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...
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...
Cactus Lodge provides self-catering accommodation for up to 12 people. It is ideal for a romantic getaway, a relaxing family holiday, a group of friends wishing to reconnect or for corporate motivational groups.
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...
South Point is a small, personal, 3 star graded, highly recommended establishment, situated in the southernmost town in Africa, L'Agulhas. The southernmost tip of Africa, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet, is within the gates of Agulhas..
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
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...
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.
Skipskop in Pearly Beach, Western Cape s self catering cottage where falling asleep with the sound of waves drowning your last senses, and wake up in the morning whilst watching the waves breaking on the shore from the comfort of your bed.
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...
138 Marine Beachfront Guesthouse is an elegant, upmarket guesthouse with spectacular sea front views. It is one of the few guesthouses in the Hermanus area which is situated right at the beachfront - any closer and you'd have a whale in your bath!
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.
Swellendam, nestling below the majestic Langeberg mountain range, is the historical heart of the Overberg with many fine examples of early Victorian and Cape Dutch architecture.
Jubilee Hill is a self-catering cottage situated on the historical farm, Zoetendals Vallei, which has been in the van Breda family since 1817. The cottage is situated 6.5 km from the coastal town of Struisbaai with its beautiful white beaches that...
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.