Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All Dressed Up

These two lucky pups I found on the cliffs at Bientang's Cave. The view they have is simply splendid, and attention is not in short supply. Happily wagging their tails at all passers-by, they nearly created a traffic jam on the narrow cliff path as everyone stopped to pat them. They donned all their finery, probably to comply with the restaurant's dress code?

Monday, September 21, 2009

There She Blows!

No, this is not Moby Dick but simply one of the friendly moms in the waters off the cliffs of the village. If you look closely, you can just make out the calf next to her. Yesterday there were about 9 moms & toddlers lulling about in the waters, it having been a real summer's day. Needles to say, the cliffs were packed with onlookers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Legend Of Bientang

In the heart of the best land-based whale watching village in the world, Bientang's Cave is situated below street level in an ancient cavern. Bientang was one of the last few Koi Strandlopers who lived in the cave at the turn of the 19th century. She lived off the sea and supplemented her diet with dassie, a small rodent that roams the cliffs. Bientang disappeared mysteriously, and to this day no-one knows what became of her ... Today operating as a restaurant, Bientang's makes for an extremely pleasant experience (albeit the steps to street level are especially steep and seems to last forever). Bientang's Cave is known the world over for their unusualness and splendid atmosphere.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Colour For Sale

A friendly stall in the flea market sells exquisite African art. The colourful display instantly attracts shoppers to have a closer look. The paintings are all original, by very talented local artists who make a living from the stall. This stall supports at least 5 families, who all contribute in one way or another - either painting, selling, setting up the stall etc. What a pleasure!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lilies On The Cliff

The Arum Lilies, which grow wild in our area, are in bloom! All over the village you spot clusters of white lilies. This one grabbed hold of a ledge right on the cliff and started blooming. Proudly, the villagers are more inclined towards preservation than to vanity, and no one seems to pick them (even though they make a stunning display in a vase and lasts for weeks), contrary to what is happening in other areas: in Cape Town, when the lilies started blooming peddlers sold them at robots, until it was brought to the public's attention that it is in fact a crime to trade in wild flowers without a permit. Yes, we actually do have a law against picking wild flowers. In Afrikaans these lilies are called "varkore" (pigs' ears) because of their shape.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Village Square Waterfront Piazza

The old parking in front of FNB next to the flea market was upgraded this year. It will now be used as an extension to the existing flea market (which has also been upgraded). Here you can see the neat new lay-out with street lamps and all. It will be put into use at the start of this year's Whale Festival, and afterwards (rumours would have it) permanent stalls or little shops will be built on the site, while the flea market will move back from its temporary space at Gearings Point to its original place. By the way, the site of the flea market and this new site belongs to the council.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Arty End

Hermanus seems to inspire the artist in us. Some start their art here, others bring their art here. Art in every form abounds, and Hermanus is probably one of the villages with the most studio's and galleries in the world. A particular concept I find very alluring is the open studio, where you can not only buy art but watch the artist commit his art. This beautiful ballustrade end belongs to one such a studio, where pottery is sold & made.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Birdie In The Rough

Look closely, and what do you find? A partridge in the rough at the golf course. Lots of guinea fowl and partridges have made the outskirts of the gold course their home, and have been welcomed by all. When the fence was put up, special openings were made especially for them to easily exit the course in order to cross the road to the open field across to "graze". Very often cars crossing the road have to give right of way to a new mom and her young crossing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Giraffe Stampede In Main Road!!!

Align Left

Yes, it's official: a troop of tropical giraffes have stampeded down Main Road towards the crafts market, looking for loving new owners who would buy them and give them a loving home. These giraffes are hand-made by local craftsmen. Look at the exquisite details and the happy colours. Don't buy one, buy them all! Have a happy, colourful Monday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Spring The Schoolmaster Discovered

The main street of Hermanus, circa 1850. Hermanus was named after Hermanus Pieters, a schoolmaster from Caledon who wandered over the mountain looking for pasture for his sheep. He found a clear freshwater spring, and spread the word. Many farmers followed him, and later on came for holidays. The town that sprang up around the spring was named for the discoverer of the spring: Hermanuspietersfontein. Many years later the postmaster submitted a request that the name be shortened, as the long name of Hermanuspietersfontein proved to be a burden to him. His request was granted, and since then our beautiful village was known as Hermanus.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


As if dropped off by a tourist bus, these whales came right up to the rocks. Arriving early to get the best seats in the house, they probably look forward to the upcoming festival in their honour which takes place in the village from 24 - 27 September this year. On second thought, are they the actual guests of honour or are they performers?

