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Old Harbour Museum
The Old Harbour Museum in Hermanus is one of only two harbours in the world that has been preserved for historical posterity. Constructed from stone and concrete it dates from 1855 and grew to serve the local fishing community. Visitors today can still see the original gutting tables that were used to lay out the day’s catch and the brine tanks where the fish were held. A crane built in 1915 replaced many of the labour intensive tasks and several old boats surround the harbour. The harbour was last in commercial use in 1958. The whole harbour was declared an open air museum in 1972. Surrounding the harbour there are several fisherman shacks that now house artefacts relating to the harbour and its associated fishing industry . There are also displays about whales, for which the area is famous and the story of how Hermanus has created a tourist industry out of the whales is told. A gift shop is also located within one of the old buildings.
The Grotto Beach in Hermanus stretches for kilometres, all the way to KIeinrivier lagoon and De Plaat, a popular fishing spot, and is ideal for long walks along the shore. Grotto Beach offers fine golden sand and has received a Blue Flag in 2002. The beach offers parking facilities, is serviced by a restaurant and shops, toilets are available and it is allowed to bring pets. Further amenities include a playground for little visitors and there are several barbecue (braai) facilities and picnic spots. Please note that the beach is only supervised by a life guard during the main season and that swimmers need to be cautious of the strong currents and high tides. Grotto Beach is not suitable for surfing.
Shark Cage Diving
The Shark Cage Diving tours start from Kleinbaai, which is around 3 km away from Gansbaai. The boat trip will take you to the 12 km distant Dyer Island, takes around 25 minutes and starts early, a breakfast is included in the price. On board there will be a steel cage which will be lowered onto the water. From here visitors will have the chance to watch sharks and other fish from a secure location. The waters around Dyer Island are the home of the Great White Shark which can grow up to 8 metres long. It is also possible to see whales. If the weather permits your trip will also include stops at Dyer Island where African penguins, Cape cormorants and other animals can be found, and Geyser Rock which is home to a thriving colony of seals. Each trip takes around 4 hours, the boat offers a cabin, toilet and open deck, as well as a diving platform. A restaurant and gift shop are located in the tour operators head quarters in Kleinbaai. For information on pricing, available dates and booking please visit the website.
Hermanus Whale Festival
Each year from July to September thousands of southern right whales are heading for the south coast of South Africa to pair in the ocean bays and to calve there. The annual Hermanus Whale Watching Festival celebrates these happenings with a lot of events in the city of Hermanus. For a full Festival Directory and a photogallery refer to the webpage of the festival.