|THE CLIFF PATH IN
HERMANUS IS UNIQUE!
Where else can you traverse an entire town along its coast? With its extraordinary diversity of scenery, rocky coves, sandy beaches and secluded forest glades, the Cliff Path is unequalled anywhere.
The conservation value of the coastal area has been recognised by its inclusion in a proclaimed nature reserve - a step taken not a moment too soon to protect this fragile ecosystem.
The Cliff Path attracts thousands of whale-watchers every year for the best shore-based whale-watching in the world; but not only whale-watching may be enjoyed on the Cliff Path - it is also a nature-lover's paradise. Originally constructed by the Hermanus Botanical Society and now maintained by the local municipality, the Cliff Path meanders for more than 1Okm from the New Harbour in the west to the mouth of the Klein River in the east. It takes you past famous fishing spots, whale-watching view points, multimillion rand homes and the original fishing harbour, now a museum and National Monument. It also winds through a fascinating diversity of vegetation types with an astonishing number of flowering plants to be seen.
Landmarks to look out for:
- Scotsmans Point adjoining the New Harbour where the Cliff Path begins. The harbour was completed in l951 as a safe anchorage for
commercial and private craft and now sports restaurants , the National Sea Rescue headquarters and a Boat Club.
- Rietfontein marks the beginning of the Marine Reserve where angling from the rocks is permitted but no other disturbance of marine life is
allowed. Explore the fresh water spring, flat rock banks and
sheltering cliffs where the first fisherfolk of Hermanus settled in
about l856. No trace of their stay remains.
- Hottentotsbank, Tamatiebank, Preekstoel, Platbank - wellknown
fishing spots where bottom-feeding fish such as Hottentot and the
occasional White Stumpnose can be caught, while the Steenbras
feeds at Castle rock and Gearing's Point near the Old Harbour.
- Fick's pool, tidal, and the hidden spring of Hermanus Pieters,
the shepherd after whom the town is named.
- Windsor Hotel overlooking the wheelchair friendly walkway to
Gearing's Point and the Old Harbour. The point is a favourite
spot for viewing the migratory Southern Right Whales which visit
Walker Bay between June and late November to calve and mate.
The Old Harbour has been upgraded to museum status with a whale
exhibit and environmental education centre.
- Bientang's Cave , named after the last survivor of a band of
strandlopers, who died at the end of the l9th century, now houses a
- The Marine Hotel, built in the early 1900's, overlooks a public
- Roman Rock, named after the Red Roman (Rooi Man) fish.
This section of the path ends at Sea Road, where private properties
extend to the high-water mark. The path can be rejoined from the
Main Road next to Mollergren Park.
- Mickey, a rocky islet white-sheeted with guano from the flocks of
White-breasted and Cape cormorants which roost there. Endemic
fur seals often form a ring near the rocks, the better to hunt their prey.
- Kraal Rock, famed for fishing and an ideal spot for whale and dolphin
watching together with Die Gang and Sievers Punt next door.
- Kwaaiwater, aptly named for the waves that come crashing and
thundering over the rocks and into the small shelly beach. The
Mossel River tumbles out into the sea here - from its source high
in Fernkloof, its course is entirely in a nature reserve. The Cape
Clawless Otter, often seen hunting for fish in the breakers, uses
the stream as a corridor to the mountains where it feeds on fresh
water crabs. Galjoen, South Africa's national fish, is caught in
the turbulent sea water.
- Langbaai, Kammabaai, Voelklip, Grotto are popular bathing beaches.. On the edge of Grotto's parking area is the cave after
which the beach is named. The path runs under ancient forest
land where white milkwood, wild camphor, boekenhout, Cape
holly and hardpear grow side by side.
- Piet-se-bos is at the end of the path where a panoramic view of
Die Plaat stretches across the mouth of the lagoon.
CLIFF PATH FLORA AND FAUNA:
- Flowers of all kind abound on the Cliff Path, from the deep pink Cliff Lily Gladiolus carmineus to the rare green orchid Bonatea
speciosa, purple `vygies', yellow daisies and white-starred 'boegoe'.
Rock Dassies sun themselves on cliff ledges, the Cape Mole Rat burrows happily in the soft Kwaaiwater sand while overhead the large Kelp Gull and smaller Hartlaub's Gull wheel and dive. The rare red-beaked African Black Oyster Catcher perches on outlying wave-washed rocks. On sunny days aromatic perfume from grey-leaved everlasting healing plants scents the air.
- Here are samples of the beauty the Cliff Path offers: