders four options of varying difficulty to choose from. These routes take riders deep into the Valley where the beautiful views and pristine atmosphere are only a small part of the enjoyment.
The Green Route: This easy route is ideal for both beginners and families and is a perfect introduction to single track mountain biking trails. The trail is 6 km (3.7 miles) in length with a total of 130m in ascent, making it a relatively flat ride. The route usually takes around 30 – 60 minutes to complete.
The Blue Route: This route is an easy to moderate track that’s ideal for novice to intermediate riders. The 13km (8 miles) route is all off-road with a lot of fast flowing single track, giving riders a fast-paced experience along a beautiful route. The trail usually takes around 1 – 2 hours to complete and has a total ascent of 240 meters.
The Red Route: This track is a slightly more difficult route and is perfect for intermediate to experienced riders. This 28km (17 miles) route is mainly fast flowing single track that crosses over rivers and jeep tracks and has a total ascent of 700 meters. This circular route takes between 2 – 3 hours to complete.
The Black Route: This the most difficult of the four routes and is aimed at experienced riders. This track has a lot of fast flowing single track that crosses over rivers and jeep tracks and has several steep ascents totalling 1000 meters along the 33km (22.5 miles) track, which can be completed within 2.5 – 4 hours.
There is also an open 17 km (10.5 miles) circular trail that takes riders through the picturesque Fernkloof Nature Reserve. This intermediate trail is mainly jeep tracks but also incorporates single track areas, making this stunning trail that much more attractive. There are also plenty of viewpoints to stop at, as well as the Three Dams to cool off in (but a bit of a hike is required to get to the top).