History of Hermanus

  • Province; Western Cape
  • Overberg
  • Coordinates: 34°25′S 19°15′E
  •  Area: 4.65 km2
  • Municipality: Overstrand

The town of Hermanus was originally called Hermanuspietersfontein. It was shortened in 1902 by the postmaster who felt the name was too long for envelopes. Hermanus Pieters was a Dutch teacher who arrived in Cape Town in 1815. He was quickly employed by Dutch farmers who wanted their children taught in Dutch. The language of education in government schools at the time was English. He settled in Caledon, but he taught children in a wide surrounding area. He took his holidays at the spring (fontein) which is in Hermanus. Here he fished and grazed his sheep. The place eventually became known as “Hermanus Pieter se fontyn”, but he died before it was named. Word got around that he had found fresh water and good grazing so many farmers followed him into the valley in search of the pasture and good fishing. From that time a permanent settlement was established. The first hotel was built in 1891 and the municipality was proclaimed in1904

Word spread overseas too and soon Harley Street doctors prescribed a stay here for rest and recuperation. Holidaymakers from around the world began to visit Hermanus.
Sir William Hoy who was head of the SA Railways and harbour services also took his family on holiday in Hermanus and was very fond of the town. At the time, plans had been drawn up to extend the railway line from Bot Rivier to Hermanus. The station was built but Sir William expressed concern about pollution of the local “champagne air” and also that hundreds of tourists would descend on the quiet town and spoil the peace he loved so much. He overruled the decision and Hermanus station is the only one in the world that has never seen a train. The building is presently used as the Hermanus tourism office.
In the 1940s a safer new harbour was built but the Old Harbour is a popular tourist attraction along with the Old Harbour Museum.
The town is now most famous for the whales which visit the shore from winter to spring. The southern right whale is the most prolific but not the only whale to visit the shores. The whales were once hunted and there was a whaling station in the nearby Bettys Bay. They are now protected. The Old Harbour Museum contains exhibits about the whaling industry.

The nearby hamlet of Onrus also has a great beach.  Onrus was home to several famous Afrikaner artists and authors, including  Gregoire Boonzaaier, Elsa Joubert, Uys Krige, Hennie Niemann, Jan Rabie and Marjorie Wallace.

The licence plate prefix for Hermanus is CEM, the postcode is 7200


All listings in Hermanus

Things to see and do in Hermanus


  • In June, The FynArts Festival 084 600 7058
  •  The Fernkloof holistic fair Tel: 028 316 5312
  • Wine and Food Festival  028 316 3988  at the Cuuro school
  • The Walker Bay Orchid Festival is held in September at the St. Peters church hall
  •   www.hermanuswhalefestival.co.za
  • Flower festival at Fernkloof  maver@mweb.co.za
  • Shaw’s mountain pass
  • Kalfie fees  at Onrus. Afrikaans entertainment weekend navrae@kalfiefees.co.za
  • Voelklip beach
  • 5 km Parkrun, every Saturday at 8:00 am. – Hermanus Forest, Camphill Road, Hemel en Aaarde Valley, Hermanus
  • Rotary way,(short walk) about 4 km from the town. At the entrance to Mt Pleasant, there is signage pointing to Rotary Way from where you will have a spectacular view over Walker Bay
  • HOY’s koppie: A rocky outcrop in the middle of Hermanus where Sir William Hoy and his wife Gertrude are buried. A stairway leads to the summit which provides panoramic views of the town. Klipgat cave here also was occupied by Neolithic people about 70,000 years ago.
  • Hermanus historical society
  • There are several choices for beach lovers in Hermanus.  The large Grotto beach has blue flag status. Brekfis bay is between Fisherhaven and Onrus. This beach is located between sand dunes which protect it from the wind. The beach at Onrus at the mouth of the Onrus River is a safe swimming area for children. In Season the beach attracts surfers. The Sandbaai beach is dotted with rocky outcrops with tidal pools which are great for snorkelling. In season the beach has lifeguards on duty.
  • Great surfing at Walker Bay
  • Hermanus municipal swimming pool is at 209 Malva Straat open daily from 8.00 to 17.00
  • The Hermanus MTB Trai.l Purchase a permit from Euodia Cycle 028 316 2119
  •  First Fridays is a monthly event in which all 22 galleries in the town remain open until 8.30 pm 083 259 8869
  • Art In The Park is open on the first Sunday of every month at the Country Market venue
  • Whale season in Hermanus is between June and December. Read about whales and dolphins here                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Useful Numbers


  • Police: 028 313 5300
  • Municipality-028 313 8000
  • Traffic department: 028 313 8111
  • Fire: Emergency – 028 312 2400
  • `Water:
  • Electricity:028 316-2630
  • Ambulance:028 312 3219
  • Post office;028 312 1500
  • Library:028 313 8077
  • Closest hospital; Mediclinic   086 173 2826
  • Public hospital: 028 313 5200/ 01
  • Clinic– Zwelihle Clinic- 028 313 5700
  • Sea Rescue-028 312 3180
  • Local paper   Hermanus times  028 312 3717
  • Pharmacy;028 312 4039
  • SPCA: 028 312 1281 – Hermanus Animal Welfare. adoptions@hermanusanimalwelfare.co.za.
  •  Injured Animals and/or Birds on the Beach 028 312 2609 
  • Hermanus Ratepayers Association (HRA); 028 313 1351
  • Tourism ; 028 313 1351[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

  • Schools– Hermanus Primary-028 312 1
    Hermanus High School-028 312 3760
    Generation Schools Hermanus-087 285 5837
    Hermanus Waldorf School-028 316 2938
    Mount Pleasant Primary School-028 313 0816
    Zwelihle Primary School-074 233 3317
    Qhayiya Secondary School-028 313 0001
    Lukhanyo Primary School-028 312 1552
    Hermanus Christian Academy-028 316 2674


Local Listings