Towns In The Overberg
Hermanus was often referred to as the Riviera of the South in bygone days and for all intents and purposes, has maintained its status albeit with a modern fusion of luxury holiday homes dotting the pristine coastline, funky cafes, coffee shops and eateries overlooking Walker Bay, speciality shops to delight even the most selective shopper and craft markets to keep you busy for hours.
Probably best known for its renowned Cliff Paths which meander along the coastline, Hermanus has become a whale watchers paradise. Visitors come annually from far and wide to view one of nature's spectacular events when whales come close into Walker Bay to calve. Their antics will amuse you for hours on end, so be prepared. Pack a picnic or have lunch at one of the many little eateries along the magnificent coastline where the uninterrupted views of Walker Bay will ensure endless pleasure during Whale Season.
The Fernkloof Nature Reserve offers nature lovers a paradise of flora and fauna with more than 1 474 species of flora having been identified to date. Also present are up to 92 various bird species e.g. Cape Sugar Bird, Sunbirds, Rock Thrush, Rock Jumper and Raptors amongst many others. Grey rhebok, Cape grysbok, klipspringer, baboon, mongoose and dassie are often seen when hiking through the reserve. Fernkloof Nature Reserve offers a 60 km network of hiking trails through the reserve providing an ideal opportunity for visitors of all fitness levels to enjoy the beauty of the reserve with its spectacular views of Walker Bay. the Hemel and Aarde Valley and Maanskijnbaai. Piet se Bos is also part of Fernkloof Nature Reserve and well worth a visit, as well as Rotary Drive.
Beaches in and around Hermanus are amongst the finest in the world offering great surfing, sailing, family picnic spots,swimming, tanning and great walks for the family, with Grotto beach having an accredited blue flag status.
Hermanus is a hive of activity with its regular craft and produce markets, speciality stores, coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, wine wanders and many varied outdoor activities e.g. land and boat based whale watching, white shark cage diving, paragliding, windsurfing, sailing, hiking, scuba diving, golfing and more.
Steeped in history, there are several museums documenting Hermanuspietersfontein's illustrious past, its growth from a small seaside resort to the burgeoning tourist attaction of today. Beautiful buildings and well preserved homes can still be seen which date back to the early 1900.
There is truly something for everyone in this scenic town and a day is most certainly never enough time in which to explore all of the fascinating aspects of this beautiful coastal town in the Overberg.
Summers are pleasant, perfect beach weather often with high temperatures but thankfully, being a coastal town, a welcome sea breeze will cool things down in the late afternoons.
Being in a winter rainfall area Hermanus will often have several consecutive days of much needed rain during the winter months. Storms are not unknown during winter but these are thankfully few. This ensures that vineyards produce world class wines and olives.
Summer Average 26.4°c
Winter Average 14°c
Average annual rainfall: 546mm
Named after the HMS Arniston, a British troop ship that sank in 1815 killing more than 300 on board, Arniston is a beautiful little coastal fishing village with one of the longest beaches in Africa. Azure blue water, rocky coves and authentic fisherman cottages add to the magical beauty of this coastal jewel.
Here you are still able to buy fresh fish off the fishing boats as they come into the little harbour daily. There is a typical holiday atmosphere in Arniston where you can watch whales at play in the bay annually (September to November), visit the De Mond Reserve and discover the many bird species.
Don't Miss Out On
- Die Waenhuis Restaurant
Soetpatats to die for!
- Kassiesbaai Craft Centre
Craftwood created by locals in addition to traditional meals, home baked breads, delicious fish dishes and more.
- The Arniston Hotel
Magnificent sea views from the terrace where many a sun downer has been enjoyed
A stone’s throw from Franskraal and Gansbaai is the enchanting hamlet of Baardskeerdersbos, which is fast becoming a sought after haven for city slickers as a weekend getaway. Made up of a fascinating patchwork of rolling farmlands and small holdings with quaint homesteads, the hamlet has a fascinating history in terms of how it gained its name, which directly translated means Beard Shavers Bush!!!
One can only deduce that it was so named after the fearsome looking but harmless spider the Jerrymanglum, known for its “hair cutting/shaving abilities”. The productive Baardskeerdersbos Valley is carpeted with a contrasting landscape of vineyards, flower and cattle farms. Verdant Fynbos stretches for miles as you traverse this enchanting multicoloured landscape to reach your final destination where you will find an interesting fusion of locals who welcome you with open arms to their little hamlet. Quaint little trading stores dot the main road with a store where you’ll be able to get a good cup of coffee and something delicious to subdue the hunger. You may even be charmed to stay and perhaps invest in this delightful village!
