Hermanus with Cape Whale Coast named UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the first in Africa!



Hermanus, and neighbouring towns in the Cape Whale Coast region, has recently been named the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) City of Gastronomy, in a bid led by Darryl David, surprisingly from KwaZulu-Natal. Hermanus takes its place alongside top international cities of Gastronomy, such as Parma, Italy; San Antonio in the USA; Phuket, Thailand; and Bergen, Norway.


The Cape Whale Coast includes towns such as Betty’s Bay, Onrus, Hermanus, and Stanford. The region has been recognised by UNESCO as the first Gastronomy centre in Africa, recognising the exceptional wines and cuisine of the area, the Cape Whale Coast media statement shares. The ocean drive from Rooiels to Kleinmond and onward to Hermanus, Stanford, and Gansbaai, has been turned into a “culinary coastline”, with many small producers, farmers, wineries, breweries, farm stalls and eateries.

The organisation awards Creative City status for a number of disciplines. Cape Town holds the title for Design, while Durban holds it for Literature.

The Creative City status awarded to Hermanus and the Cape Whale Coast was one of 66 such status awards presented in 2019. In the category of gastronomy, Merida in Mexico, Bergamon in Italy and Hyperabad in India also received Creative City status this year..

Cities which apply for the Creative City status need to remain committed to ensuring creativity.  Creative economies are at the centre of UNESCO’s urban development plans for making cities safer, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable.

Cape Whale Coast Tourism said that this win “is a showcase of government and private sector collaboration, where political buy-in was needed as well as the extensive demonstration of how local businesses are delivering on the culinary experience”.

Two years ago Darryl David led the bid to name Durban as the UNESCO City of Literature.  Given the success of the Durban bid, David decided to tackle the City of Gastronomy bid, choosing Hermanus ahead of Paarl and Stellenbosch for his bid focus, given its ‘wide variety of foods wine and scenic beauty’, the Cape Whale Coast website states. 

David explained that Hermanus ticks many of the boxes that qualify a city or town to apply to be a Unesco City of Gastronomy. The United Nations agency does not only want cities with fine restaurants but also regions with a rich agricultural heritage. “Hermanus is a city on the rise in terms of culinary heritage, and has a great tourism impact,” David said. According to Frieda Lloyd, Whale Coast Tourism Manager, recognition as a Creative City of Gastronomy integrates Hermanus’s (sic) culinary element with other local tourism focuses, such as arts, adventure and nature. She said: “Becoming part of the Unesco network provides an opportunity to leverage international cooperation. We have so much to offer and want to share our gems with the international audience considering sustainable holiday options. For those privileged to live here prepare the menu with the best of what the world offers’

Carolyn Martin, co-owner of Creation Wines, writes on the Cape Whale Coast website that Hermanus offers much to see, with great attractions. “We have Whale Watching, great food and the Hermanus wine route with its spectacular beauty and diversity,” she said. Martin explained that in combining the dedication of local farmers with the highest quality standards, with the imaginative foraging of ingredients indigenous to the area “We believe that Hermanus offers the finest, most varied and creative gastronomic experiences in the country”. 

Congratulations to the Hermanus and Cape Whale Coast bid team for garnering this great gastronomic UNESCO honour for the region, in being named a City of Gastronomy. 


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein

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