WORDS: KIT HEATHCOCK IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK
No longer just a holiday town with a sleepy retirement community for the rest of the year, Hermanus is attracting more and more families as permanent residents, for the quality of life, mild climate and small town vibe, an escape from the city with Cape Town still within day-trip reach.
“Bringing up children in Hermanus is fantastic as we now have the very best of both public and private schools on offer as well as the great outdoors,” says Michelle Wilson. “We love being active and healthy and do regular trail runs and mountain bike races locally.”
Andree Noska remembers bringing up her children here. “Long walks on Grotto beach as the sun set, gatherings at Kammabaai… later watching the kids surf.” After moving away to Franschhoek for a few years, she’s back for the next phase of her life. “I returned to Hermanus as a retired elder person forging new friendships through the many opportunities that the town offers – U3A (University of the 3rd Age), music concerts, there’s so much to do in such a small town.”
And there’s plenty for the younger generation besides all the beach fun. “When I was still in school, my friends and I were into skateboarding and long boarding,” says Cleo Middelmann, who was born and raised here. As they got older they discovered Hermanus’ party scene. “A wide variety of clubs and pubs, safe and not overrun by older generations, where we had many memorable nights!” Growing up in a small town has other benefits, she says – being able to walk everywhere, almost no traffic except during holidays, and “everyone in a small town knows one another and is always prepared to help one another out”. Property Hugging the cliffs and beaches overlooking Walker Bay, Hermanus has a wide variety of property, from apartments and family homes to lavish holiday homes, guesthouses and secure gated estates. A constant demand – both from South Africans relocating and foreign swallows buying summer homes – has spurred development, so the small town is growing, with upmarket lifestyle estates such as Hemel-en-Aarde Estate and Fernkloof Golf Estate, and retirement developments such as Onrus Manor, Kidbrook Place and Negester Onrus gradually expanding its boundaries. Infrastructure has grown alongside – Hermanus Medical Village is a new oncology, orthopaedic and eye day hospital, alongside the existing state hospital and Mediclinic. And Hermanus recently got its first shopping mall and movie theatre for rainy day diversions.
Families appreciate the choice of schools: private Curro Hermanus and Generation Schools Hermanus going all the way from preschool to matric, and the well-regarded local public schools. “Hermanus Primary School and Hermanus High School are both amazing schools with an incredible sense of pride in everything they do,” says Cleo, who attended them herself.
Life in Hermanus is lived outdoors as much as possible. “As a family we love going to our happy place, hiking in the mountains of Vogelgat private reserve and walking to the local waterfalls in Fernkloof Nature Reserve,” says Michelle. “The kids love playing on the amazing beaches, surfing and building sandcastles.” Local favourite beaches include Voëlklip, Grotto beach, Langbaai and Kammabaai. “Kammabaai is one of the most amazing beaches to go to, for swimming, tanning or playing bat and ball,” says Cleo.
The town buzzes with the Fynarts Festival in June, the Whale festival in September, preceded by a fynbos and flower festival. It’s a popular weekend destination for Capetonians too, with a busy Saturday farmers market, quirky shops and cafes around the old harbour, the whale museum, and lots more to explore along the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley for wine-tasting and good food, as well as beautiful scenery. You don’t even have to leave town to walk for miles along the picturesque cliff paths, spotting southern right whales in the bay, dassies on the cliffs, all the way to the milkwood forest behind Grotto beach. No wonder so many weekenders and holiday visitors dream of moving to Hermanus permanently.
Pam Golding Properties Hermanus | 028 312 1110
Hermanus has transformed from an idyllic holiday destination into a vibrant and beautiful place to live, work, raise a family and ultimately retire. Its world-class medical and educational institutions and sports facilities have added to the already dynamic retail and hospitality sectors. The real estate environment has consequently grown exponentially over the last 10 years, but is now stabilising in line with national market forces to offer excellent value. Outstanding properties are available for sale here catering to every level of the market, from affordable apartments, and sectional title developments, to popular security estates, free-standing homes, upmarket sea-front properties, and lifestyle farms.
Nicola Lloyd, area manager 082 443 8376 | email@example.com
RE/MAX Town and Country Hermanus | 021 010 0685
Location, location, location… is what makes Hermanus a great place to invest in and enjoy a rewarding lifestyle. The “French Riviera of the South”, Hermanus has the best land-based whale-watching in the world. This coastal town has boomed, mainly as Somerset West has emerged as the new economic hub of the Western Cape. Akin to growth between Joburg, Midrand and Tshwane, Hermanus is a central pillar in the Overberg grid. Add excellent health care, schools, shopping and entertainment and you have a recipe for high property returns. With upscale estates like Fernkloof, Arabella and Benguela Cove, the area caters to the rich and famous but also to families who can afford R1,8m and even less.
Johann Larney, broker owner 074 194 7927 | firstname.lastname@example.org
We love the variety offered outdoors – Rotary Drive with its spectacular views, the lagoon, the different beaches and all the wonderful cliff walks. Not to forget the spectacular Hemel-en-Aarde Valley with its world-class wine farms. ANDREE NOSKA, RESIDENT
- Lizette’s Kitchen: inspired country gastro fare
- Harbour Rock: sushi and seafood overlooking the harbour
- Pear Tree Bistro: locally-sourced bistro fare for lunch and dinner
- Barefoot Cook: fresh seasonal and creative bistro off the beaten track
- La Pentola: seafood, game with a touch of fusion and panoramic ocean views
- Fabio’s Ristorante: traditional Italian food including excellent pizzas
- Burgundy: bistro food and breakfasts with a prime ocean view near the harbour
- Belgian Waffles: breakfasts with a view
- Moltenos: wood-fired pizzas, Sunday roasts, seafood and steaks in Onrus
HEMEL-EN-AARDE WINE ROUTE
- Creation Wines
- Newton Johnson
- La Vierge
- Stanford Hills
- Bouchard Finlayson
- Whale-watching from the cliffs or on boat trips
- Hike to the waterfalls in Fernkloof Nature Reserve
- Vogelgat Private Reserve for mountain hikes and bird-watching
- Vermont salt pan for bird-watching and a large seasonal flamingo population
- Lagoon for bird-watching, water sports, fishing and swimming