A typical rural town with a large farming community known predominantly for farming with Merino sheep and wheat. Bredasdorp offers a fabulous day trip with several little speciality shops with pottery, antiques and local delicacies on offer. Not to be missed is the renowned Shipwreck Museum which is the only one of its kind in South Africa. The museum showcases an extensive collection of artifacts and furniture from ships wrecked along the coast. Audrey Blignault who was born in Bredasdorp has a room especially dedicated to her fine history as one of South Africa’s most prominent writers.
Things To Do in Bredasdorp
- Kapula Candles
Famous for its more than 1000 candle designs
- Antique Warehouse
- Craft Corner
- Heuningberg Nature Reserve
For short hikes - a must for birders.
- Julian Keyser Ceramics
- Klippen Coffee and Gift Shop
- Pandoras Box
- Shipwreck Museum - Bredasdorp
The Cape Agulhas region offers a veritable paradise of nature in all her glory, which will delight even the most discerning tourist, botanist, hiker, photographer, historian, bird watcher or angler.
The region is bordered by blue mountain ranges, set in undulating hills in a kaleidoscope of gold, green and brown, with endless beaches and dunes. Fragrances of fynbos merge with mountain and sea air.
The history of this area is closely interwoven with the early history of the Cape. A few stock farmers established themselves here as early as 1710. Wellknown families settled as pioneers in the southern coastal area, as did shipwreck survivors of various nationalities. It is believed that this blending of cultures is the reason for the hospitality and sincerity of the people of the Overberg.
This is the southernmost tip of the African continent and the meeting place of the two oceans the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. The southernmost tip was named Cabo das Agulhas ('Cape of Needles') by Portuguese seafarers at the end of the 15th century because compass needles show no variation between true north and magnetic north points.
Visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse Museum –this museum opened in 1994, and is the only one of its kind in Africa. Please do explore it and if you are feeling fit, climb the 71 steps to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the panoramic view of the sea.
Here you will find the Lighthouse Restaurant which houses a wonderful curio shop. A unique experience. Eat in a working lighthouse! There are several Hiking Trails Contact the Cape Agulhas Tourism Bureau:
Tel: 028 424 2584 for more information on these trails.
Things To Do
Experience and discover the Agulhas National Park on a vehiclethat is easy to ride and that has minimal impact on the environment
Tel: 082 435 6078
Tel: 082 435 6222
- Tractor Trails –
Enjoy mountain fynbos tractor rides from Kleinsanddrift Farm
Tel: 028 424 2074
- Fynbos hiking trails
- Mountain Biking
- Swimming (Struisbaai)
- Bird Watching
- Rock and boat angling
- Farm visits
- Visit the famous Agulhas Lighthouse and Shipwreck Museums
- De Hoop and De Mond Nature Reserves
De Kelders, the place that the Southern Right Whales call home! On the R43 beyond Stanford you will find a residential area called De Kelders. “De Kelders” is the Afrikaans name for The Caves. Numerous larger and smaller caves penetrate deep into the rock formations under the houses of De Kelders.
There is a great coffee shop and restaurant called Coffee on the Rocks, overlooking the bay. You will find it in Cliff Street. Just drive all the way down to the sea and turn right. It is truly unique and a good vantage point for whale watching!
The Klipgat Cave, in the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, is one of the most important cultural assets in the Western Cape. The remains found in the cave date back to the Middle Stone Age people as well as the Khoisan. The Klipgat Trail is a path meandering along the coast from Gansbaai Harbour to Klipgat Cave. Maps and information about this 7km trail are available from the:
Gansbaai Tourism Office
Tel: 028 384 1439
Elim, long been declared a national monument is famous for its thatch-roofed homes as are the thatchers from Elim who are sought after as masters of their fine craft. The quaint white washed cottages are painted each year before Easter as a tradition symbolising purity and simplicity – integral to the lifestyle of the village people who live their lives close to their Church.
The picturesque town is one of the oldest surviving mission stations and is inhabited mainly by members of the Moravian Church.
Things To Do and See in Elim
- The Water Mill
Built in 1833 and restored in 1990, has the largest wooden water wheel in South Africa and is again grinding wheat as it did in the past.
- The Slave Monument
The only monument of its kind to commemorate the liberation of slaves in the Cape.
