16 November 2010

Hermanus: Cliff Path - West

Date: 14 November 2010

Location: Hermanus

Walkers: Michele & Helen

More info about the route here. And a map here.

Michele and I made a day-trip to Hermanus, a sea-side town along the east coast, an hour or two's drive from Cape Town. It was a beautiful sunny day but the wind was blowing quite strongly. Looking out across Walker Bay the sea was an lovely intense blue, but rather choppy.

We parked near the town centre and walked out onto Gearing's Point view site, from where we got a look back down to the Old Harbour.

Our plan was to walk along Hermanus's famous Cliff Path. This route runs almost the whole length of the town, approximately 10km. I think it's wonderful that the strip of land between the sea and the houses is a nature reserve (part of Fernkloof) and is accessible to everyone. We chose to walk west, towards the New Harbour. The path was very clearly marked and signposted, making for very easy and pleasant walking.

We were very much hoping to see whales. Southern Right Whales come into Walker Bay from June to November every year to mate and calve. We first spotted several folks looking out to sea (with camera and binocular in hand) and sure enough, we too soon saw the whale in the bay. So exciting! She showed us her tail and her side fin, but mostly just the top of her head and the length of her back as she bobbed just beneath the surface. Huge.

The sea was really rough. I can watch waves crash over rocks for hours.

The water was so churned up it was almost opaque.

After our whale-and-wave-watching we continued on along the board-walk...

.. and then out along the top of the cliffs, past several rocky points.

We passed Fick's tidal pool. I was astonished that no-one was swimming as it looked heavenly.

We followed the path for a couple of kilometres. There were many, many benches along the way and we stopped a few times to enjoy the view. Although there were lots of people, including bus-loads of tourists, near the town centre we saw only a handful of people on this part of the walk.

The coastal bush was green and lush and quite fragrant. I loved the clumps of pink vygies. It was almost impossible to photograph any flowers though as it was really very blustery.

We got close pretty to New Harbour, but the heat and the wind were getting a bit much, so we decided to turn around and walk back.

We detoured onto the road for a bit, and saw a mongoose.

He was very aware of us and, after thinking about it for a few moments, decided not to cross the road. Funny little guy.

After a rest and a delicious lunch at one of the local restaurants we decided to explore some more. We set off from the town centre again but this time we followed the Cliff Path to the east, to walk the central section of Cliff Path. What a beautiful stretch of coastline this is!

We came to another fabulous tidal pool, the Marine Pool. And it wasn't long til we came across more whale watchers...

... and again we saw whales quite close in to shore: a mother and her baby. Further out we saw other whales breaching (jumping out of the water). These two close by were just riding the swells and occasionally blowing spray. They seemed very content.

Further on we saw a dassie (rock hyrax) sunning himself on the path.

He seemed quite unconcerned about us as he stretched himself out even more on the warm concrete. He was loving the heat!

Around the next bend we came across more dassies, some furiously munching on the plants, others having sand baths.

Just past Roman Rock this section of path ended. Private properties extend all the way to the sea for the next few hundred metres or so. One can rejoin the path beyond this. This east section of Cliff Path then extends all the way to the east end of the town. But we decided to leave that walk for another day, and turned around and headed back to town.

We loved this walk - it was varied and interesting, with truly spectacular scenery. I look forward to walking the other half of Cliff Path one day.


1 comment:

Firefly the Travel Guy said...

This is a walk that I definitively still want to do. I obviously have done the main section from where most of the bus loads of tourists would stare out to sea, but haven't done the whole walk. The pink vygies are in full bloom down here by us as well.