Lower Sabie Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park
Today we ventured a couple hours southeast to the town of Hermanus, which is known as the best land-based whale watching destination in the world. Southern Right Whales visit Walker Bay each June through December and often can be viewed from the rocks along the shore.
On the beautiful drive out, we stopped at a turnout overlooking the town of Somerset West where there were local vendors selling all sorts of carved animals and other goods.
After a couple hours, we made it to the town of Hermanus right on the Indian Ocean coast. The restaurants and shops and hotels overlook the ocean and there is a small strip of nature preserve that separates the commerce from the water.
We took a short walk on the Cliff Path at the Fernkloof Nature Reserve where the views were stunning.
We didn't see any whales from the Cliff Path, but it didn't matter.
Walking along the path, we got our first look at a Rock Hyrax also known as a Rock Rabbit or a Dassie. And then we saw another in the sun.
And I got a photo of a Lesser Double-Collared Sunbird. The birds here are amazing. Even the common birds are colorful. We have these guys in the yard at the B & B.
Every bird was new to us, and being birding hobbyists, it was fun seeing new species and trying to identify them.
Still having not seen a whale, we decided to have lunch. Jackie selected the Fusion Cafe' for us. We sat outside and had a view of the ocean.
After lunch, the ladies did a little shopping while me, Ed, & Tony had a Dom Pedro (ice cream, kahlua, and whiskey), a traditional after-meal treat.
The rand is currently at about 7.70 to our American dollar, so we are still struggling figuring out how much anything costs. After doing the math, we are finding meals, drinks, and goods cheaper than in the U.S.
After lunch, we walked the path along the coast again, searching for whales. We heard the horn of the Whale Crier.
Hermanus is known as the home of the "World's Only Whale Crier". Since 1992, the whale crier has been alerting people to whale sightings along the coast. His horn blasts correspond to a code that he wears on a sandwich board as he patrols. The code, like a Morse code, indicates where the whales have been sighted according to the map on his board.
Sure enough, we could see a whale close to us and another close to shore but farther away. Just like the photos I've seen, I could take pics of the whales with people on the rocks in the foreground.
That is soooo cool.
That particular whale was cruising along with a baby. I never got a shot with both of them on the surface, but here's a photo of the adult's spout.
I wasn't really sure if the whales were that common and could be seen from shore that easily. I'm a believer now. I could have sat there in that gorgeous setting and watched for whales for hours.
We had a great time in Hermanus, and we were so glad we made the trip. If we ever get the chance to come back to South Africa, this coastal town is certainly worthy of a longer visit.
Eventually, we started back toward Cape Town, but we took a longer coastal route with mountains on our right .....
and ocean on our left. We pulled off at a couple of the turnouts along the way.
The views were spectacular.
Not only that, but at one turnout, we spotted three more whales. They were just a little off shore but not in very good light for photos. We could hear them breathe when they surfaced to blow. I got one decent shot.
And then .... we saw two full breaches where one came completely out of the water. Wow!! None of us got photos of the breaches, but everyone saw at least one of them.
And just below us in the water and on the rocks, there were Cape Fur Seals. We got good looks through the binoculars.
What a day!! It was amazing.