During the springtime, Hermanus is abuzz with visitors from all over the world who come in search of the world’s best land-based whale sightings. During this time of year, the sleepy seaside town transforms into a whirlwind of activity culminating in the annual Whale Festival at the end of September.
Hermanus is best accessed on domestic flights from Durban to Cape Town, or from Johannesburg to Cape Town. After you land in the Mother City, you’ll definitely want to hire a car to make the most of your drive to Hermanus and the adventures beyond.
One of these off-the-beaten-track destinations is Stanford.
What Does Stanford Have to Offer?
For starters, Stanford is a peaceful respite from the peak-season action of Hermanus. If you’d rather experience the Whale Coast without the crowds, this little-known hamlet is the place to be.
You’ll find this riverside town about 16km inland from Hermanus along the R43. It’s a place where inviting countryside hospitality, slow food and an equally sedate pace are the order of the day. Stanford is a top destination for romantic breaks, quiet walks, extended coffee breaks and lingering meals.
These are some of the main attractions in Stanford:
If authentic retro-style is your thing, you’ll have a field day among the second-hand shops and antique stores in Stanford. The Trading Store is a weekends-only emporium of old-school household knickknacks, and The New Junk shop is a top place to browse among the classics, complete with a rickety old cash register. Vintage sculptures, silverware, crystal and glass adorn every inch of Bellairs Withers on Queen Victoria Street.’
Antjies Handmade Naturals is your go-to for one-of-a-kind crafts.
Don’t miss the Saturday Market alongside the Stanford Art Café to stock up on delectable fresh bakes, preserves, herbs, vegetables, flowers and honey.
Take your taste buds on the trip of a lifetime with fresh seasonal food prepared with care. Stanford is fast joining the ranks of other small towns like Paternoster as a foodie destination of note. Family fare, pub grub and gourmet eats are all made with the Stanford’s signature ingredients – patience and time.
The Wine Route
Elect a driver and take a drive along the Overberg wine route.So long as you aren’t driving solo, stop off at some (or all) of the 10 wine estates along the way. Whether you choose to sip on rosés, MCCs, infused gins and craft beers or take part in food and wine pairings, it’s an outing that never fails to impress.
Klein River Farmstead specialises in artisan cheese platters and picnics in the countryside.
Getting out in Nature
You can tackle the slopes of the Klein Rivier Mountains at Phillipskop Mountain Reserve or wander along the river on Stanford’s official hiking route. There’s a good chance you’ll get to see fish eagles, blue cranes and even Cape eagle owls along the way.
At Flower Valley Farm, wander among enchanted forest scenes and fynbos before settling down for a picnic in the fields.
Stanford Hills Estate, the historic White Water Farm and the African Horse Company offer idyllic horseback rides among the fynbos and hills surrounding Stanford. At White Water Farm you can try your hand at quad biking if you prefer 4 wheels to 4 legs.
With the Klein River right on your doorstep, it’s easy to find ways to get out on the water. Kayaking, canoeing and relaxing cruises are all on offer in Stanford.
Getting Out of Town
Stanford is the perfect base from which to enjoy the whale watching activities and festival fun of Hermanus. When you’ve had your fill of the bustle, you can take a time out back in this celebrated country environment.
You don’t need to restrict your visit to whale season either, other things to do in Stanford include day trips to nearby Gansbaai for exhilarating shark cage diving, or the De Hoop Nature Reserve for quad biking, hiking and snorkelling.
Book your Flights from Durban to Cape Town
Thanks to low prices on domestic flights, a trip to explore the wonders of the Western Cape is within your reach.
Head on over to our flight comparison page and compare prices on flights from Durban to Cape Town. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is to explore your own country.