The coast road to Hermanus from Cape Town via the N2 and R44 takes around an hour and a half or so and passes fynbos, beaches, penguin colonies and lagoons. When you get off the N2 the R44 turns towards Gordon's Bay, where there's a small harbour - looking back over Strand beach, the views of the ocean are spectacular. The coast road hugs the ocean all the way to Hermanus passing Betty's Bay and the penguins at Stony Point. It's just a stunning drive. All the way there you edge the ocean, and can stop at view points to look for whales as they traverse the shore.
Hermanus itself is a small place on the edge of Walker Bay. Southern Right whales arrive in the bay in June and stay until November, although we have seen them into December as well. You can walk any number of trails along the coast to view the whales from the shoreline. The trails stretch for 10km from New Harbour to Klein River. In season you will see mothers with their calves in the shallows below the cliffs, their arrival usually announced by the famous Hermanus Whale Crier. There are lots of beaches and good places to stay ranging from guesthouses to The Marine, a superb luxury hotel on the cliff.
Further along the coast is Gansbaai - Grootbos is a fabulous place to stay if you are keen to see the Marine Big Five (whales, sharks, penguins, seals and dolphins). There are many boat-based trips to take advantage of here and elsewhere on the Garden Route, particularly from Plettenberg Bay. This stretch of coastline is home to all nine species of great whale. Undoubtedly some of the best whale watching is from the shore at Walker Bay between Hermanus and Gansbaai.
A self-drive tour along the world-famous Garden Route including Knysna, Hermanus, the Winelands and Cape Town