Western Cape Tourist Attractions Whale Watching in False Bay
False Bay – Cape Town's Peninsula: During the late 1800s and 1900s False Bay and Table Bay had thriving whaling stations, there were so many whales in the bays. Today they do not attract quite the level of whale activity as towns further east, but come they still do.
Where? False Bay Coast, Cape Peninsula, Western Cape
When? Open daily.
Humpback and Byde's whales are commonly spotted away from the shore. You are more likely to see them out on one of the boat-based whale watching expeditions. But expert whale watchers say to look out for the three distinct notches on the dorsal fin that distinguishes the Bryde's whale.
Spotting whales close to shore is all about getting high enough to see them and having a pair of binoculars at the ready. Cape Town offers plenty of opportunity to see them, simply head up onto the cliffs. If you want to get closer to the whales, try hiking along the myriad hikes of the coast – the Oude Skip hike is one example.
Boyes Drive – the winding mountain road gets right up above False Bay beaches of Muizenberg, Dalebrook, St James Tidal Pool, and Kalk Bay offering sublime sightings, with binoculars, on days when the wind is calm. In any given day from June there are sightings in False Bay of southern right, humpback and Bryde's whales. A whale of a heritage route website keeps an online log of whales as and when they are sighted.
Fish Hoek - Jager's Walk that skirts the shoreline just might bring you across a couple of whales close to the boulders but whales have been sighted right in the bay too.
Coastal Road – between Fish Hoek and Simons Town there are some good vantage points for sighting whales, but it gets even better from Boulders to Smitswinkelbaai. At Cape Point the vantage point above Rooikrans is excellent, or stop and picnic at Buffel's Bay tidal pool (if crowds don't bother you).
Chapman's Peak offers wonderful vantage points, particularly as you are way above the whales. But you'll need binoculars.
Baden Powell Drive is one of the lesser known roads connected with whales. Linking Muizenberg with the N2, Capetonians use it as an alternative route to reach Somerset West or Stellenbosch. Strandfontein and Diaz beach, as well as Wolfgat Nature Reserve offer wonderful, if a little lonely, stretches of beach from which to spot whales.
Clarence Drive – the scenic drive between Gordon's Bay and Rooi Els en route to Hermanus has several incredible high points at which to see whales.
Whale watching boat tours operate from Simon's Town, Hout Bay and the Waterfront.