map

satsa logo

Follow myafricatravel on Twitter 


Whale Watching in South Africa


img1   img2

The eastern seaboard of South Africa from Port Elizabeth down to the Cape Point itself is the playground for whales. From July through until early December they can be seen mating, giving birth or just generally playing around

All along the coastline for 5 months of the year whales can be seen very close to land. In specific areas like Hermanus, the whales are literally within meters of the rocks where you can stand and observe them for hours at a time.

For the best pictures of them jumping, then an Ocean safari would be the order of the day, one that we can arrange in advance for you - please let us know!

There are several different species, the most common being the Southern Right Whale - so named because it frequents the southern hemisphere and was considered to be the 'right' whale to catch on account of it being rich in oil and baleen.

Other whale types to be seen include Humpback, Bryds's and Killer Whales or Orcas.

Some interesting terms:
Sailing
The term applied when Whales are sometimes seen to lift their tails out of the water for long periods.
Spy Hopping
The head is large and covered with wart-like bumps called callosities. These differ in size and position and are often used to identify individuals. They will often stand upright with their heads out of the water for several seconds at a time.
Blowing
A sound made when expelling air through the blowhole. This is accompanied by a spout of condensed water vapour. This however is the normal breathing pattern of the animal.
Breaching
Leaping out of water in an arching back flip and falling back on their sides or back with a resounding slap. This is believed to be a way of communication, exercise or possibly to scratch the parasites off that live on whales. They can braech form 3 to 8 times in succesion.
Lobtailing
The slapping of flukes and tail on the water, causing a loud sound, appears to be a means of communication.

THE BEST VIEWING PLACES


HERMANUS
This is the No.1 spot in the world for land based whale watching. The town even has its perminent whale cryer. Most of the accommodation in the town is of 4* standard with two good 5* establishments. Generally speaking we advise our clients to stay for 2 nights or possibly 3 if taking a Great White Shark Cage Dive trip. You can also go on an Ocean safari from Hermaus. Loads of good restaurants and bars around. Traffic congestion is probably the biggest negative but not a huge problem.

PLETTENBERG BAY
Not quite up to the standard of Hermanus from a land based point of view but you can certainly stand on the beach at the bay and see the whales within 20 or 30 meters. Probably better known for its Ocean Safaris as there are less exclusion zones than other areas. Excellent accommodation in the area and its in the heart of the Garden Route so a 4 - 6 night stay is well recommended if you have the time.

CAPE POINT & CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
All along this section of coastline threr are vantage points from which you can observe the whales. Mostly you are on high ground looking down so some really good photo opportunites.

OTHER AREAS
These would include Table Bay, Hout Bay, Wilderness and Port Elizabeth.

 

img3  img4