Whale Watching in South Africa
There are several locations around the world where one can enjoy whale watching, but few can compare to South Africa. In June, the Southern Right whales leave their sub-antarctic feeding grounds and migrate north to mate and calve in the warmer waters of the protected rocky bays and inlets that occur along the South African coastline. From Cape Town, along to Hermanus, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Elizabeth, these magnificent mammals can be seen from the shore, their antics providing hours of entertainment for travellers intent on playing witness as literally tonnes of aquatic beast breach and tail-slap as if to order.
Hermanus provides the perfect base, with elevated views of the bay from the rugged cliff-top paths. The ‘Whale Crier’ patrols the streets blowing a kelp horn to inform passers-by of the best sightings of the day. From July through to October, good sightings can be almost guaranteed – and although Hermanus is well known for this, don’t discount sightings at other seaside towns.
For a more laid back place to stay and see the whales, the De Hoop will fit the bill. This place used to be the retreat of Presidents of South Africa up to the end of apartheid and subsequently is set in a beautiful bay and the land around is now a reserve for wildlife. Imagine standing on a sandy dune watching whales in front of you while not far behind you are zebra browsing on the fynbos. This is a great place to relax, bike around and swim in the sea while being aware of the history of the place.
A tour of the Cape Peninsular, a stroll on the beach at Knysna or Plettenberg Bay, or a stay at Jeffrey’s Bay will also prove rewarding, and all can be combined in a self-drive route along this southern coast – please see “South African Highlights”.
Photographs by kind permission South Africa Tourism