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Hermanus - The Place to See Whales and More
The distance from Cape Town to Hermanus is 105 kilometers. This gorgeous seaside town has a proud history dating back to the early 1800's when a man by the name of Hermanus Pieters followed a path etched into the ground by a herd of elephants. He was a teacher and shepard he traveled south of Caledon along the elephant trail and ended up next to the sea where he discovered a fresh spring.

Hermanus Pieters decided to set up camps next to a spring with fine grazing for his livestock. This beautiful setting became known as Hermanuspietersfontein. As farmers begun to hear of his success they made their journeys to this new and fertile location. The fish was plentiful and the fishermen had great successes.

A church and school were built in 1886 at Hermanuspietersfontein. 1902 the postmaster's complained of the long name, Hermanuspietersfontein became Hermanus. The town was so filled with fresh sea air that it was common for doctors to recommend a trip to Hermanus for their patient's health.

Walker Bay is the place you will find Hermanus near the Southern Tip of Africa. Magnificent mountains watch over the town which is home of the Southern Right Whale. Temperature is average 14 °C in winter with many sunny days, and mild with high winds at times.

Temperature in summer is 26 °C dry and sunny, with extreme heat tempered by sea breeze. Hermanus is one of the best whale watching spots in South Africa, with its own Whale Crier - he announces the sighting of whales with a blow of his kelp horn, calling everyone in the town to come watch the whales.

The Old Harbor Museum is a landmark of the town, which has an outside display of an old sea wall, old fishing boats - stone fishing huts. They display anything used for fishing in the early days. In the Hemel & Aarde Valley - outside Hermanus you can visit the Hermanus Wine Route. This area is fast making a name for itself for its magnificent Burgundy varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Great White Shark Diving, in a safe environment. This is where you can experience the Great White Shark in their natural environment. Most visitors come to visit Hermanus to see the Whales.

The Southern Right Whale was so named because it was slow-moving and the 'right' whale to hunt. They are rich in oil and baleen (the large food filter plates which hang from the roof of its mouth) and a whale which floated in the water when killed.

Today, the northern right whale is virtually extinct. In the southern hemisphere populations show a slow increase since international protection in 1935. There are estimated to be about 4 000 southern right whales at present, with South Africa receiving the major percentage visiting its coasts annually.

The southern right whale will be found between about 30° and 55° South. The whales migrate south during the summer months to feed on krill, and north during winter and spring to mate and calve. They appear around the coastline from as early as May and they stay to December. They can be seen in the bays and coves close inshore and near river mouths.

This whale can be distinguished from its absent dorsal fin and V-shaped 'blow'. The callosities on the whales head are actual outgrowths of tough skin which form different patterns on each individual and which are used for identification.

The blow of whale is like hearing the breath of life. The blow is a cloud of vapor produced largely by condensation when warm breath comes into contact with cooler air.

It also contains oily mucus from the respiratory tract of the whale. Whales have large brains and are sensitive creatures. Strong bonds exist between females and their calves. They are non-aggressive and gentle towards man. As yet, knowledge about whales is fragmentary. They need our protection.
About the Author
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail address: southafricantravelarticles@12234455.co.za. Website address: www.12234455.co.za.
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