You’ve booked a weekend stay in Hermanus, because your best friend decided on a destination wedding in the Overberg and you wouldn’t dream of missing her big day. Besides the travel time, you’ve now invested money in this trip – accommodation, after all, doesn’t come cheap. So how do you go about making the most of your time spent on the breathtaking Whale Coast?
To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the smells, sights, and surrounds, we’ve compiled a handy list of the absolute must-see outings and adventures you simply cannot afford to miss. Here are 5 top tips for visiting the Overberg region.
Are you a vine hopper?
Multiple renowned wine routes meet up in the area – perhaps the most famous of these, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is nestled between the Botrivier and Stanford routes, all three boasting award-winning wine estates. Do a little research on the Overberg wine producers beforehand and identify the wineries you would most like to visit – with more than 20 to choose from, you’re unlikely to visit them all on this trip! If you’re a solo traveller (no designated driver available), do not despair… Simply book yourself a seat on a hop-on-hop-off style tour with the Hermanus Wine Hoppers and enjoy a carefree day of taking in beautiful sights with a glass of something delicious in your hand.
Need an adrenaline fix?
Add a little adventure to your Overberg trip and zip across the tree tops or ride a sand dune while sand boarding with the ever-popular SA Forest Adventures. But if you prefer the kind of adventure where you can sit back and relax while someone else does all the work, a flight with African Wings might be right up your ally! See the whales from the sky – undoubtedly the best vantage point – or simply take a scenic flight over Hermanus and surrounding areas. If you happen to be an avid sky-diver, bring your gear along – there’s some great opportunities for spectacular jumps in the area!
Longing to get up close and personal with the giants of the ocean?
October to December is not only a great time for a summer wedding. It also happens to be the time of year hundreds of Southern Right whales flock to area which has become known as the Whale Coast, to give birth to their calves. With stunning sightings in the Walker Bay area of Hermanus and the De Kelders area of Gansbaai, whale-watching from land is a popular pastime.
If you’re up for something a little more exhilarating, contact Marine Dynamics for shark cage diving. Sticking to the ocean theme, consider visiting the penguins at Betty’s Bay or, if you’re interested in conservation, the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary. Speaking of conservation… Don’t forget to fit in a visit to the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary near Stanford. Panthera Africa is a rehabilitation and releasing project for lions and other big cats.
Want to shop like the locals?
The wedding celebrations most likely only start during the Saturday afternoon, giving you more than enough time to browse one or two local markets for delicious food, fresh produce to take home with you, second-hand books and a variety of other unique finds. We recommend the Hermanuspietersfontein Markie for a true foodie experience and the Hermanus Country Market for a more family-friendly experience (lots of kids and dogs running around!), but further afield you’ll also find great markets in both Botrivier and Stanford. If in doubt, just grab a copy of a local newspaper for the time and location.
Looking for a little piece of cultural heritage?
Whether you visit Betty’s Bay, Riviersonderend or Swellendam, the beauty of the Overberg region has inspired so many artists, that you’re sure to find a gallery with a few fantastic pieces, no matter which town you visit. Hermanus alone has more than 14 galleries and if you happen to be there at the beginning of a new month, be sure to catch the First Friday Artwalk. Our favourites include Rossouw Modern and Walker Bay Art Gallery, but they are all worth a visit.
But if you’re a little more inclined towards the historic significance of the region, you might want to visit the Danger Point Lighthouse to see where the HMS Birkenhead came to a tragic end. From one lighthouse to another, visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse (the second-oldest in SA, after Green Point), to take in the beauty of the most southern point of the African continent.
Looking for convenient accommodation?
If you’re still looking for a place to stay on your next visit to the Overberg, or perhaps more specifically, the Hermanus area, why not stay in Olive Cottage on the Bona Dea Private Estate? Consisting of an upper and lower level that can be booked separately, the cottage altogether sleeps six people. The upper level has two beautiful bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a lounge with fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen and dining room. The lower level is a studio apartment with one bedroom and an en suite bathroom, a kitchenette and an undercover braai patio.