I joined up with Earthstompers Garden Route and Addo National Park tour for an amazing 5 days of sight-seeing and good company. Day 1: Cape Town – Hermanus – Cape Agulhas
Sitting under the dappled sun at Burgundy restaurant in the small seaside town of Hermanus, looking across the water, local craft beer in hand, I experienced one of those solo travel moments of pure happiness. The only break in my reverie was the occasional shouts of excitement and quickly formed crowds of a Southern Right Whale sighting.
After a morning of admiring more African Penguins at Betties Bay (the larger and, in my opinion, better spot to see these little guys than Boulders Beach) with my small Earthstompers tour group, I chose to forgo the popular whale spotting boat tour to explore Hermanus on my own. Even from across the ocean I could hear my family groan as I made this choice, all I can say in my defence is that we had already spotted a small pod of these local whales on the cliff side drive in. It was exciting and endearing, watching them frolic and rear their heads. But, simply put, after a jam-packed week I just wasn’t feeling it.
On the other hand, pasta, beer and cheesecake in the sun? THAT I could get behind. Especially as the whole thing cost me about $14AUD and the staff were friendly and attentive (and won’t judge you for ordering the pint-sized beer).
Hermanus is one of those sleepy coastal towns that even the hoards of people taking advantage of the Woman’s Day public holiday couldn’t interfere with the serenity.
A 12 kilometre footpath wraps its way around the bay, providing perfect views and vantage points for whale spotting. Restaurants stand just back from the foreshore, along with shops of all kinds and a small curio market selling traditional African crafts, clothing and a few unexpected gems.
As the the tour van rolled back into town to pick me up, I was already aware of the stories I would hear by the looks on my fellow traveller’s faces. Yes we saw a couple. But we froze. And the water was incredibly choppy. We’re not sure it was worth it. And now please pass me the vomit bag.
Sometimes it pays to go with your gut.
Especially when you have a 2 hour drive in a packed up mini van to deal with. The destination? Cape Agulhas, a rocky headland whose main claims to fame is being the place where two great oceans – the Indian and Atlantic – meet and being the real southern-most point of South Africa. Oh, and a super cute red and white striped lighthouse.
You don’t need long there, although there are two small towns nearby ready to welcome newcomers. But there is something about the setting sun, gentle hum of rolling waves and laughter of people just letting themselves be tourists and taking photos with the giant plaque erected in stone to signify the significance of this place, that makes it well worth a stop.