Visitors, from the Cape Town side, to Hermanus would notice the left turn-off to the Hemel-en-Aarde valley at the 2nd traffic light, before the entrance to the town.
It is a valley of almost indescribable beauty. Flanked by the Babylon’s Tower Mountain – higher than Table Mountain – to the north and the Hermanus mountains to the south, with the Onrust River down the middle, and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.
Hemel-en-Aarde Village at the entrance is a great place to start – with the resourceful Wine Village, some of the region’s best restaurants, great art, ceramics, interior decorating and much more.
Leaving Hermanus on the R320, one moves up into the valley and there are mountain views, across vineyards, dams and forests, and down to the sea, as far as Hangklip at the entrance to False Bay. Since 1980, grazing and cash crops have given way to some of the finest vineyards in South Africa.
The Valley is easily accessible. A new tar road extends through most of the Valley almost as far as Caledon.
The valley is also a haven for a huge variety of fauna such as Guinea fowl, Francolin, Egyptian Geese, Duiker, Reebok, Cerval Cat and Baboon. Leopard spoor has also been spotted. The area has a rich diversity of Fynbos and many visitors to Hermanus often hike the trails in the mountains.