- Elim Bakery
Delicious home-baked products can be bought here.
- Moravian Church and Clock
A thatched-roof church in the heart of the village. The clock dates back 235 years.
Gansbaai, beyond De Kelders on the R43 (about a 35 minute drive from Hermanus.) There, depending on your nerves you can go boat-based whale watching, scuba diving or shark-cage diving.
There are 4x4 trips, plane trips, Danger Point lighthouse to visit and, to end the day, sundown boat trips. Gansbaai is named the Big2 town after the numerous Great White Sharks that cruise in the waters east of Danger Point peninsula and the many Southern Right Whales that hang out around the shores on the western side of Danger Point. Here you will find various restaurants and bars in and around Main Street and many arts and crafts shops. Don’t forget to visit the harbour.
This is a lovely picturesque little fishing village surrounded by milkwood trees and summer daisies. It is situated on the eastern side of the Danger Point peninsula and it makes the ideal launching site for local fishermen to fish in the Dyer Island area. The white shark diving, whale watching and Dyer and Geyser Island tours all operate from the boat launching facilities at the small but natural harbour of Kleinbaai.
The fishing village of Hawston is located between Fisherhaven and Onrus en route to Hermanus. Hawston was named after Charles Haw who settled in Caledon in June 1859 often visiting Hawston for vacations.
The village of Hawston is rich in traditional history and the locals are eager to share their beautiful beach and ocean's bountiful catch with visitors.
Spend a funfilled day at Hawston's olympic sized swimming pool (the only one in the Overberg), enjoy a delicious seafood meal at Hawston Abalone Village Restaurant, watch the whales and dolphins at play, take in the breath taking ocean and mountain views surrounding you and take a walk along the magnificent blue flag beach.
Things To Do and See in Hawston
- Olympic size swimming pool
- Hawston Abalone Village Restaurant
- Whales and Dolphins
- Caravan Park
- Beach walks
- Bird watching
- The famous wild horses
Napier, Cape Overberg: The town, named after the governor of the day, Sir George Napier, was founded 12 April 1838 when the first erven were sold. The town is central to a prosperous wheat and wool-producing area in addition to producing large quantities of strawberries in summer.
Napier lies beneath the Soetmuisberg surrounded by bright yellow canola fields, barley and wheat. A typical country town steeped in history with its main road lined by the prominent Dutch reformed church, houses and interesting stores selling antiques and various specialities. It's not unusual to find a little shop operating from the front stoep of a home in Napier. Photographers, nurseries, artists, potters and restaurateurs all exist side by side in harmony.
There's a spirit of kinship and understanding in this country town where everyone knows everyone. Breads, croissants, jams and preserves are made locally and you'll find these delicious homemade goodies in many accommodation establishments as the locals support their own.
Restaurants, pubs and farmstalls abound in this village where you can enjoy traditional country fair, French cuisine or a delicious pizza or pasta. The choices are endless. Farmstalls offer anything from olives, olive oil, jams, preserves, farm fresh breads and cakes, fruit and vegetables to West Coast Bokkoms (dried mullet - traditional salted and dried fish).
Napier is proving to be an ideal wine producing area as new vineyards are planted for production. Already there is a wine tasting boutique in Napier where you can sample wines from the area.
The town is a shoppers paradise when it comes to antiques and collectibles. Speak with the locals and you'll find what you're looking for.
Don't Miss Out On
- Moerse Farmstall
Delicious country fare, West Coast Bokkoms, fresh produce. An absolute must.
- Art & Toy World
Art Gallery • Toy Museum • "Rose" Toy Steam Boats
5 Almond Street "Chris Vilas Arts & Crafts"
- Green Chameleon Shop
T-Shirts, Keyracks, Cards, Coasters, Games, Pet Mags, Doggy Bandanas and 100% Napier Products
- Greta's Place
Collectable's • Antiques • Bric a Brac
- Napier Antiek
Antiques and Collectibles
- Napier Farmstall and Restaurant
- Jean Daniel Wines (Boutique Winery)
Vindigo Wine Tastings
Specialising in wine sales, local arts and crafts.
Onrus is a typical laid-back holiday town and home to several famous artists and authors such as Jan Rabie, Elsa Joubert, and the late Uys Krige, Gregoire Boonzaaier and Marjorie Wallace.
Typically known for lush growth of Milkwood trees, this tranquil seaside village offers ideal water sport opportunities. Swimming is safe and the lagoon is warmer than the sea where lifegaurds are generally on duty during season time.
