Hermanus & The Whale Coast

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The typical image of whale watching is being wrapped in oilskins and fleeces against foul and freezing weather on a small boat. Picture instead sitting on a sun-drenched restaurant patio, sipping a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and watching southern right whales and their calves playing in the ocean in front of you, just yards off shore. Thanks to the steeply shelving cliffs of the Whale Coast shoreline, this is exactly what happens between July and November. Boat trips out to see the whales are always popular, and it is from here that the more intrepid can go cage diving with great white sharks. There’s more to the Whale Coast than massive or terrifying marine life, and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley now boasts some of South Africa’s most sought-after wine estates, whilst Saturday craft markets are also popular in the area. The Whale Coast stretches from Cape Town around the edge of Walker Bay down to Cape Agulhas, and this exhilarating cliff-top road, made more exciting by the chance of spotting whales, really is one of the most memorable drives in South Africa. At Cape Agulhas you are as far south as it is possible to go on the African continent, and at the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

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