Hermanus Old Harbour | iinfo TZANEEN

HERMANUS FEATURE: Four Things to Do in Hermanus’ Old Harbour (with whales or without)
 
Hermanus is known as the best place for land-based whale-watching on earth. Between June and December (the very best viewing happens in August and September), tourists swarm the promenade above Hermanus’ “Old Harbour" — which was closed to boat traffic in the mid-20th century in favour of the larger “New Harbour” west of town — scanning the ocean for whales and listening for the famous Hermanus Whale Crier to blow his kelp horn. (Hermanus is the only town in the world with an official whale crier.)
 
But Hermanus’ Old Harbour is a pleasant place to explore during the off season, too. In addition to the many shops and restaurants along the promenade, there is a series of museums explaining the history of Hermanus and a string of beautiful public art pieces to complement the area’s drop-dead gorgeous views.
 
Here are four places to explore in and around Hermanus’ Old Harbour, either in or out of whale-watching season. 
 
Old Harbour Museum
 
The last boats left the Old Harbour in the late 1950s, and the old outbuildings along the water officially became a museum in the early 1970s. Visitors can wander the pleasant, open-air museum for free, looking at various plaques, retired fishing boats, and the World War I memorial, and can also visit the rather dusty interior museum inside one of the outbuildings — a reconstructed fishing shack — for R20.00 (The R20.00 admission also includes admission to the Whale House and the Photo Museum, described below.) The indoor museum is accessible via the cement ramp leading down to the water.
 
Whale House
 
Positioned at the top of the harbour in the “Fishermen’s Village”, the Whale House is a quaint, white-washed building containing several well-curated visual and audio exhibits on the biology and behavior of whales. The entrance is dominated by an impressive, full-sized skeleton of a southern right whale; the exhibits inside feature interesting and useful information about the different types of whales, what and how they eat, how and where they migrate, etc. 
 
De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum
 
The De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum, right beside the Whale House, is housed inside the Hermanus Dutch Reformed Sunday School building, which was dismantled and moved to its current location in 1987. The Photo Museum contains old Hermanus photographs dating back to 1875, along with several other artefacts. Photography is not allowed inside the museum.
 
Cliff Path/Sculptures on the Cliffs
 
The Hermanus Cliff Path is an 11-kilometre trail along the coastline, protected within the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. The path is a perfect place to wander and look for whales, or simply to relax on one of the many park benches and stare out at the sea. Best of all, the section of the path closest to the Old Harbour is peppered with a rotating display of sculptures by prominent South African artists — the Sculptures on the Cliffs — which are part of the annual Hermanus FynArts Festival. The sculptures perfectly complement the beautiful landscape surrounding them and provide great photo-ops. The 2019 FynArts Festival takes place from 7 to 17 June. 
 
The Old Harbour winds around Marine Drive, easily accessed via the R43, in downtown Hermanus. Please note, parking in Hermanus can be difficult during tourist season.

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