The best wildlife and nature experiences in Cape Town and Hermanus

If you are looking for incredible food, wine and cultural experiences, then Cape Town, and the town of Hermanus (located on the coast of Walker Bay, about 60km from Cape Town) have you covered. But the best part is that they also offer incredible nature and wildlife experiences so there is something for everyone! Here are some of our favourite wildlife and nature experiences in Cape Town, Hermanus and surrounds.

Table Mountain: The icon of Cape Town

First up, Table Mountain. You can’t go to Cape Town without checking out this famous landmark. You can hike up if you’re feeling adventurous (it takes a couple of hours to walk up) or take the cable car to the top and enjoy the walking trails on the top of the mountain.

Unsurprisingly, the views from the top are mind-blowing. You get to see all of Cape Town, the ocean, and even spot some local wildlife like dassies (rock hyraxes).

Cliff Path Walk in Hermanus

Hermanus is a small town with a big reputation for whale watching, but the Cliff Path Walk is a hidden gem you shouldn’t miss. This 12-kilometre trail follows the coast of the beautiful Walker Bay, offering stunning ocean views and a chance to see all sorts of marine life. It’s a pretty easy walk, perfect for all ages. Stop off along the way for a picnic on one of the beautiful beaches. Plus, if you time it right, you can spot whales without even needing binoculars!

Whale Watching in Hermanus

Speaking of whales, Hermanus is famous for it. From June to November, Southern Right Whales come super close to the shore to give birth and look after their young. Hermanus is considered to be the best land-based whale watching in the world.

If you want to take to the water to see these gentle giants, you can join a whale watching cruise, or to experience them in a different way, what whale watching from a kayak? Or take to the skies for a whale watching flightseeing trip.

Penguin Colonies at Boulders Beach and Betty’s Bay

Penguins? In Africa? Yes there sure are! There are African penguin colonies easily accessible at Boulders Beach in Cape Town, or at Betty’s Bay which is located between Cape Town and Hermanus. Boulders Beach is really popular because you can actually swim near the penguins (although bear in mind the water is pretty chilly!). Betty’s Bay is less crowded and has a series of boardwalks that get you up close to the penguins.

Florilegium at Grootbos

South Africa’s Cape floral kingdom is one of the richest areas in the world for plant biodiversity, home to over 9,000 plant species found. Cape Town and Hermanus fall within the fynbos biome (fynbos translates literally as “fine bush”) of the Cape floral kingdom, and here you will find many species that are endemic only to this small area.

If you would like to find out more about fynbos, the Grootbos Florilegium is like an art gallery but with flowers and plants as the stars. You can visit the Florilegium on a half day tour which encompasses a guided 4×4 Botanical safari through Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, and a guided visit of the beautiful Hannarie Wenhold Botanical Art Gallery. It’s a great way to appreciate the stunning biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Pearly Beach and Horse Riding

Pearly Beach is one of our favourite beaches to walk on. On a stormy day, Pearly Beach is exposed and wild. But when the weather is good, Pearly Beach offers several kilometres of pristine beach perfect for walking on. Keep an eye out for Black Oystercatchers and many other species of coastal and seabirds.

A unique way to experience Pearly Beach is on horseback. Pearly Beach Horse Trails offer guided tours that cater to all skill levels. When tides and seas allow, you may have the unforgettable experience of riding your horse into the crystal clear water.

Fat Bike Tours in De Kelders

If you’re after something a bit more adrenaline-pumping, try a fat bike tour in De Kelders. These bikes are built to handle sandy beaches and rough trails, making for a fun and unique adventure.

Quick Mention: Aquila Game Reserve

Aquila Game Reserve is located just outside Cape Town. It is home to the Big 5 and is a popular day trip or overnight destination for travellers wanting to get a quick wildlife fix. While it is a good option for those short on time, it doesn’t compare with the experience of Etosha National Park in Namibia (which you can visit on our Cape Town to Victoria Falls guided self-drive tour) or Kruger National Park in South Africa. Kruger National Park is located about 4 hours drive from Johannesburg Airport, and is a great way to end your African adventures before flying home. Both Etosha and Kruger offer epic safari experiences with a wider range of wildlife and bigger landscapes to explore.

Find out more

For more ideas of things to do in Cape Town, here’s the Official Visitor’s Guide.

Ready to experience Cape Town and Hermanus for yourself?

Our Cape Town to Victoria Falls guided self-drive tour visits both Cape Town and Hermanus. We can also put together a tailor-made tour for you and friends or family which can be guided or self-guided, giving you freedom over when and where you go. For more information, please contact us.

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