General

What types of whales can be seen in Hermanus?

It is quite amazing how close these mammals come to vantage points on the shoreline.  The cliff paths in front of Schulphoek Guesthouse have many benches strategically placed allowing people to sit and survey the bay and savour the beauty of the whales. The following whales are spotted in Walker Bay in the Hermanus region:

  • Right Whale (August to December)

The Right Whale is a frequent visitor to Hermanus, where mothers come to calf and raise their young before returning to the cold southern waters of the anti-artic to feed. These majestic creates weigh up to 100 tons and can be easily seen from the high cliffs overlooking Walker bay.

Megaptera novaeangliae is baleen whale with a hump as a part of its dorsal fin. Humpback behavior includes acrobatic leaping out of the water, slapping of its fins and flukes on the water, and a song that includes long sequences of squeaks, grunts, and other sounds. The humpback is seldom seen close to the shore, but is viewable from Hermanus’ cliffs.

Dolphins often come into Schulphoek bay to fish – they can be seen in large pods that coral fish into the bay. We often see them passing in small groups in the morning during breakfast, where their antics and surfing in the waves can be viewed from the front porch.
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Who is the “Whale Crier”?

Hermanus has its very own whale crier who stands on the cliffs and blows a kelp horn (seaweed) to signal the location and arrival of whales along the town’s coastal cliffs.  The whale crier is an elected town representative and will serve for many years during whale season. He is also a wealth of knowledge about the majestic animal he represents.
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What is Fynbos?

92% Of the species occur only in the Cape Floristic Region are part of the Fynbos species. This area (one of the world’s 7 floral kingdoms) exists only in a narrow belt of mountainous coastal land from Clanwilliam to Grahamstown, South Africa. The extraordinary richness and diversity of species characteristic of the Cape Flora is thought to be caused in part by the diverse landscape. You can view wine ranges of Fynbos in Hermanus (and Schulphoek’s garden) and also visit two natural conservation areas – the Harold Porter National Botanic Garden and the Hermanus Fernkloof Nature Reserve.
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Are there places for lunch nearby?

There are many options to choose from in Hermanus and the wine valley. Schulhoek also offers light lunches and packed picnic baskets for those that wish to visit the beach. Our hosts are happy to recommend a suitable restaurant, bistro, coffee shop or authenitic experience (including traditional lunches in a local cave on the seashore) should you wish.
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What is the wine of the region?

Hermanus has a very diverse wine region, with some 20 estates within easy driving distance from Schulphoek alone.

The wine pockets in the Overberg area are: ELGINBOT RIVERHERMANUS (Hemel en Aarde Valley), STANFORDNAPIER and L’AGULHAS.

Every cellar door has its own authentic and original character and every wine reflects a distinctive terroir. Cool sea breezes and southernmost slopes provide the perfect elements to produce some of the best pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc wines in the Cape and a few other varietals as well…

Several cellars in this region regularly claim five stars for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc.  Meander up the winding road of the Heaven and Earth Valley (Hemel-en-Aarde on the roadsigns) and see the natural beauty of the tree-lined river, the towering peaks of Babylonstoring and the Raed na Gael mountains, the exquisite Fynbos and the neat rows of vineyards.

This road will also take you to the cellars of some of the best wines in the country. The Hemel en Aarde Village offers shops, galleries and cellars.
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Is there a Town Market?

Yes, every Saturday morning the town hosts  you could join the throng at the morning food markets. We would be happy to direct you to the best stalls and give tips on where to find parking amongs the busy town centre.
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Activities

Can you arrange Shark cage diving?

Yes, we have many years of experience working with the region’s best operators to ensure (safe) action-packed adventures and special memories for our guests.

Getting into the cage with the sharks around, is one of the most breath-taking adventure and educational activities you will ever live to remember and an eye-to-eye encounter with this awesome animal is guaranteed to get the adrenaline going!

Should you wish to learn more about Shark Cage Diving please feel free contact us. Booking is essential – we recommend contacting us to arrange advanced booking during peak periods to avoid disappointment.
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Do you arrange Boat trips / Whale Viewing Trips?

Yes, organised boat based whale watching can be arranged from three different areas around Hermanus:  a) Hermanus Harbour (5 minute drive from Schulphoek) b) Gansbaai Harbour (30 minute drive from Schluphoek) & c) Kleinbaai Harbour (35 minute drive from Schluphoek).

Boats are safe with purpose built design and technology for memorable, informative and educational whale watching. Other marine life to observe on these trips could include seals, penguins, dolphins, bryde whales, humpback whales and marine birds.
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Are there nature walks nearby?

Cliff Paths: A new 9.5km coastal walk starts at Schulphoek SGH in Sandbaai and winds along a spectacular pathway over two beaches surrounded by indigenous fynbos.

Also the famous Hermanus Cliff Path, which winds its way around the rocky cliff faces that separate much of the town from the sea, stretching from the New Harbour to Grotto Beach. This trail, approximately 10-12 km long, offers some of the best land-based whale watching in South Africa.  This one of a kind trail passes by several landmarks with intriguing names and stories along its route, such as Fick’s Pool, the hidden spring discovered by Hermanus Pieters, after whom the town was named. Or Bientangs Cave, named for the last survivor of the strandlopers who lived in the area who died in the late 1900s.

Nature Walks / Mountain Walks / Hiking: The Fernkloof Nature reserve is located in Hermanus town, approximately 5 mins drive from Schulphoek. The walks range from easy to experienced and track the kloofs (ravines) and mountains surrounding the towns.  Walks range from 20 minutes to overnight hikes. There are incredible views all along the walks.
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Can you see penguins in Hermanus?

The Betty’s Bay (15km from Hermanus) area is not only renowned for its magnificent floral kingdom, but it’s also home to one of only three breeding colonies on the mainland in South Africa.  We can happily arrange directions and information about the Penguin  Colony which has over 5000 African Penguins in a protected reserve. The reserve has raised board walks that are accessible for visitors to see the penguins in their natural habitat. Entrance is R10 per person and funds go towards Penguin rehabilitation.
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Can you arrange a township tour?

Yes, we can happily arrange a visit to Hermanus’ Zwelihle township to meet locals, and even enjoy a lunch at one of the local shabeens (taverns). Zwelihle is a well established and safe community mainly made up of Xhosa residents. The community was established in the 1970’s and has a  bustling atmosphere. Tours are safe and the community appreciates interest from visitors.
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Guesthouse

What do you grow in your vegetable garden?

Schulphoek has had its own vegetable garden for many years. We produce most of the vegetables, herbs and salads used in our restaurant including fruit for breakfast. Our crop depends on the season, but we often produce passion fruit, pears, clementines, salad leaves, herbs, tomatoes, artichokes, fennel, and much more. Guests are more than welcome to spend time in the garden (which has a wonderful water feature) and to join the chef or groundsman to discuss different herbs, veggies or just chat to a fellow green thumb. Guests are welcome to help pick herbs and fruit for the kitchen.
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Can you assist us with distances / maps?

Please see our Directions page for information on travel and trip planning. We can also answer any questions you have and can be reached by email.
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Do you serve venison at the restaurant?

We offer sustainable venison which is brought to Schulphoek from Beaufort West, some 300km away. Our venison is a specialty and if often available on our menu du jour (based on seasonality and availability). Visit our Restaurant page or contact us to learn more or to speak to our chef to plan a special meal.
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What fish do you serve at the restaurant?

We offer a wide variety of fish on our daily menu. Our chef often fishes down on the rocks in front of the guesthouse to catch the daily meal. We also source fresh fish daily from local fishermen. Our policy is to support SASSI approved sustainable line fish.
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