Whales and Whale Watching in South Africa

Whale watching in South Africa is a great tourist opportunity for you to see and learn about whales. Whale watching in South Africa now contributes to protecting our whales and while it is important to regulate the whale watching industry the fact that the protection of whales makes more financial sense than the destruction of whales has lead to the increase in whale populations in South Africa. Although we have learned a lot about whales in recent years they are still mysterious creatures which were hunted by man for centuries for their oil, meat and whaleboane.    

Whale watching South Africa Whaling resulted in decimation of a number of large whale populations, including both the local Humpback and Southern Right Whale. Between 1785 and 1805 some 12 000 Southern Right Whales were estimated to have been caught in southern African waters amounted to about 25 000 animals. Both species are now recovering in South African waters.

To find out more about whale watching tours in South Africa

South Africa's Southern Cape Coast Between Lambert's Bay and in the west and Port Elizabeth in the east offers visitors the wonderful opportunity to watch these large whales of the sea from one of the many look-out points along the coast. Remember your binoculars, camera, sunscreen and walking shoes when setting out for a day of whale watching.

Whale watching locations along the Cape Coast

PORT BEAUFORT / WITSAND

Whale watching South Africa - Southern Right whale Take the R322 from the N2 between Swellendam and Heidelberg. The mouth for the Breede River at Port Beaufort is well-known for fishing and six months of whale watching between May and November. From Witsand whale watchers can expect an unobstructed view of these gentle giants.

STILLBAAI

Scores of Southern Right Whales in young enter the placid waters of The Bay of Sleeping Beauty to bear their calves. The new-borns can be spotted frolicking with their attentive mothers from Lappiesbaai Restaurant (Stillbaai East) adnd the parking area about the harbour. At the jetty wall close encounters (only a hundred meters offshore) with whales can be experienced, whilst water fills the ancient fish traps adjacent to the harbour,

GOURITZMOND/VLEESBAAI

The mouth of Gouritz River serves as a mecca for anglers and boasts lovely beaches and tidal pool. This placid coastline offers exciting whale-watching opportunities.

DANA BAY

Take the turn-off from the N2 between Albertinia and Mossel bay and observe whales from unspoiled beaches.

MOSSEL BAY

A bustling holiday resort embraced by a spectacular sun-washed peninsula and the warm Idian Ocean, lies halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. From Bat's Cave and the St. Blaize Lighthouse at The Point the views of waves crashing against the rocky shoreline and the natural pool amongst the rocks is a delght at low tide. Whales, Dolphins and seals entertain onlookers fro many an hour. For a unique experience walk the St. Blaize hiking trail and play hide-and-seek with passing whales. Whilst relaxing on De Bakke Beach,with the stunning setting and the view from the north-facing beaches you can experience the care-free playing of whales and dolphins. Regular boat trips to Seal Island give you the best chance to spot whales, dolphins, jackass penguins, seals and sharks.

HARTENBOS

Situated on route from Mossel Bay to Oudtshoorn boasts with one of the longest walking beaches in the Southern Cape. You can experience marine life in every form.

LITTLE BRAK RIVER, REEBOK and TERGNIET

Catch lowtide and walk along the beach from Hartenbos to Tergniet where whales are often spotted.

GREAT BRAK RIVER

Females come close to the beach to calve - just behind the surf. Spectacular views can be found from the sand dunes. Excellent whale watching and very recommended site

BALLOTS BAY, HEROLD'S BAY and VICTORIA BAY

Are also cosy bays where these giant mammals frolic at close proximity to whale watches.

WILDERNESS

The small seaside resort lies at the very heart of the Garden Route. It is 15km east of George and an ideal whale watching destination. Dolphin's Point, at the east end of the spectacular Kaaiman's Pass (part of the N2 highway), overlooks some 20km of beach and the bay. It si a breathtaking viewpoint from where whales can often be seen swimming just behind the breakers. Leentjies Klip is at the west end of Sands Road, and Flat Rock Beach is below the Holiday Inn Garden Court. Both are much favoured for whale and dolphin watching. Kleinkrans is three kilometers to the east of Flat Rock Beach, Whales are often seen from the parking area, while the beach itself is easily accessible to those who want to watch the dolphins from there.

