Hermanus Nature Reserves
The entire, Fynbos covered mountain behind Hermanus is one massive reserve, most of it falling within Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the rest within Vogelgat, a private reserve. For nearly 100 years residents have been passionate about conserving the floral kingdom and more recently a marine reserve was declared. A Whale Sanctuary also declared to ensure the protection of all marine life along the coast and in a large section of Walker Bay.
The natural environment is one of the greatest attractions of Hermanus and great care is taken to conserve it. The combination of mountain and sea has produced a very rich collection of Fynbos of which there are more than 1 600 species in the reserve. Some of the species are so rare and endemic, like the Roridula gorgonias, that international botanists travel here every year to see them. The herbarium on the reserve is quite a popular attraction and has earned itself international status.
The Cliff Path and Mossel River Valley, as well as parts of the lagoon and the Vogelgat River mouth, form part of the unique coastal Fynbos that falls within the Fernkloof Reserve.
Take a walk along one of the trails through Fernkloof at any time of the year to see the Fynbos in all its flowering glory. There are more than 50km of paths to hike in the reserve and the different trails allow you to choose your route by gradient and length. Panoramic views over the bay are contrasted by shady, riverine kloofs and dark pools of mountain water. Baboons and small buck such as Klipspringer, Steenbok and Grysbok can be seen along with 111 different bird species. Black Eagles, Jackal Buzzards, Cape Sugarbirds and Steppe Buzzards are among the big attractions.
The cultivated gardens at the entrance to the reserve include a section for the blind, the Fragrance (healing and herb) Garden, an arboretum, a nursery and the herbarium. Take along a picnic to enjoy under the trees and on occasion you may join in a game of boule on the grass.
Rock pools are a source of fascination and should continue to be so for many years as all shellfish, molluscs, and every other living marine creature along the coast is protected from Rietpoel to Kraal Rock. Only anglers may catch fish from the rocks in this area.
A little more than 15 years ago a large section of Walker Bay was declared a whale sanctuary to keep boats away from the breeding and mating waters of the Southern Right whales that visit the bay annually.
Hermanus has a unique combination of reserves, from mountaintop to deep sea – Fynbos, marine life and whales are conserved here for future generations.