Perched on the top of seaside cliffs, The Marine Hermanus is an elegant retreat with breathtaking views over one of the best land-based whale watching destinations in the world. Combining a fascinating history dating back to 1902 with a magnificent setting that looks out over the ocean and the Overberg Mountains, it is the ideal base for whale watching, shark diving or simply enjoying the town’s laid-back café culture.
Perched on top of seaside cliffs, The Marine Hermanus offers breathtaking vistas over the ocean, with guests often spotting whales from the comfort of their beautifully appointed bedrooms. Individually decorated in the Marine’s sophisticated style of understated elegance, the rooms and suite offer a cool and calm counterpoint to the magnificent surroundings. Selected suites boast broad balconies, scenic sea views and oversized four poster beds.
The Sun Lounge allows guests to admire the sunset while sipping a glass of local wine. No stay at The Marine is complete without sampling their gastronomic delights and the specialty dishes at informal and bustling Seafood at the Marine or the contemporary Pavilion are highly recommended. The open kitchen, with its talented chefs, provides a close-up view of the culinary action. Guests can indulge in a swim in the pristine tidal pool directly in front of the hotel, sometimes as close as a hundred meters from the passing whales. The Carchele Spa provides an extensive range of treatments to guests in need of relaxation.
If you’ve ever wished you had whales in your back garden, Hermanus is the place for you. Acknowledged as the best land-based whale watching site in the world, the town even has an official whale-crier. Once hunted almost to extinction, these gentle giants loll around within stone’s throw of the rocks, where one can sit and commune with them for hours. During whale season, the town proudly boasts its own whale crier, who blows on a kelp horn each time that these magnificent animals are spotted.
Originally called Hermanuspietersfontein after Hermanus Pieters, a teacher and shepherd who used to graze his sheep in the area, the town’s name was shortened in 1902 at the anguished request of the local postmaster. Sir William Hoy, General Manager of SA Railways lived here in the early 1900s and his refusal to have the peace disturbed by noisy trains is the reason why Hermanus has no railway.
Self-drive directions from Cape Town International Airport
- From Cape Town International Airport, take the N2 East in the direction of Somerset West.
- Proceed along the N2 over Sir Lowrey’s Pass, through the Elgin / Grabouw fruit-growing region and down Houwhoek Pass.
- Soon after reaching the bottom of Houwhoek Pass, you will see the R43 turnoff for Hermanus and Botrivier to the left.
- Take this turnoff and continue along the R43 all the way to Hermanus.
- Once in Hermanus, continue along the R43, which becomes Main Road.
- At the first traffic circle, keep left on the R43 towards Stanford (past Standard Bank).
- At the next traffic circle, keep right on the R43 towards Stanford.
- Travel a short distance to another traffic centre and keep right into Main Road.
- You will see the hotel on your left. Turn left into the parking area.
Weather & climate
Hermanus enjoys a mild, almost Mediterranean climate, with most of the rainfall in winter and long, sunny days in summer. Winters are generally mild, although they can be quite windy. Summers are dry and sunny, with the extreme heat tempered by sea breezes. Early autumn, in March, is ideal, with warm, balmy days and beautiful mists coming off the sea in the late afternoon.
The currency is the South African rand.
Visas and documents
Nationals of other African countries often do not require visas for South Africa. Visitors must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of travel and should have two blank pages available in their passport.