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...
Dovecote Cottage is owned by Pam and Bruce Toms who live adjacent and are readily available to offer assistance or advice should it be required. The cottage nestles on Flower Street which is set back two blocks from the sea giving easy access...
Situated right on the exquisite natural beauty of the Klein River; 21 hectares, north facing with uninterrupted views of the Klein River mountains that run parallel to the river. Five beautiful double rooms each with en suite bathrooms and covered...
The Brown Jug, centrally situated in sought after Eastcliff, a quiet leafy suburb, is a mere two minute stroll to the shops, restaurants and seafront where you can enjoy the famous whale watching from the cliff tops in all its beauty.
Tides offers three self catering cottages and one Boathouse all are right on the banks of the river and have stunning views, verandahs and braai areas. Bedrooms have Queen size beds, 100% cotton linen. Kitchens are fully equipped.
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...
A stone's throw from the cliff paths overlooking Walker Bay is House on Westcliff. This boutique Bed and Breakfast comprises six charming rooms furnished with eclectic African and European design combining the best of antiquity with modern comfort and fea
Whale Cove A104 on Cliff Street, De Kelders, is a four star rated, three bedroom,two bathroom luxury self catering seafront apartment with spectacular sunsets and views across the bay to Hermanus. It is one of the best land based whale watching spots in
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 tastefully decorated house and flat, with beautiful sea views, is situated on the beach front, in a quiet cul-de-sac, only 10 minutes away from the resort town Hermanus! Walk out the front door, onto the magnificent seaside cliff path with ...
The name "Spatsels" (sea spray) says it all of this house 100 meters from the beach. A panoramic view from the open plan kitchen, lounge and dining room allows you to watch the whales at play
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.
Sea Star Cliff is a luxury lodge providing guest house accommodation on the rugged Atlantic Ocean coastline. The luxuriously appointed guesthouse was designed and decorated with luxury in mind to create a perfect getaway from city life.
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.
This charming home is perfectly situated a short 3 min walk from town and 50m from the cliff path. Whether you're in search of a family holiday, reunion, small personal wedding, conference or a business team building location, Protea House is a firm favou
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 house with a perfect location, right on the sea, 4 Bedrooms, of which 2 en-suite and the rest share 1 bathroom. 4 Bedrooms, of which 2 en-suite and the rest share 1 bathroom. 8 meters from the sea...
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.
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.