I have been living in Hermanus for over 6 years now and I have never really written about the beautiful town I live in. The little town offers so much to both residents and visitors, but one doesn’t always know what to do when you are visiting, especially things to do with kids.
Hermanus was always a great destination for weekends and holidays when I was a child and most visits included socializing with friends and days spent on the beach. There is a lot to do other than sitting on the beach, so if you are visiting Hermanus soon, here are some things to do in Hermanus with kids that are FREE other than the obvious time and fuel involved to get to the various places.
I know I am stating the obvious by putting beaches on the list given Hermanus is obviously a beach town, but really, we have some amazing beaches. If I had to recommend specific beaches in Hermanus for families, here are the ones I would recommend and why:
- Grotto beach is a favourite and the most well-known beach. It’s a great beach for those who like to take long walks. The lagoon is a great location for kayaking, wind and kite surfing. I visit this beach regularly with my kids as it does offer a nice stretch to take a walk after a long day at work. And, there are dunes for kids to run and down on which wears them out nicely.
- Kammabaai – this beach is very popular with surfers and families. It’s a small beach and has beautiful rocks that can be climbed and plenty of space for kids to play, the sea isn’t rough. My boys particularly like a section of the beach where water there is a small stream. They can spend hours building a dam from the small trickle of water that comes through to the one particular section. You can walk along the path to Voelklip beach if you felt like a little walk. Parking is easy, toilets and showers are available. Because this is a very popular family beach, what often happens is kids who don’t know each other land up playing together.
- Sandbaai – this beach is for families who are keen for little rock pools. It’s not necessarily a beach for everyone, but I have come to enjoy visiting the beach and walking along the path that takes you the far end of Onrus. Generally, this is a quiet beach and kids enjoy the time there. It’s a small beach and lots of rocks, shells and seaweed around.
- Onrus – this is an old family favourite with many visitors! There are restaurants practically on the beach to grab food, coffee, ice cream, fish and chips, etc. There is a lagoon for kiddies to play in. The waves are great for newbie/kiddie surfer to advanced surfers. Those who enjoy a beach walk can enjoy a nice stretch of sand that can take you to the Onrus-Sandbaai path I mentioned above. And, families can walk the path alongside the road with their bikes and enjoy the scenery. There is also a great opportunity for kids to climb some rocks if you follow the path around the corner.
There are other beaches, but these are my boy’s top picks!
Fernkloof Nature Reserve
The reserve is enjoyed by many locals during the week, but regularly on weekends. There are some beautiful walks available and the most popular among families with small kids is the one to the waterfall which isn’t a hectic walk and perfect for little legs.
For those happy to walk a little longer, there’s a walk to the Three Dams which is a great walk and offers fantastic views of Hermanus and the reserve plus you can take a dip or a dive to cool off.
If hiking isn’t really your thing, there are picnic tables and there is plenty of space to chill under the trees, play a game of cricket with the kids or watch kids playing on the jungle gym. Tortoises can be spotted along with the odd guinea fowl and pheasant. And, quite often, a baboon or 2 will pop in to say hello.
The new harbour is a favourite of mine! I’m a sea lover of note and just a walk along the jetty is refreshing and a great activity for the kids. On a nice day, taking a walk down to the end of the jetty gives you the opportunity of seeing the seals lounging themselves on the rocks. Later in the day, from about 4pm onwards, you can quite often can catch a glimpse of a dolphin or 2. During whale season (around August/September), it’s also a great spot to see the Southern Right whales that visit each year.
The New Harbour is also great for kids to try out fishing. You most likely will catch dog sharks which are adorable and kids love to check them out close up before throwing them back.
There’s a restaurant (The Rock) and pub (Gecko) with great views of the sea.
Sea / Tidal Pools
There are a few spots offering a safe swimming experience and a place for kids to enjoy playing in the water with their nets, flippers and goggles.
One of my personal favourites is the Marine Tidal Pool which can be located across from the Marine Hotel. I used to fish there when I was about 9 years old and I now take my kids there on a hot summer’s day. You can take your fishing nets to catch a fish or 2. Kids who can swim can snorkel and see the different colours of sea anemones, shells, muscles and it’s very likely a starfish can be seen on the floor of the pools.
Two other pools available in the area including Davies pool (Onrus) and Fick’s Pool (Westcliff).
Piet se Bos
Piet se Bos is beautiful – a bit fairy garden-like (the above photos don’t do it justice). You walk under trees and along a wooden walkway and enjoy the smell of Melkbos trees, views of the sea in between the bushes, little streams here and there and just the surroundings. The last walk I did with my boys, we were not on the walkway and spotted a tiny little snack which my kids squealed excitedly about (me, not so much – mine was a loudish yelp with a extra high jump out the way!). It’s an easy walk for kids and once done, you can grab an ice cream at Dutchies or the regular ice cream van.
Hoy’s Koppie is an easy walk for the family. Depending on which route you go, it can be super easy or a little more challenging for those who struggle with steps. You can walk right up to the graves at the top of Hoy’s Koppie and see a 360-degree view of Hermanus. Park at the parking area opposite the Checkers Building / behind the United Church and start your walk there. It’s a really nice walk and if you walk around the koppie, you can check out the little cave around the side and maybe spot a tortoise or two.
There is a lot to do and it really depends what you are up for, but here’s a quick list of a few other things that are worth considering and if you have time for on a weekend away in Hermanus:
- Take a drive on Rotary Way to view Hermanus from up high. You may catch a glimpse of some paragliders and there’s a great section for flying/watching radio-controlled planes.
- Cliff paths: There are a few cliff paths that can be enjoyed. The most popular one is the one from the main centre of town which can be followed from the New Harbour right through to Voelklip. You can run or walk these paths – while enjoying the scenic views and whales during whale season. Along the way, there are opportunities of walking down some stairs to a tidal pool or small beach area.
- Parks: There are a few parks around for kids to play. The most popular one is on the foreshore, opposite where the restaurants are overlooking the sea. There is a seesaw, swing, slide and jungle gym for kids to enjoy and generally a place to meet other parents and Hermanus locals.
- Plaaskombuis: This is a restaurant you can go for a bite to eat or just a cup of coffee. It’s about 10 minutes’ drive into the Hemel-en-Aarde village area and has a great outdoor area for kids to enjoy.
- Gearings Point: One of my FAVOURITE spots in Hermanus! Perfect for whale watching, rock climbing and checking out the scenery. Art lovers may enjoy this part of Hermanus as there is often art pieces set up to admire and photograph.
I will be covering more activities for kids in and around Hermanus in the near future, but make sure to follow Ask Jack’s Mom for updates on what is happening in Hermanus for kids. Sandy runs the website and Facebook page and is very active on social media, so definitely worth a follow if you are a parent visiting Hermanus and want to see what’s happening on during your visit.