A story of ‘discovery’Way back in 1815, teacher Hermanus Pieters arrived in Cape Town and trekked eastwards with the first ox wagon train. He was heading to Caledon, a farming community where he settled and taught from his farm, Boontjieskraal.
One summer in the early 1820s he was herding his sheep and cattle down the then ‘Elephant Pass’, known today as the Hermel-en-Aarde valley. There he found excellent land for grazing and plenty of fresh water. He had ‘discovered’ Hermanuspietersfontein, which would become the well-known coastal country town of Hermanus.
Railway station riddleIn the early 1900s, Sir William Hoy was general manager of the South African Railways. Beguiled by the natural charm and prime fishing spots, Hermanus became a favourite holiday spot for him and his wife. In time he became one of the village’s most ardent patrons.
With a railway station in place, a railway line and train was a practical inevitability. However, wanting to preserve the natural integrity of the place, Hoy used his position and influence to prevent a track from being built.
Remarkably preservedWhile the town has grown, Hermanus has retained its natural heritage and the village charm for which it is well known. Owing to the ongoing efforts of residents, conservationists, patrons (like Sir Hoy) and local authorities, Hermanus is an unusual balance of infrastructural convenience and quirky village atmosphere.
Pat’s PlaceSome of the items in the Guest House date as far back as the days when great-granny Hettie, one of the original inhabitants would journey to Hermanus by ox wagon to holiday in Hermanus. Her daughter, Sheilagh, was mother to Michael who married Pat, a special lady after whom Pat's Place is named.
Suzanne is married to Michael’s son, Nicholas. Her children are fifth generation Hermanus residents and fourth generation on the Pat’s Place property. Speak to Suzanne and she will happily bring to life the evocative characters that lived here. Ask her about the vintage egg beater, high chair and chandelier, all of which are still in use and on the premises.