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Whale Of A Tale

The summer spectacular is in full swing. As if aware of the approaching whale festival which takes place from 24 - 27 September this year, this whale gave a performance to die for! Right off the cliffs, it felt as if you could simply reach out and touch its tail. A huge crowd of onlookers quickly gathered to enjoy the free show ... maybe a sneak preview of the magnitude of the tales we might expect at this year's festival?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cry Me A Whale

It's almost time for the annual Whale Festival which takes place from 24 - 27 September this year. Today I bring you the ringer of sightings, Hermanus' very own Whale Crier. At the moment the only whale crier in the world, Hermanus shared this title with India for a while when they also had a whale crier. When a whale is sighted, the whale crier announces the sighting by blowing on his bamboo horn, contrary to popular belief that he actually calls the whales - well, that might be entirely possible what with the whales that have become so much part of the viallge, I wouldn't be surprised if these intelligent creatures had learned the call of the bamboo horn by now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed

The Eagle Has Landed! In this case, an Airforce Helicopter I don't know the exact name of. It looks like a practice run for the local sea rescue and fire fighting teams, but nonetheless enough of an unusualness to draw a huge crowd. Hermanus has a fire season, normally in high summer from January to March, when the slightest provocation such as a cigarette butt carelessly thrown out of a passing car window can result in a huge blaze and thousand of hectares of fynbos destroyed, not to mention the millions of rands of damage. However, fire is necessary for fynbos to thrive. Every year after a fire you see new species of fynbos that haven't been spotted for years.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Unique Shopping Experience

A lot is done in Hermanus to further sustainable development and to kurb unemployment. Migrant workers from all over Africa end up in Hermanus looking for a better future, often not finding it. Many members of the community have started initiatives to improve the quality of life by skills training, and this shop does just that: it sells products sourced with sustainable development in mind. Support them, in the Hemingways alley I featured a few week ago.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Misty Mountain

Voëlklip Circle, as rarely seen in season: no traffic! This morning as I did the school run at 7-ish, the mists came rolling down the mountain behind the circle. The rays of the sun did not yet reach the road, which made for a really awesome setting. By the way, the little garden on the traffic island is in full bloom and a really magnificent sight!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Blue is the water, blue is the sky, blue is the mountain. Blue is the lonely fishing trawler at anchor in the New Harbour. A Sunday blue with peace and tranquility ... just what the doctor ordered to chase the blues away!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Daisy, Daisy ...

A field of white daisies! This is what you'll find at the moment behind the Eastcliff Spar. Frequented by guinea fowl and partridge, the field is now strewn with white daisies. The child in you awakens, and before you know it you're in the middle of a floral kingdom, straining not to start rolling around and make tumbleturns!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Flying Solo

Perched on a rock at Gearing's Point, a lonely seagull. I couldn't resist a picture. It creates a feeling of simple serenity and peacefulness, and the best part: it's free, like all really good things in life

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Home Of Fine Books

For avid readers, The Book Cottage is a definite must. Not only is it the home of fine books, it is also a village bookshop with a city selection, according to their logo and I can confirm this: I have always been able to find the newest bestsellers, the rarest books and those books you thought you would have to order from abroad right in the village. Set in one of the few remaining original fishermen's cottages, the Book Cottage is not simply a shop, it's an experience and an artform all in one.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

For Bored Husbands

If you have a husband like mine who hates shopping, you will certainly heave a sigh of relief at the sight of this inviting bench outside a shop, just waiting for bored husbands to sit down and forget their sorrows (and their calculations!). Simply lighting up the scene, this little bench made of sticks is truly alluring and I'm sure a great relief to many a wife out shopping.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Theme Day: BIG!

