Hermanus

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Hermanus
Panoramic view of Hermanus
Panoramic view of Hermanus
Hermanus is located in South Africa
Hermanus
Hermanus
 Hermanus shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 34°25′S 19°15′E / 34.417°S 19.250°E / -34.417; 19.250Coordinates: 34°25′S 19°15′E / 34.417°S 19.250°E / -34.417; 19.250
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
District Overberg
Municipality Overstrand
Established 1891
Area[1]
 • Total 24.1 km2 (9.3 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 32,769
 • Density 1,400/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 55.9%
 • Coloured 16.8%
 • Indian/Asian 0.3%
 • White 25.4%
 • Other 1.6%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Xhosa 46.3%
 • Afrikaans 33.5%
 • English 12.3%
 • Sotho 1.8%
 • Other 6.1%
Postal code (street) 7200
PO box 7200
Area code 028
Hermanus's new harbour
"Whale Crier" (recently retired Wilson Salukazana)

Hermanus (originally called Hermanuspietersfontein, but shortened as the name was too long for the postal service), is a town on the southern coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is famous for southern right whale watching during the southern winter and spring and is a popular retirement town. The whales can be seen from the cliffs in the town centre as early as June and usually depart in early December. They were once hunted in the nearby town of Betty's Bay, but are now protected to ensure the survival of the species. The Old Harbour Museum contains several exhibitions that explain the whaling industry, and the De Wetshuis Photo Museum houses an exhibition of photos by T D Ravenscroft that depicts the history of Hermanus. The Whale Museum houses a skeleton of a whale and shows an audio-visual presentation of whales and dolphins twice daily.

Location[edit]

Hermanus lies along Walker Bay on the south coast of the Western Cape. It is located about 115 km southeast of Cape Town and is connected to the Mother City by the R43 highway (or coastal R44 scenic route) and N2 motorway. The R43 continues to Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point of Africa. Hermanus is 40 km from Gansbaai, a famous spot where one can dive amongst the Great White Sharks. It is also notable that Hermanus still boasts a historic railway station building without a railway line. The founders of the town decided not to lay any tracks as this would have made Hermanus more commercial and felt that Hermanus needed to stay a small Fisherman's Village. To this day the locals still refer to it as "the village."

Sandbaai lies on the coast at the entrance to the Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley. It is the most recently developed and fastest growing residential area of Greater Hermanus [2]

Zwelihle, designated a "black" area by the former government, is a residential area that consists mainly of shacks.[2]

Climate[edit]

Hermanus is classified as having a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen).[3] It receives 520mm of rain per annum, the majority of which falls during the winter months of June to August in the form form of frontal precipitation. Average midday temperatures range from 25 °C in February to 16 °C in July.[3] Extemes of above 30 °C and under 10 °C are not uncommon.Summer and Winter months are characterised by strong South-Easterly and North-Westerly winds respectively.

Floral diversity[edit]

Hermanus is in the Cape Floristic Region and thus has one of the highest plant diversity levels in the world.[4] The principal vegetation type of this region is Fynbos, a mixture of evergreen shrub-like plants with small firm leaves. In the local Fernkloof Nature Reserve, 1474 plant species have thus far been collected and identified.[5]

Facilities[edit]

The Space Science Directorate of the South African National Space Agency, previously the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory (HMO), is a research facility of the National Research Foundation, and forms part of the worldwide network which monitors variations of the earth's magnetic field.

Hermanus Yacht Club hosted the Laser (dinghy) 4.7 World Championships in 2007.[6]

Hermanus is known for its historic Windsor Hotel, Marine Hotel, various fishermen's cottages and old harbour.[citation needed]

Beaches[edit]

Grotto Beach is the largest beach in Hermanus and has also been proclaimed a "Blue Flag" beach. Blue flag beaches meet international Environment, Safety and Management criteria.[7] Other beaches with Blue Flag status include, include Voëlklip, Onrus, Kammabaai, Langbaai and Hawston.

Whales and whale-spotting[edit]

Since August 1992, Hermanus has had the world’s only Whale Crier, the first being Pieter Classen 1992-1998, then Wilson Salukazana 1998-2006,[8] and Zolile Baleni since April 2006,[9] who sounds his kelp horn to announce where whales have been sighted. In 2005 Zakes Mda wrote the novel The Whale Caller in which the Whale Crier of Hermanus is the main character, a man who gets enthralled by a Southern right whale he names Sharisha.

Whale festival[edit]

Hermanus hosts an annual whale festival at the end of September, to celebrate the returning of the southern right whales to this bay during the calving and mating season. Prior to this main whale festival a "Kalfiefees" (or "Calf Festival") is held, to welcome the first whales (usually in August). Both festivals are characterised by food and craft stalls, environmental presentations and South African drama productions.

Fringe Whale Festival[edit]

Existing venues and businesses host live music and entertainment over the Whale Festival and an annual Hidden treasures guide for Hermanus is printed for visitors to discover the places often only locals know about. www.hermanusfestivals.co.za

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sum of the Main Places Hermanus, Sand Bay and Zwelihle from Census 2011.
  2. ^ a b "About Hermanus including facts as well as tourist information". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Hermanus Weather". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Cape Floral Region". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "About Hermanus including facts as well as tourist information". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Index of /". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Beaches". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.hermanus.co.za/stories.asp?num=12[dead link]
  9. ^ http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=417&art_id=vn20060428132915814C695013[dead link]

External links[edit]