Guided Abalone Tours And Tasting

Heart of Abalone is a tourism company in the New Harbour of Hermanus that offers guided abalone farm tours where visitors have the unique opportunity to experience, learn about and even taste this rare delicacy. Its host-farm, Abagold, is the pioneer of abalone farming in South Africa and is currently the largest producer of cultivated abalone and a prime example of this growing, labour-intensive aquaculture industry. Heart of Abalone runs various daily pre-booked tours for small and large groups of up to 50-people. Another attraction is the Heart Shed Shop that sells a stunning collection of pearls and unique pieces of jewellery. The gift shop also sells canned and dried abalone, abalone shells as well as other gifts and souvenirs to remember your visit to Heart of Abalone.

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Haliotis midae is better known by local South Africans as Abalone or Perlemoen, which is a Dutch reference to its beautiful mother-of-pearl shell. 

Sadly, the biggest threat to South African abalone is humans, and the sea snail that was once lived in abundance along the southern coastline is now an endangered species. The combined pressure of commercial harvesting and out of control poaching have both had a big impact on dwindling numbers and have jeopardised the survival of wild populations.

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In 1984 Dr Pierre Hugo, a veterinarian from Hermanus began experimenting with the breeding of abalone in small fish tanks at his home. He and his sons would carry buckets of water from the sea so that the animals would have fresh aerated seawater. Experimental feeds were produced with his wife's kitchen mixer and their boys' potato guns!

The fun home experiment was actually the pioneering work for the South African commercially farmed abalone industry, that now exports more than 1,000 tonnes of legal abalone to the Asian market each year. 


Dr Hugo founded Abagold in 1995 and this public company has grown to become one of the largest abalone farms in the country and employs approximately 500 people.

The story of Abagold from its humble beginnings to a profitable, well-diversified company is a celebrated success story. Abagold pursues an ambitious strategy which will grow its abalone interests internationally and venture into related industries such as feed formulation and renewable energy (wave power).

Heart of Abalone invites you to join them on Abagold’s farm for a fun, educational introduction to abalone and the commercial abalone industry.



Heart of Abalone offers various pre-booked tours and activities. Please note:

  • Tours run daily from Mondays to Fridays at 11h00 (group or alternate timeslots by appointment)
  • Tours take place regardless of the weather but the outdoor part may be adjusted in the case of wind and rain
  • There is no minimum group size
  • Groups and weekend tours need prior arrangement and booking
  • Group sizes are limited to 50 people per tour

Guided Abalone Farm Tour and Tasting


  • R350 per person 
  • R75 for children under the age of 16
  • R150 if no tasting is required


  • 1 hour and 30 minutes 

Heart of Abalone offers a tour with a difference where you get to see what goes on in one of South Africa’s leading abalone farms.

Find out about Haliotis, the edible sea snail which is a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Haliotidae. 

Taste this rare delicacy presented to you on a tasting platter that consists of three variations:

  • Abalone ceviche
  • Abalone carpaccio dressed with seaweed caviar 
  • Asian-style ‘cocktail-size’ abalone served in a special sauce

The Abalone Tours include an interactive educational ‘petting aquarium’ where you get to see and touch the abalone up-close in their natural and farmed environment. This is your chance to ask all those questions regarding this endangered shellfish.

For more information and to book your exciting tour, contact Heart of Abalone.

Heart Shed Shop

Heart Shed Shop

Visit Heart Shed Shop at Heart of Abalone and purchase a unique gift from the interesting range that includes:

Abalone Shells

Buy beautifully polished or unprocessed abalone shells, to take home as a souvenir so that you can appreciate South Africa's mother-of-pearl species long after your visit to Heart of Abalone.

Abalone Jewellery

Select something precious from the pieces on display in the shop or request a unique custom-designed ring, pendant, bracelet or pair of earrings to round off your personal jewellery collection. The range includes stunning pieces by Ralph Walton Designs that combine sterling silver with abalone shell and abalone pearls, that are produced locally.

Abalone Pearls

Buy one, or buy a handful of beautiful abalone pearls.

Canned and Dried Abagold Abalone

Stock-up on minced or whole abalone produced, canned and dried by Abagold.

Cookery Book

The Izibusiso - ‘Still Cooking’ cookery book, is filled with a collection of South Africa’s favourite dishes which include a delicious abalone recipe for those cans of Abagold Abalone available at the Heart Shed Shop. 

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Online Shop

Online Shop

Heart of Abalone carry a range of beautiful and unique abalone inspired pieces that include:

  • Rings
  • Pendants
  • Ear Rings
  • Bracelets
  • Polished Abalone Shells

To view, the Heart of Abalone Collection, click on this link.

Corporate and Incentive Events

Corporate and Incentive Events

Heart of Abalone offers an ideal team building, or incentive reward, for corporates. They have partnered with various conference venues in the Hermanus area which are ideal for team building, group sessions, strategy planning and group coaching. In-between your sessions you are invited to take a break at the Heart Shed at Heart of Abalone for a little educational therapy with a difference. 

The Heart Shed can host approximately 30 guests seated, conference style. 

For more information on tailored packages or about building exciting itineraries for your time in Hermanus, contact Heart of Abalone directly.



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