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...
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.
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.
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 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...
Muurkraal Cottage is situated on a working grain and sheep farm 35km outside Swellendam on the R319 in the direction Bredasdorp. The cottage is situated close to the main house overlooking wheatlands and the Langeberg Mountains
The Lookout at Whale Cove is a beautifully appointed 3-bedroomed, six sleeper self-catering apartment situated directly on the seafront in De Kelders, just 3km from Gansbaai and 40km from Hermanus. Magnificent sea views across Walker Bay and the...
Norfolk Guest House is ideally situated within easy walking distance to all the amenities and a stones throw from the cliff path, famous for unforgettable whale viewing.
Klip River Cabin is a self-catering cottage, situated on Worcester Road on the banks of the Klip River in Grabouw and can accommodate 8 guests.
Eastcliff Cottage is part of an original Hermanus home, built in 1940, with beautiful Oregon floors and ceiling. Sleeping 2 people, is situated in the heart of Eastcliff, and is within very easy walking distance of the village centre and seafront.
The Southern Beach House is situated in the tranquil little village of suiderstrand, in the Agulhas National Park. This self-catering house can sleep up to 8 people. The house and flat is about 250m from the sea which boasts a pebble beach and...
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.
Seesig accommodation is a spacious holiday home in the street, directly adjacent to the popular swimming beach of Struisbaai. The lovely spacious holiday home, consisting of a main house and a separate apartment, has unobstructed views of Struisbaai.
This large stylish home overlooks the Hermanus Lagoon and is ideal for any water sports enthusiast. A Self Catering House known as Lagoon View situated in Kleinriviers Vlei.Perfect for entertaining indoor or outdoors.
MARINE DRIVE MANOR is situated on the beach front in the tranquil, seaside village of Vermont /Onrus, a mere 5 minute drive from the popular coastal town of Hermanus. By day, watch the whales frolic in the waves from your veranda and by night...
Chalet 10, Meerensee is a self catering property about an hour's drive away from Cape Town International Airport and 6km outside Hermanus on the R43.
At Yellowwood cottage is a spacious 4 bedroom cottage within walking distance of the beautiful Kleinmond beach.
Enjoy the peace and tranquility of Lavender Cottages, less than an hour from Cape Town. Lavender Cottages are set amongst apple orchards offering spectacular views of the Elgin Valley, famous not only for its fruit, but also for its beautiful gardens
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.