This weekend the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival celebrates its 21st anniversary of saluting the Southern Right whales, who seem to particularly love coming to this seaside village to mate, to calf, and to generally have a whale of a time in Walker Bay. Hermanus offers the best land-based whale watching in the world, from May until early December.
Last year the Whale Festival attracted a record of 137000 attendees, and this year could see that record exceeded, given that favourable weather has been forecast and that the school holidays have started.
This year the Whale Festival celebrates the natural environment of Hermanus, the Marine Endangered Species Expo focusing on the birds, fish, and mammals in the area, including an exhibit of a life size replica of a baby whale and a Great White shark, and a 3D movie experience as if one is swimming with whales, dolphins, and sharks. Other events include showcasing the cuisine of the local restaurants; a number of theatrical and musical shows; a Cliff Path night run; mountain bike challenges in the Hemel en Aarde Valley; a half marathon; a fun run; distance swims in the Old Harbour; a beauty pageant; a vintage car show; a marine-themed fancy dress competition; and a dog walk. A host of musical acts will perform, including Elvis Blue, Steve Hofmeyr, and Nianell. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, known for its dedication in fighting whaling by Japan, will be present, and presentations will be done by Abagold, Save our Seas, Marine Coastal Management, the South African Shark Conservancy, and Dyer Island Conservation Trust.
Calling itself an ‘Enviro Arts Festival’, the Hermanus Whale Festival is sponsored by Distell’s Two Oceans brand, with a clever pay-off line ‘Where the Whales Meet’.
The truck driver strike has had a surprise effect on the Hermanus Whale Festival, in that most ATM’s have run out of cash in the town, and no new notes can be delivered this weekend due to the strike, leading the organisers of the Hermanus Whale Festival to urge attendees via its media partner Kfm to bring their credit cards and cash from home.
Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival, 28 September – 1 October. www.whalefestival.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage