Long before European farmers set foot in the area, indigenous Khoi and San peoples grazed their cattle and sheep on the sweet limestone veld on the coastal lowlands. “Strandlopers”, or beach-rangers, dwelled in caves and huts along the shores where seafood was their staple diet. Many died of smallpox and slowly disappeared and the remainder joined tribes to the east.
In the early 1700’s new inhabitants arrived in the area. Cape Colony farmers made use of the pastures between the foothills of the Barren Mountains, now the Klein River mountains, and the Great Southern Ocean (Walker Bay).
Hermanus Pieters, a teacher from Holland, came to the Caledon district in 1815. The fountain, Hermanuspietersfontein, just west of the present village where a commemorative garden now stands, and the village itself, were named after him.
Village pioneers first camped at Rietfontein (see map) near Hermanus Pieters’ fountain, but later moved closer to the Old Harbour, around which the village of Hermanus developed.
An interesting historical meander has been developed through the village of Hermanus. Guided tours: ’Historic Hermanus Walk‘ and ’Hoy’s Koppie’ can be arranged through the Hermanus History Society or Tourist Bureau. Contact Hermanus Tourist Office 028 312 2629.