Settling in Hermanus
South Africa is a unique and varied place with different environments throughout the country. Along Walker Bay, on the south coast of Western Cape, at the most southerly point of Africa lays Hermanus. This is a beautiful town and the only land-based location that you can regularly observe whales. Having begun as a small fishing town, and has grown into both a tourist resort and a retirement town. Whether you are looking for an exciting place to live or a new and exotic place to holiday, Hermanus may be the place you are looking for because of all of the wonderful options of things to see and do that the area has to offer.
The History of Hermanus
The town was founded in the early 1800s by its namesake, Hermanus Pieters, a shepherd and teacher. One day, he came across an elephant trail and followed it to the sea, where he came upon a spring. He realized this would be a perfect spot for his sheep to graze during the summer. He also spread the word to the farmers in the area, and the little spring became known as Hermanuspietersfontein. Unfortunately, this name was considered a bit long. Around a century later, when the town was given municipal status in 1904, the name was shortened to Hermanus in order to fit on postal documents. So now, Hermanus it is.
Although originally discovered by farmers, Hermanus became a settlement for fisherman. The town was considered to have excellent fishing, outstanding beauty and a “healing” air. In fact, many doctors in London were prescribing visits to Hermanus to their patients in order to cleanse themselves.
The beauty of this area was so awe-inspiring that Sir William Hoy, General Manager of the Railways, refused to allow tracks leading to the town. It still has a historic railway station structure that has no tracks. The goal behind this was to maintain the area’s purity rather than to create an area of commercialism. Even today as Hermanus has been able to avoid being turned into a commercialized area, it is still called “the village” by the locals because of the quaint atmosphere.
Archaeological evidence shows that the area was inhabited long before Hermanus Pieters discovered it. An indigenous people known as Khoisan used to live here prior to his arrival. Since 1992, the town has become best known as a land-based whale watching spot of international repute.
Job Opportunities in Hermanus
Hermanus is still considered a fishing town, and much of the jobs to be found would be in that industry. However, with its reputation as a popular resort growing, there are also jobs to be found in the hotel industry. There are also craft markets held every weekend in and around Hermanus where you can sell anything from clothes to art to food. Aside from that, the town is known as a retirement spot, meaning that many of the elderly had developed hobbies that include home-based businesses.
Education in Hermanus
The first school was built in 1868, and was part of St Peter’s Church. Since then, Hermanus High School has developed, whose philosophy is the commitment to foster the development and potential of each learner. The school has become quite popular in the area, and is available to families with children who move into the area.
Things to Do in Hermanus
Because of its location, Hermanus is not only a fisherman’s area, but also a place of water sports, whale watching and other enjoyment for the locals to partake in. Grotto Beach, which is the largest beach in the town, has been labeled a world heritage site. Other beaches around Hermanus are also popular hotspots for the people in the area to either work or play.
The main attraction in Hermanus is the whale watching. During the southern winter and spring many visitors witness the migration of southern right whales. Hermanus still has whale spotters that use their horns made of kelp in order to signify a sighting. Additionally, the locals also host an annual whale festival in September. This is in celebration of the whales returning to the bay area to calve and mate. The first whales of the season typically return in August when there is a Kalfiefees (Calf Festival).
Some other points of interest are the Hermanus Yacht Club where many people come to visit to partake in boating in their luxury boats. In the Eastcliff area is the Hermanus Golf Club which is considered to be one of the most striking golf courses in all of the country.
Other places to visit include some of the historical sites. There are numerous old fisherman cottages that are quite fascinating. The Windsor Hotel and the Marine Hotel are also infamous pieces of history in the area.
As anyone can see, there are lots of things to see and do in this phenomenal coastal town. While it maintains the beauty of the ocean, it adds to the appeal of why Hermanus is naturally a wonderful place to settle.