South Africa

The diversity of South Africa surprises again at Hermanus, one of the best spots in the country for landlubbers to spot southern right whale pods breaching and frolicking. Hermanus town, and cafes for that matter, offer a number of great vantage points to see whales breach (or sea views in the off season). Like all wild animals, there is no guarantee they’ll appear on cue, but there’s always the thrill that you may spot that tell-tale water spout between the waves.

The town boasts the Old Harbour Museum (or Whale House Museum), which pays tribute to the animal that has spearheaded tourism in nearby Walker Bay and indeed along South Africa’s Whale Route since the early 1990s. Inside, you’ll find a purpose-built exhibition hall that houses a suspended whale skeleton and a natural history exhibition.

Art lovers will adore the collection of sculptures by the sea, including a stunning installation of a Cape Malay woman by South African contemporary artist, Lionel Smit. Nearby, local stallholders offer a selection of African wares for shopaholics, but be sure to bargain with them.