Overberg in South Africa
Extending from Swellendam in the east to the Hottentots-Holland Mountains in the west, the Cape Overberg is a vast region with plenty of stunning vistas and diverse landscapes.
Everything you need to know
A two-and-a-half hour drive from Cape Town lies a location of such tremendous beauty that it draws thousands of travelers each year to its orchards, woodlands, grain fields, and panoramic views surrounded by undulating mountain ranges. The Cape Overberg is a vast region with plenty of stunning vistas and diverse landscapes.
The best way to experience this special area is on a self-drive trip, with the quaint towns of Hermanus and Gansbaai not to be missed. Along its cliff route, Hermanus offers the best land-based whale watching, whereas Gansbaai is well known for its Great White Shark and whale sightings. The real “jewel” of the Overberg, however, can be found in other, more remote and unknown villages. Every single one of them is fascinating and has something to offer all types of travelers.
Location of the Overberg
The Overberg extends from Swellendam in the east to the Hottentots-Holland Mountains in the west. It stretches north to the Riviersonderend Mountains, and south to include a spectacular shoreline that attracts the gentle giants of the Blyde and Southern Right whales on a yearly basis.
When to visit the Overberg
As the whales visit the shores of the Overberg between May and October, this is a popular time to visit for travelers. The best floral displays usually occur from August to mid-October, making this an even more popular time to visit.
Peak season (Mid October to Mid-February)
This is the peak season as warm, humid temperatures promote activities such as swimming, surfing and scuba diving. Whale watching pulls in significant crowds during the first half of the summer months.
Low season (Mid-February to April)
Autumn in the Overberg is considered to be the low season because fewer travelers are present. The region experiences intense sunshine, with temperatures ranging from 23 degrees celsius to 27 degrees celsius.
Shoulder season (April to May)
Spring marks shoulder season in the Overberg, as whale watching activity is at its lowest.
Some of the Overberg’s top destinations
The world’s top land-based whale viewing destination, Hermanus is a flourishing vacation resort that provides locals and travelers with all the contemporary conveniences while still maintaining its charming fishing community feel. The town’s mild climate, natural scenic beauty, variety of outdoor activities and accessibility to Cape Town – only 140 kilometers away – all contribute to its success. There is something for everyone in Hermanus. Over 40 kilometers of walks in the stunning mountains of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve provides an impressive backdrop to the town, while the unspoiled beaches offer seclusion. The Klein River Lagoon, known for its boating activities, is also a birder’s paradise.
Nestled between the towns of Hermanus and Pearly Beach, Gansbaai lies at the foot of the Duynefontein Mountain range. The humble village boasts an incredible shoreline and fynbos-rich ecosystem. The Danger Point Peninsula’s Atlantic seas are frequently visited by Southern Right Whales and Great White Sharks, which are a major source of tourism for the town. African penguins, cormorants, and other seabirds breed on Dyer Island, which lies nearby Gansbaai. Around 60,000 Cape fur seals call Geyser Island, another island close by, home. The strait between these islands has earned the moniker “shark alley” because of its obvious attraction for the sharks. Despite its growing popularity, Gansbaai is still a fishing village, and the town’s dependence on its harbor and daily catch is what makes it so special and enjoyable to visit.
Between the towns of Arniston and Witsand, on the southern Cape coast, lies the De Hoop Nature Reserve and its neighboring marine reserve. This reserve ranks as one of the most biologically varied in the world and is one of Southern Africa’s most outstanding floral wonderlands. The area also boasts the top whale mating and calving ground for the Southern Right Whale just off of its coast. If whale watching isn’t alluring enough, a dizzying array of adventures amid the flawless white dunes and vibrant fynbos fields await. Indulge in bike rides, hikes, nature walks and a plethora of beach activities while opting to stay in luxurious accommodation in a delightful location. De Hoop is a must visit along the Overberg.
The rugged peninsula of Cape Agulhas is the place where the two enormous oceans of the Atlanitc and Indian meet, and one should not miss out on the chance to get their photograph taken at the official southernmost tip of Africa. Many travelers consider the stunning, ancient red and white Cape Agulhas Lighthouse as a symbol that denotes the tip of Africa. Even if you’re afraid of heights or scared by the wooden stairways that in some places resemble ladders, it is well worth the effort to reach the top. The two seaside towns of L’Agulhas and Struisbaai converge to form a row of seaside houses from which to enjoy the warm and striking sand beaches. It will be hard to top a Cape Agulhas seaside getaway with its combination of breathtaking beauty, captivating nature reserves and beachside vacation fun.