Western Cape Tourist Attractions Whale Watching in Cape Agulhas
Where? Cape Agulhas Region, Western Cape
When? Open daily.
How? Call +27 (0)21 872-3441
Cape Agulhas may not be as beautiful as the Cape Peninsula, nor boast quite the land-based whale watching of Hermanus, Walker Bay or Witsand. However there is the bonus of fewer people, and thus the advantage of access to the whales without the crowds.
The town of L'Agulhas is famous for its position, more than anything else - it lies at the southernmost tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, its rocks have been privy to more than their fair share of shipwrecks, and it is home to a rather atmospheric lighthouse, the second-oldest in South Africa.
But Agulhas National Park with its 56km strandveld covered, sand dune ridden coastline, and the beaches below the lighthouse, provides wonderful vantage points from which to spot whales, and a particularly rugged, windswept environment in which to enjoy them.
Struisbaai's harbour, although essentially a fishing harbour with a few recreational vessels, is where boats leave on whale watching expeditions. It was only in 2010 that Struisbaai was awarded a permit, ahead of the World Cup, but spotting whales by boat is undoubtedly popular in the seaside village.
It's not the only way to see them, however. Struisbaai boasts the longest continuous stretch of beach in the southern hemisphere, known as Struisbaaiplaat, where whales have been known to venture in as close as 20 metres from the shore.
From the cliffs of Arniston one is said to hear the whales singing at night in the waters below. Whale watching here is a quieter, more sedate venture than in Walker Bay, but sightings are good from the cliffs overlooking the site of the HMS Arniston shipwreck, which ran aground in 1815, and along the Waenhuiskrans Nature Reserve coastline.
Arniston also runs boat-based whale watching.