Garden Route Tourist AttractionsThe Whale Watching in the Garden Route
Whilst the Garden Route, between Mossel Bay and Storm's River, does not get landbased whale watching in quite the same way as Hermanus, Witsand and De Hoop, whales are still very much in evidence in the more secluded bays particularly around Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay.
Where? Along the Garden Route coast
How? Various operators offer boat based whale watching trips
Mossel Bay offers a three-hour boat-based whale watching trip to Seal Island, whilst the largely unspoilt and beautiful beaches around Victoria Bay and Herold's Bay offer some wonderful vantage points to watch over the waters. If you can, make a stop at Dolphin's Point at Kaaiman's Pass on the N2 – on clear days this is an amazing place to spot whales and dolphins. Also head for Sedgefield's Gerike's Point and Swartvlei Beach.
Knysna lagoon offers a sailing cruise past the Heads, another renowned area for spotting whales, and on towards Buffalo Bay. See southern right, humpback whales and even dolphins.
The Whale Trail includes an overnight at Noetzie beach in huts just above the crashing waves, where it is common to catch sight of the southern right whale.
Plettenberg Bay and the Robberg Peninsula - Plett in particular deserves a visit when the wales are in. It too calls itself the 'whale capital' of the world, in similar vein to Hermanus.
In Plett's case, it has more to do with the whales' prevalence – the bay sees Bryde's, orcas and a range of dolphins all year round - and the duration of their visit – no sooner do the southern right whales start to head off than the humpback whales arrive, to remain until early January, usually whole families of them.
Add to this the rather impressive Cape fur seal community that makes the bay their home, and you can understand that Plettenberg Bay might contend for the title, even if their credentials are slightly different.
The area between the Athene shipwreck and the Keurbooms River in Plettenberg Bay draws a fairly large number of southern right whales. They roll in the waters close to shore.
And for excellent shore and cliff-based whale viewing head to the Robberg Peninsula and nature reserve, signal Hill, the Beacon Isle, Look-out deck, Look-out beach and Harkerville.