Whales come extremely close to the shoreline and are an absolute joy to watch from the Milkwood Restaurant where you can enjoy a great meal on the waters' edge.
There are several local art galleries which should not be missed in addition to craft and speciality shops.
Don't Miss Out On
- Gallery Gregoire
- The Mission House Gallery
- The Atelier d'art Gallery
Tel: 028 316 3238
Situated approximately 45 minutes from Hermanus, this peaceful little town is still relatively undeveloped. Although the concentration of permanent residents is increasing, over half the houses still belong to holiday-makers.
Things To Do in Pearly Beach
Pearly Beach is a popular angling spot, and on some weekends the beach is lined with fishermen. The Angling and Recreational Club holds competitions on a regular basis, as well as offering meals and a big-screen TV.
Unspoilt pristine white beaches are perfect for long walks.
- Whale Watching
Southern Right Whales visit from about July to January.
Stanford, on the bank of the Klein River, must be one of the Western Cape’s best kept secrets. Stanford offers tranquility, scenery, river activities, brewery, cheese farm, winery, art gallery, shops of interest and restaurants.
As you turn into Stanford, turn immediately left into Daneel Street. On your right you will find Norfolk Square. The Maze Tea Room has a lovely tea garden for children. An inspiring stop, filled with all sorts of activities to keep your children busy!
Browse around the French Home Décor shop Domaine du Cap. There is always something different to be found.
After that, drive through Stanford and see the quaint old houses, shops and pubs. There is an interesting art gallery that sells local art and crafts and the Information Office is midway down the main street (Queen Victoria Street) on your left. Also on Queen Victoria Street is the famous Peregrine Farm Stall.
Please do call in here for the most delicious homebakes, preserves, deli items and gifts. Or just take a seat and enjoy their tasty food.
Things To Do
- The African Queen River Cruise is a fabulous experience. Bookings must be made in advance.
Tel: 082 732 1284
Platanna River Cruises
Tel: 082 353 0588
Hadeda Boat Trips
Tel: 082 901 9115
- Horse Riding
African Horse Company (mountain and outrides)
Tel: 082 667 9232
- Art Café
13 Queen Victoria Street
028 341 0127
500m along R326 road
028 341 0183
- Emilio’s Restaurant
5 Queen Victoria Street
028 341 0424
- Hennie’s Pub & Grill
20 Queen Victoria Street
028 341 0701
- Hovercrafts Restaurant
100 mtrs from Stanford R43
028 341 0603
- Klein River Picnics Klein River Dairy & Cheese
028 341 0693
- Madre’s Kitchen
2km from Stanford R43
028 341 0647
078 929 9995
- Mariana’s Deli & Bistro
12 du Toit Street
028 341 0272
- Peregrine Farm Stall
1 Queen Victoria Street
028 341 0386
- The Maze Tearoom
36 Daneel Street
028 341 0539
Walk the Stanford Walking Trail (Wandelpad) which meanders along next to the Klein River, a feeding stream and the dams. In the early morning or late afternoon there is a wealth of birds to be seen along this route. A stroll or cycle around the tree lined village streets will present you with interesting historical architecture and lovely rural scenes. In Church Street, you will see the original farmhouse, Sir Robert Stanford’s Home of Art, Crafts and Collectables and view the local art and crafts.
If you go back to the R43 and go straight across to the R326, you will see the Birkenhead Brewery on the left hand side. Visitors are welcome. It is the only beer AND wine estate in South Africa.
Is the local brewery and commemorates a gallant episode of naval history and the birth of “The Birkenhead Drill”
... Women and Children first ...
There is a restaurant, a pub and an interesting shop. The restaurant has stunning views over the Klein River Mountains.
Klein River Cheese Farm
Also along this road you will find a very beautiful farm ... Klein River Farm. Taste their award winning Gruyère, shop for cheese and gourmet products, all while watching the cheese being made. You can also enjoy a delicious picnic lunch in the garden or at the river whilst your children have fun in the playground and with the farm animals.
Tel: 028 341 0693.
Erica & Raka Wine Farm
If you carry on with this road you will find yourself at the Erica Wine Farm, the home of Raka Wine. They have a limited selection of award winning wines set out in a beautifully appointed cellar.
- Art galleries
- Bird watching
- Cliff paths
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Sailing & scuba diving
- Township tours
- Whale watching
- White shark cage diving
- Wine tasting & tours