South Africa Outdoor ActivitiesWhale Watching in South Africa
Whale watching in South Africa is of the best in the world.
Nothing prepares you for your first whale and the impact that seeing it has upon you. Perhaps it is their immensity. Definitely it is the whales' authenticity and the absolute trust they show towards us. But mostly it is the overwhelming sense of awe, of joy, of having been touched by something greater than oneself that translates into 13 million people around the world enjoying organised whale watching annually.
Whale watching is one of the Western Cape's biggest draw cards
For those of you who haven't yet sat in a boat, or stood on land, and marvelled as a whale the size of a jumbo jet rises out of the water just in front of you, or glides past and 'catches' your eye, then you have yet to become obsessed with watching these gentle giants.
For others, for whom a commune with the whales is an annual pilgrimage; an event that gains the kind of precedence bordering on compulsive, a visit with these mammals of the deep takes on an element of ritual and renewal. The experience of a whale's willingness to share themselves with humans, despite the atrocities we have and continue to employ against them, is humbling.
South Africa is one of the best places in the world for whale watching
Whilst our waters are home to a wealth of resident dolphins, porpoises and whales all year round it is the annual migration of the Humpback, Brydes and Southern right whale in particular, between June and November, that allows us to boast exceptional land-based, and boat-based, whale watching in South Africa. And thus to welcome thousands of visitors to our seaside towns.
Whale watching in South Africa is so popular that whales have joined the ranks of lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard. Collectively they make up the 'big six' of African game viewing. The sheer elegance of these massive sea mammals, their spectacular displays of water gymnastics and gentle majesty leave even hardened cynics oddly moved.
Well over 100 000 whale watching enthusiasts arrive just in the little Western Cape seaside village of Hermanus, during their annual September Whale Festival, for the best land-based whale watching in the world.
The sheltered bays and coves between Cape Hangklip and Witsand draw southern rights in particularly large numbers. They come here to mate and rear their young.
Whilst the Overberg area draws, without doubt, the strongest presence of the southern right whale it is not the only place to see them. There are spots right the way from Lamberts Bay on the west coast, Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay on the Garden Route, through to Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth) on the east coast of South Africa – whale watching in South Africa at its best.
And to spot humpback whales most easily, as they head northward during May and June and again on their return in late October, November, St Lucia is a great destination for whale watching.
Popular Whale Watching Destinations
Whale Watching Cruise
Where? Plettenberg Bay
Our Premium, Close Encounter cruises are conducted on our permitted whale watching vessel "Fatboy". This permit allows our licenced boat to approach whales up to 50 metres. The whales may then move closer if they wish. Whales are usually inquisitive...
More info and contact details: Close Encounter Whale Watching Cruise
Dolphin and Whale Watching
Where? Port St Johns
Rod Hastier has worked for the Natal Sharks Board for many years and will teach you amazing things about sharks and dolphins. He is an excellent skipper with 20 years experience. Contact him for an unforgettable trip. Best months for whale watching are...
More info and contact details: Dolphin and Whale Watching
Watch Whales and Dolphins play
Where? St Francis Bay
Humpback Whales blow powerful sprays into the salty air as you in turn draw in a deep breath and let out a sigh of gratitude for their sighting. Catch the silhouette of these magnificent giants that gently consume the translucent ocean with their...
More info and contact details: Watch Whales and Dolphins play