There is so much more to Hermanus than whales. Hermanus or Hermanuspietersfontein as it was originally called is a vibrant, modern town which lies between the fynbos-covered Hottentots Holland Mountain and the cold Atlantic Ocean. Hermanus has justifiably been called the 'Riviera of the South'. It is a bustling cosmopolitan town with solid infrastructure, upmarket shops, quaint boutiques, arts and craft shops and galleries. Yet Hermanus has managed to keep the character and atmosphere of a sea side village where the past can be explored in the Old Harbour which has a small museum filled with artefacts and memorabilia related to whaling history.
Hermanus lies just 115km from Cape Town and can be reached by the R43 highway, or the coastal R44 scenic route which stretches from Gordons Bay and takes in hugely popular holiday getaway towns like Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay and Kleinmond, not to mention the exclusive Arabella Country Estate. Kilometres of unspoilt beaches and lagoons provide ample fishing opportunities for fishermen and water sport enthusiasts, while a number of South Africa's top wine estates such as Bouchard Finlayson, Whalehaven Wines and Beaumont Wines should offer comfort to wine drinkers. Hermanus also serves as a springboard to the attractions of the Overberg region.
For those who want to walk, a unique cliff path offering spectacular view to the sea below and the mountains above hugs the coast from one side of the town to the other. More adventurous walkers can hike in the Fernkloof Nature reserve and the surrounding fynbos covered mountains where the largest carnivorous plant in the world – the Vliëebos - can be seen peacefully growing and devouring insects.
Whales, whale spotting, whale criers, wine, sun and ecotourism aside, Hermanus is a town which is poised for growth thanks to solid fundamentals. Over the last six years Hermanus' population has changed from being 45% permanent to an estimated 75% permanent. Many of these newcomers are entrepreneurs with families who are economically active and who contribute to the local economy. Proper town planning is on track, while streets in the CBD have been upgraded to accommodate the increase in traffic to two new shopping centres.
An aspect which should not be overlooked is that the Whale Coast is not unaffordable, in Kleinmond for example houses are available from as little as R850 000. Hermanus has some spectacularly expensive properties costing over R15 million yet R1 million could secure a three bedroom home with two bathrooms, double garage and mountain views. Generally if one considers that coastal property is becoming increasingly scarce due to new coastal legislation that is designed to preserve coastal areas which are considered scenically beautiful and ecologically sensitive, Hermanus property should outperform many other areas.
Turning to property market statistics, since October 2005 and October 2010 the number of properties transferred in the following selected areas in and around Hermanus shows a vibrant property market, it reads as follows:
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