A dam(n) good spot to escape the tourists in Hermanus, South Africa


Every so often you stumble upon an amazing place that have been hiding right under your nose for ages. I discovered a place like this a couple of days ago and it completely blew my mind.

Since I can remember my family has spent the December holidays at the beautiful beach town of Hermanus. Hermanus is situated on the southern coast of the Western Cape and is known as one of the best whale watching spots in the world. During the month of September the town celebrates the return of the southern right whales to the bay, with their annual “Whale Festival”.


The sleepy fisherman’s village has turned into bustling tourist destination over the years and is rapidly expanding to accommodate the huge influx of tourists. The beautiful beaches like Grotto and Voëlklip also attract large numbers of people every summer and during this time of year the locals flee the beaches to escape the crowds, and head into the mountains.


After receiving some inside info about the a “secret” place called The Three Dams, I decided I had to go check it out because I was astounded that I’ve never heard of it before. As you drive out of town towards the suburb of Voëlklip, you will find a huge traffic circle. Instead of heading straight towards the main road, take the first exit on your left. Continue with this road towards the mountain until you see a gate. Park your car and get ready for a short hike to the “Drie Damme” or Three Dams.


The hike does not take very long (approx. 20mins) but it does have a couple of steep steps to reach the top. We stopped at the first dam but it is possible to continue with the small footpaths to reach the other two (even more secluded) dams.


The area is beautifully surrounded by lush fynbos that covers the mountains on both sides. There is a waterfall that fills the dam with fresh cold rainwater and makes for a very spectacular sight, especially after a bit of a downpour. You can swim in the brown mountain water of the dam, sunbathe on the shores, or if you are a bit more adventurous, jump off the cliffs next to the waterfall.


This is the perfect place to have a picnic and just enjoy nature away from the crowded beaches of Hermanus. Be sure to pack enough to eat and drink for the whole day because once you see it you will find it hard to leave. I think my beach holiday just turned into a mountain holiday.



8 responses to “A dam(n) good spot to escape the tourists in Hermanus, South Africa

  1. Hi. Is there bass or trout fishing allowed in these dams, and what permits are required if yes?

    • Hi Gary, I asked some of the locals and most of them said it was not allowed. But I could not find any official confirmation either. I’ve been there quite a few times and I have never seen anyone fishing there though, so I’d say it isn’t allowed.
      If it’s fly fishing that you’re after, maybe try Vaalvlei near Stanford here’s a link: http://vaalvlei.co.za/

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