With 100 000 inhabitants, Overstrand Hermanus and its tourism marketing division, Cape Whale Coast Tourism, comprise a 230km stretch of coast situated in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, and incorporates the hamlets of Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Stanford and Gansbaai. The Overstrand has always been a popular place for holiday makers and has seen growth in its domestic and international tourism due to its natural beauty and marine wildlife. During May 2019 Hermanus was named as the best whale watching destination in the world by The Telegraph. It is also home to the Kogelberg Biosphere, South Africa’s first UNESCO biosphere, recognised the world over for its rich biodiversity. With about 1600 plant species, it contains a floral diversity per unit area that is greater than anywhere else in the world.
Some 70 top restaurants cater for every palate against spectacular natural scenery. The perfect background for SA’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy. The region is home to two wine routes, the Stanford Wine Route (9 wineries) and the Hermanus Wine Route (23 wineries). The latter incorporates the famed South African Pinot Noir haven – Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven & Earth). This area links to a further three wine routes and collectively this is known as the Cape South Coast wine region comprising 85 wineries.
Creation Wines on the Hermanus route is an industry leader in wine tourism and has won accolades in the Great Wine Capitals (GWC) Best of Wine Tourism Award three times in five years. In 2017 Creation Wines won the category ‘Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences’. The GWC is a network of ten major global cities in both the northern and southern hemispheres which share a key economic and cultural asset: their internationally renowned wine regions. The annual Best of Wine Tourism Awards is an international competition designed to reward the wineries in member cities and wine regions that have distinguished themselves in terms of delivering quality experiences to the public. Creation has done ground-breaking work in the field of wine and food pairing and is one of many local wineries to extend their wine presentation to include music and art.
Another pioneer in the Hemel-en-Aarde wine region is Hamilton Russell Vineyards who were the first vineyard to establish themselves on the most southerly site in South Africa on an undeveloped 170-hectare property in 1975 and today produces a selection of noble varieties that is sought after the world over and is sold out year after year. Bouchard Finlayson was the second winery to establish in Hemel-en-Aarde and is owned by the Tollman family who owns the Travel Corporation are the proprietors of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, Twelve Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay and Bushmen’s Kloof in the Cedarberg. On the Hermanus Wine Route there are 6 restaurants at wineries, 2 farm stalls and one long standing country cook-house.
Springfontein on the Stanford Wine Route has the singular honour of having a Michelin star chef in charge of operations. The Overstrand’s Hermanus has a beverage economy that includes 3 beer breweries of which one has won gold at the National Beer Trophy Awards for the past 2 consecutive years.
Furthermore, Warwick Chef Training School was established in 1991 in Hermanus and is a leading culinary training establishment. The school regularly participates in the National Youth Chefs Training Programme (hosted by the National Department of Tourism) which focuses on all the unique, local and award winning products of the region. One such product is the local cheese made at Klein River Cheese. Klein River has been producing cheese for over 25 years with only one cheese-maker, Jacko van Beulen. He has been with the business since day one and has been the driving force behind the recent silver and bronze medals gained at the World Cheese Awards 2018-2019.
Another unique product of the region is abalone. With a number of abalone farms in the area this has become a popular inclusion on the itinerary of visitors and Heart of Abalone offers a tour and tasting experience.
Furthermore, the calendar of events for the Cape Whale Coast, the tourism arm of the Overstrand, includes a number of festivals centred on gastronomic experiences. The annual Hermanus Whale Festival marks the festival’s 28th anniversary this year and the Hermanus FynArts Festival, now in its 7th year, incorporates an entertaining series of gastronomy related demonstrations curated by Garth Stroebel, arguably South Africa’s first celebrity chef. Lastly the Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration celebrates a highly revered grape cultivar with celebrity chefs’ cuisine every year during the last weekend of January. The Cape Whale Coast is recognised by the Africa Responsible Tourism Awards for its considerable effort made toward conserving biodiversity and improving the lives of residents. Efforts extend beyond the after-care centres for children in the rural agricultural areas, sporting facilities and training programmes to advance scholars and include communities in arts programmes. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve close to Gansbaai has recently won the overall category in the World Responsible Tourism Awards. This was just the latest in a number of responsible and luxury tourism awards.
Recognised by the Africa Responsible Tourism Awards for its efforts made toward conserving biodiversity and improving the lives of residents. Work extends beyond the after-care centres for children in the rural agricultural areas, sporting facilities and training programmes to advance scholars and include communities in arts programmes.
Strengthening cooperation within the region with the aim to encourage the participation and development of food-related events and festival;
Nurturing exchange of knowledge and experiences through the Food for Future programme focusing on food and gastronomy as key levers of sustainable urban development by enhancing North-South cooperation.
“Food tourism is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.” – World Food Travel Association
Cape Whale Coast Tourism has 4 Tourism Visitor Information Centres with staff available to assist.
Darryl David serves as the programme director for the Overstrand Hermanus UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
Frieda Lloyd oversees Cape Whale Coast Tourism and is the Overstrand Municipality and Tourism link regarding this programme.
Contact Frieda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cape Whale Coast
Manager UNESCO Overstrand Hermanus
Annika du Toit
Cape Whale Coast has many restaurants, wineries, beer breweries, coffee shops and anything that a foodie might be looking for.