SEDGEFIELD

Nestling between pine covered hill sand beautiful unspoiled beaches you will find this tranquil village situated on the banks of the Swartvlei Beach area. (take the turn-off from the N2 at the Fynbos Restaurant 3 km west of Sedgefield.) Both these venues offer great opportunities for whale and dolphin watching. There is a rich marine life around Gericke's point - keep in mind that this viewpoint can only be reached from two hours before adn two hours after low tide. The Fynboskruin Eco-Tourism Centre, on the Swartvlei Beach turn-off, provides guided 4 wheel drive tours through sepctacular fynbos to the Fynboskruin viewsiteThis viewpoint, overlooking Swartvlei Beach and Gericke's Point, gives whale watchers a spectacular view of the sea, lakes, forest and mountains. Sedgefield Beach offers a variety of view sites and can be reached by taking Kingfisher Drive at the only traffic light in Sedgefield. Take the Lake Pleasant trun-off from the N2 east of Sedgefield - stay on the gravel road until you reach Groenvlei Beach. with its neatly situated viewpoint.,

BUFFALO BAY

Situated 21km west of Knysan is worth visiting. Viewers can relax in the restaurant or do their whale watching from the beach. The turn-off to Buffalo Bay is signposted from the N2 on the western apprach to Knysna.

KNYSNA

Affords excellent opportunities for viewing these magnigicent seasonal visitors. Perhaps the best viewing is from Brenton-on-Sea; either from next to the hotel or from the wooden boardwalk on the dunes of the new Brenton extension. In order to get there take the Brenton-on-Sea turn-off from the N2 west of Knysna. The huge rock promontories know as The Knysna Heads guarding the entrance to the Knysna Lagoon are the best-known viewpoint, offering an unfrogettable view of the rugged coastline and tranquil lagoon. Whales have even been known to enter the lagoon for some peace and quiet, much to the delight of visitors and and residents. To reach the Heads take the George Rex Drive from the N2 which runs through Knysna. Noetzie, a small beach resort just a few kilometers south east of Knysna is also a popular viewpoint. (Noetzie castles overlook the sea.) Noetzie is signposted from the N2.

PLETTENBERG BAY

Offers outstanding whale watching facilities with ideal viewpoints along the coastline and a "Whale Hotline" (Tel: 04457 - 33743 for any information about the whales and their whereabouts). The Southern Right Whale was harvested in this bay between 1913 and 1916. The area between the wreck of the Athene (at the soutern end of Lookout beach) and Keurbooms River is especially favoured by the Southern Right Whales. This magnificent, mountain encircled bay offers the whales the undisturbed peace they seek when courting and calving. The Robberg Peninsula, looms protectively over its nursery and provides a granstand of incomparable beauty and viewing pleasure. Should you wish to go to Robberg take Odland Drive down towards the Beacon Isle, turn right at the circle; the first road to yur left is Robberg Road. Follow the signs to the airport. Drive approximately 4-5 km along this road untilyou come to the sign which directs you to the Robberg Nature Reserve. Other whale watching points are from Beachy Head Road at Robberg Beach, and Signal Hill(in San Gonzales Street past the Post Office and Police Station.) From the windows of the Beacon Islespectators once witnessed the birth of a calf. This must be one of the most spectacular views sites, as well as from the Look-out Deck on Look-out Beach.On route from Plettenberg Bay to Knysna is the Harkerville turn-off. Continue along this road for 7km until you reach the Kranshoek viewpoint and hiking trail. There are also wonderful whale watching points along this route.

NATURE'S VALLEY

Approximately 20 km from Plettenberg Bay (R102). Occasionally one or two pairs (consisting of a mother and her calf) will take up "residence" in the vicinity of Nature's Valley.Continue along the Bloukrans Pass until you reach the Tsitsikamma National Park, at the Storms River Mouth.The National Park offers excellent whale watching opportunities.

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