Does your child adore animals? Delight them with a visit to see donkeys, play with cats, walk dogs, ride horses, watch whales, penguins and seals or feed a variety of farm animals. You can also take advantage of opportunities to recue toadlets, catch fireflies, release penguins and milk cows. And that's not all! Experience a variety of animal encounters and experiences in and around Hermanus.
Visit the Stony Point African Penguin Colony at Betty’s Bay where you'll find interesting information boards and hundreds upon hundreds of penguins to observe in their natural habitat. Subsequently, it is a must visit destination! It's open daily and an entrance fee is charged.
Another place to explore is the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai which is home to over 29 species of seabird, including one of the largest strongholds of the endangerd African penguin. Open daily with feeding times at 08:30 and 15:00. No entrance fee.
Book a tour of the The South African Shark Conservancy to see and learn more about sharks and their habitat. During your tour, you'll also learn about the importance of conservation. Donations are always welcome.
There is no guarantee of a sighting, but often seals are seen at play at the New Harbour while otters frequent Onrus beach. During whale season (July-first week of December), it’s easy to see whales and their calves from land. Furthermore, it's wise to keep your eyes peeled year-round for schools of dolphins frolicking in the bay.
You can also grab a bucket, net, rock shoes, suncream, hat and start exploring rock pools. It's easy to do on your own, or have fun with family and friends. Before you set off, grab a guidebook, sketchpad and magnifying glass to help you identify and record your findings.
Have you had to stop your car to allow a gaggle of Geese to cross the road at Bosplasie in Onrus? We have! And what a sight it was, definitely something to remember!
While we're talking birds, why not start birdwatching! There is no rule that dictates this activity is reserved for older folk. Simply grab a pair of binoculars, bird guidebook and join Overberg Birdlife on their outings.
Our favourite dassie spotting site is at the old harbour. In addition to this grouping, you'll also find plenty on the rocks at Gearings Point and along the coastal path. Be careful not to frighten them away and remember they can bite!
If you’re mad about donkeys, take a drive to Greyton and visit the EARS Donkey Sanctuary. (Closer to home, there are donkeys waiting for a visit at Dassies Fontein in Caledon). You’ll also find the Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary which focuses on providing a home to rescued pigs. Tours can be arranged.
Be on the lookout for one of the most unexpected and spectacular sights in Fisherhaven - wild horses that roam free. Horse lovers can book an outride with Heaven and Earth Trails or riding lessons with Modderivier Riding School in Stanford. There are also occasionally horse rides offered at Stanford Hills Estate, where you can also meet Crackling the Pig and Stew-it the sheep.
Enjoy the touch farm at Rocklands, it's a popular attraction along the road between Hermanus and Stanford. Because it's home to farm animals, children get to interact with sheep, pigs, rabbits, geese and goats among other animals. Making it a super fun outing for kids who love animals. You can also order a super tasty toasted sandwiches from the tuckshop while you're there. Open daily. Entrance fee is charged.
Another gem of a destination for farm animals is Amare Farm just outside Stanford. Here you'll get to help with farm chores such as milking cows and you can book accommodation to stay over.
A little more on the wild side... we’ve seen snakes, tortoises, baboons, lizards and fascinating birdlife at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay and at the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus.
The majority of the animals at Cornell Skop in Botriver are rehab animals. While many have been rescued from hunting farms others may seem familiar if you've spotted them on the big screen (many appear in TV and movie productions). Entrance fee. Tours offered.
In addition, you can visit Panthera Africa, an environmentally friendly sanctuary for captive bred big cats who are protected and allowed to prosper for the rest of their lives. Entrance fee. Tours offered.
Whale Coast Conservation
We have the utmost respect and appreciation for the work done by Whale Coast Conservation. Their educational outings, presentations, talks and events are second to none. For example, you can help the organization rescue toadlets, observe and learn about fireflies, discover rock pool creatures, assist with chameleon monitoring and research programmes PLUS a whole lot more.
Help out at The Hermanus Animal Welfare Society (HAWS). Because you'll be glad you did! With the help of the community, they do phenomenal work providing care and sourcing homes for cats and dogs. In order to provide the sterling service they do, they rely on volunteers to walk dogs, play with cats, help with street collections and work in the charity shop.