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The Best Whale Spotting Destinations in South Africa

South Africa happens to be one of the most ideal countries for whale spotting. It offers breathtaking sights, regardless of whether you are watching from a boat or land. The months of July all the way to November are best for whale season, which is when they can be seen rearing their young, mating and calving. If you do intend to visit the region to spot whales, then consider a car hire in Cape Town to make it easier to navigate the different whale destinations.

Western Cape

The Western Cape coast is the breeding ground for the Southern Right Whale. This means that they spend a significant amount of time there every year. Whales can be seen nursing their newborn calves, courting and playing in the water. This provides a spectacular view from the land for all whale-watchers to enjoy. These exemplary sightings on the Cape West Coast can be enjoyed from west coast destinations such as Saldanha, Ysterfontein, St Helena Bay, Elands Bay and Lambert’s Bay.

Hermanus

Hermanus is considered to be the ‘capital’ of whale spotting in South Africa and is a 90-minute drive from Cape Town. Whale watching in Hermanus from land is arguably the best in the world. The town even has an annual festival called the Hermanus Whale Festival in early October, which heralds the long-awaited arrival of the gigantic mammals. Whales in Hermanus come within a few meters from the shore with their calves.

Overberg & Southern Cape

This region is a Whale Sanctuary Marine Protected Area, and visitors can watch whales during the peak months of July all the way to November as they make their annual pilgrimage. There are no unauthorised boats which are allowed to access this area during the nuptial activities of the whale.

Garden Route and Plettenberg Bay

This is characterised by a magnificent stretch of coastline that usually hosts many whales in their peak season. The best months to watch whales in these destinations are in May and June which is when Bryde's whales are common all-year round. Plettenberg Bay offers whale watching trips in aircraft, kayaks and boats. To ensure minimal interference to the whales, time spent and viewing distances are strictly monitored. 

Tips

  • Carry a good video camera or camera.
  • Carry a hat as well as a sun block.
  • People should make minimal noise when watching whales as they are sensitive to disturbances.
  • The ideal time to watch whales is very early in the morning when it is less windy.

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