It's theme day, and our topic is big. What better way to participate than to post a picture of one of our biggest villagers, the Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena Australis). Hermanus is the official Whale Capital of the world, with these gentle giants taking up residence in our waters every year from July to January. There are strict policies in place for boat based whale watching, and over the years they have become accustomed to the protection they enjoy here. Whales, like dolphins, communicate through sound. They make clicking, grunting & whistling sounds. When a calf is born after 12 months gestation, tail first, it measures approximately 6 meters. By the time they reach adulthood at the age of 10, the males measure 15 meters and the females 16 meters on average. Their lifespan is estimated at between 90 - 100 years. They present us with a summer performance of fluking, breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping, logging and spouting or blowing. As and when I am fortunate enough to catch their performances on film, I will post photo's.

It's also the official start of SPRING in the Southern Hemisphere, so on that note have a BIG SPRING day!

To see what other City Daily Photo Blogs consider BIG, please Clik here to view thumbnails for all participants

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tea For Three?

Tea? This pretty display caught my eye when strolling through town looking for a place to have a cuppa. The intricate patterns on the teacups are simply awesome, and the way they just seem to fit right into the whole setting of window frame & beads seems meticulously planned, although they have probably just been hung at random.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Bells

On a clear Sunday morning like this, hearing church bells ring just seem so right. This is St. Peter's Anglican Church, situated in the main road. St. Peter's Mission School was built in 1862, the first school in Hermanus, attached to the original church. No longer a school, St. Peter's remains a landmark. On Saturdays from 09h30 they have delightful coffee morning set in the parish garden, and being right in town this is just the place to start the morning's shopping.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Market With A View

Hermanus has a wonderful informal or flea market, where traders set up stalls that sell anything from art to African masks to jewellery to clothes. Located at Gearing's Point, it is arguably the open air market set in the most beautiful place on earth - right on the cliffs, with stunning uninterrupted views of Walker Bay all round. Some of its most frequent visitors are the Southern Right whales, who come to frolic in the deep waters off the cliffs. Young an old take part in the selling and even manufacturing, transferring age old crafts to new generations.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bonaparte's Gate

I am a huge admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte. Imagine my surprise when one day I heard a rumour that an item which formed a huge part of Napoleon's life was right here in Hermanus ... the gate to the prison where he was held at St. Helena. Rumour has it that this gate is the exact one, brought from St. Helena to South Africa and then installed at a private residence in Hermanus. Apparently it is made of iron, and have been moulded together. When maintenance had to be done on it in Cape Town, it was so heavy that a special system had to be designed to transport it and also to re-install it in Hermanus. Exquisitely beautiful, whether the rumours are true or not.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spot The Difference

I saw these two identical ladies strolling down the street, and couldn't resist a picture. They are identical, from their hairstyles to their outfits to their shoes, the only difference being that one has a mobile phone and the ohter a handbag. If we had a Chanel shop, I would have wondered if they maybe worked there what with their monotone outfits.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Close The Door!

Seen on a door to a public WC, this photo really needs no further comment. Our baboons are really very used to humans and will not hesitate to enter homes. I have had several experiences with visiting baboons, especially the one who came into our kitchen to try our left-over salad and another one who came into my study to oversee my work, jumping right onto the edge of my desk. Very intimidating indeed!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

View From The Top

One of the most splendid scenic drives in Hermanus is certainly Rotary Way, with its entrance next to Mount Pleasant. It curves right to the top of the mountain, with several lookout posts to stop at and savour the beauty that is all around. Surrounded by thousands of different fynbos species, it is a haven of peace and tranquility sitting on one of the benches. On the sea side Hermanus is laid out, and on the mountain side the Hemel en Aarde ("Heaven and Earth") valley spreads out. On the photo, the Maanskynbaai ("Moonshine Bay") estuary can be seen. At the moment the lagoon is open right onto Grotto Beach.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Let There Be Light

The perimeter wall of the Enlighten Education Trust is a true work of art, with beautiful mosaics right round. Look at the exquisite detail of a light bulb, a feature that is repeated in several of the other mosaics, signalling light. It is situated in Swartdam Road, next to Zwelihle. The trust was esthablished in 2002 and several projects and courses are being offered. Please read more about this wonderful initiave at