Just over the mountains and approximately one hour east of Cape Town, lies the Cape's most jealously guarded secret... The Overberg, sometimes referred to as the Whale Coast.
The Overberg ("the other side of the mountain") was the original name given by Dutch colonists in the Cape when referring to the land that lay east across the Hottentots Holland mountain range.
The region is an all year round destination, excellent for beach holidays. It is a playground of the earth and sea, a nursery of the Southern Right whales and a garden of delight, from its rare floral tapestry, to the fields of grain and orchard of fruit.
For beach holidays and to enjoy the sun of South Africa at its best December - February is the time to visit. The busiest time, however, is December which is the traditional holiday period for South Africans. A quiet period is March - May, when the weather is moderate and the area is fairly quiet. For the best land-based whale watching in the world and the floral spectacular at its best June - November is ideal, and especially August and September.
The Overberg enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. The height of summer is in January with average temperatures 15C. The middle of winter is June with average temperatures from 5C to 22C.
Best land-based whale watching sites world-wide
The coming of the whales to the Overberg creates a stir along the coast when reports of sightings draws crowds who gather to watch the greatest mammal show on earth. The Overberg coast forms part of the MTN Cape Whale Route. There are three types of whales likely to be seen, The Southern Right whale, Humpback and Bryde's are the three types of whale likely to be seen.
The whales may be viewed along the Overberg coast and especially good vantage points are along Hermanus' Walker Bay and at Koppie Alleen in the De Hoop Nature Reserve, the world's most important calving and mating grounds.
In Hermanus a 12km stretch of cliff path provides one of the best land-based spots for whale watching world-wide.
A wealth of indigenous plants and animals
The diversity of the Overberg's natural environment is accompanied by an unsurpassed wealth of indigenous plants and animals.
The Overberg is the heart of the famous Cape Floristic Region and although it is the smallest plant kingdom in the world, it has an amazing 8500 species.
Some of the finest colonies of fynbos in the country are found in the Overberg. Fynbos (fine bushes) is the popular name given for the vegetation of the shrub lands of the Western Cape's winter rainfall area. Although fynbos is at it's most spectacular during late winter and spring, the region offers flowers to be enjoyed throughout the year. A similar variety of animal species includes many mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and terrestrial invertebrates and fish.
Food and Wine
Visitors to the Overberg can expect to find a superb coastal area of fine beaches and quaint villages in beautiful mountain settings. Every town and many of the farms have well preserved historical features, often still in use as part of their everyday life. Those interested in arts and crafts will find a vibrant mixture of indigenous crafts and modern art works to choose from including unique crafts such as decorative works on wagons and dried fynbos arrangements. There is also a variety of art galleries, exhibition venues, pottery clubs and art groups.
The Overberg has developed it's own style cuisine and is renowned for its excellent seafood and traditional 'beorekos' dishes. It's wine estates, many with cellars open to visitors for wine tasting, produce award winners listed on the SAA wine list and are exported to Europe. Wines range from crisp dry whites to full-bodied reds.
Outdoor lovers have a wide variety of activities to choose from. Bontebok National Park, De Hoop Marine Reserve, and the Fernkloof Nature Reserve are just a few of the nature reserves well worth visiting and walks and hiking trails are available including horse trails, mountain bike trails and 4x4 trails. For the more daring, great white sharks can be viewed in their environment whilst in the safety of an underwater cage. For the not-quite-so-daring, there's always angling, swimming, sailing and then there's golf...
Situated approximately 120 km from Cape Town, in the heart of the whale route, the seaside town of Hermanus in Walker Bay offers the best land based whale watching in the world.
Wolfkraal self catering Farmhouse, surrounded by mountains in the heart of the Cape Overberg, Caledon offers you a peaceful farm experience. A place where friends and family can renew bonds and enjoy time in nature.
Fairytale, upmarket holiday home which is situated in the peaceful town of Franskraal, 50 km's from Hermanus and 150km's from Cape Town International Airport. Come and relax in our beautiful home, which is a mere 300 metres walk from the unspoilt...
Three star luxurious fisherman's cottages take you back in time to experience the authentic style of living. Nothing but luxurious peace and tranquility. Cottages are build to accommodate a maximum of four but are normally occupied by couples. A ...
You won't be dreaming when you wake up a mere 100m - 3 minutes' walk - to the white sand of Pringle Bay's idyllic beach. Dreams accommodates up to 6 guests in 3 bedrooms and is graded 3 stars.
Spatalla is situated in Kleinmond, a luxuriously furnished private self catering residence that offers the finest finishing touches including 4 spacious bedrooms with private balconies, all have en suite bathrooms...
Our guest house is located on the cliffs overlooking the sea. All rooms are beautiful,spacious,en-suite and have stunning sea views and open onto private patio's. Sauna, heated pool, gym, bar, guest lounges, bicycles etc all inclusive. Watch whales
This fully furnished luxury apartment can accommodate 6 people in the greatest comfort. The accommodation comprises a lounge, dining room, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms plus a guest toilet and a fully equipped kitchen with laundry room. Added features ...
Master bedroom is spacious with king-sized bed, hairdryer, ceiling fan, generous wardrobes with personal safe and dressing area with en-suite (bath & shower). Looking out on to huge terrace with amazing ocean and mountain views. 2nd bedroom is a ...
Fairhill is a private nature and game reserve with fantastic sea and mountain views. This 10 sleeper house is situated on some 200 hectares of pristine coastal property just outside Stanford, on the Stanford - Gansbaai road.
Arniston is a favoured subject for artists and movie-makers. It is here that the southern right whale can be spotted migrating to and from the Antarctic. Where dunes embroider endless beaches and rustic white-washed cottages overlook a deep blue sea.
Kapensis Guesthouse is situated in the heart of the Western Cape's uniquely rich fynbos region and offers breathtaking mountain and distant ocean views from our 8.5-hectare fynbos farm on the outskirts of Pringle Bay.
Cheverells Farm Cottages are two self catering cottages set in the Orchards on a working Apple and Pear Farm in the Elgin Valley, South Africa.
Annamarie and David welcome you to The Potting Shed Accommodation. Enjoy personal service at this owner run establishment in the quaint town of Hermanus only one hour away from Cape Town International airport.
Merlon offers self catering accommodation for 10 people, in 5 bedrooms and three bathrooms. Bedrooms 1 and 5 have King Sized beds, bedrooms 2, 3 and 4 single beds. The beds in bedrooms 2 and 3 can be converted to King sized if required...
8-sleeper holiday home located on the beach at De Kelders, with magnificent sea views and a sun-drenched deck perfect for whale-watching or dolphin-spotting.
The Breede Riverine is only a three hour drive from Cape Town's busy city life, which is close enough to serve as a relaxing weekend getaway for city dwellers.
This quaint cottage sleeps 4 people and has 2 en suite bedrooms, one with double bed the other with 2 single beds, linen and bath towels are provided. Beach towel not provided. There is an open plan kitchen/living area.
You can expect the very best at this residence, from luxury bedrooms to quality service and fine cuisine. Each of the ten individually decorated en-suite bedrooms has a telephone, television and extra length beds with fine cotton linen...