Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsWhale Watching in Algoa Bay
Algoa Bay did not feature in the boat-based whale watching scene until a company was awarded a licence in 2011, making visitors' chances of seeing not only southern right wales but orcas (killer whales), Bryde's whales and humpback whales that much more likely.
Where? Whale Watching in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
When? Between the months of August and December
Algoa Bay is a major part of the coastline of Nelson Mandela Bay, the main town of which is Port Elizabeth. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the beaches of this bay to enjoy the warm, safe swimming waters and great weather. The Indian Ocean feeds the coastal alcove and, due to its shape, Algoa Bay is sheltered, not succumbing to the major riptides and waves that sometimes characterise wilder parts of the coastline. This makes it popular amongst families and surfers that want to spend hours in the water.
Algoa Bay is frequented by a number of cetaceans all year round. Schools of bottlenose dolphins leap out of the water daily, and can often be observed gliding parallel to the coast in the early morning. Between the months of August and December, massive humpback whales, Southern Right whales, Bryde’s whales and Minke Whales can be seen moving slowly and majestically in these temperate waters.
Having recently given birth, mothers are frequently spotted with their young calves in tow. As they breach, spyhop and lobtail, spectators often stand on the beach or elevated viewing spots to enjoy their antics. The cetaceans are equally curious and may very well peep out of the water to catch a glimpse of passers-by in boats.
Embarking on a formal whale-watching tour allows visitors to Algoa Bay to learn more about these whales and the threats they face, as well as their migration patterns and breeding habits. During whale season, they are very likely to enjoy great close-up experiences with these mammoth mammals that move so gracefully and peacefully through the water.
Algoa Bay is about halfway between Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, and Cape Town in the Western Cape Province. It is about two hours from the official start of the Garden Route. This makes it central and convenient, while still being quieter and more cost-effective than the usual tourist hotspots of South Africa.