Whale watching in South Africa: Every year without fail, thousands of the worlds largest marine mammals are irresistibly drawn to the temperate and tropical waters of southern Africa.
The best time for whale watching in South Africa is during our winter months from July to November. With land-based, boat-based and aerial whale watching options, South Africa offers some of the most accessible and rewarding whale and dolphin watching opportunities in the world.
Southern right whales are the whales most commonly sighted whale in the Western Cape. Coming close inshore to calve and mate, southern right whales were once considered the ‘right’ whales to kill. They must now be considered the right whales to watch as they may often be seen just behind the breakers and are easily observed from the shore in many areas in the Cape from Cape Town to East London
The high cliffs of the Western Cape provide an ideal vantage point for the seasonal whale watching of southern right whales. The seaside town of Hermanus holds it’s annual whale festival in September in celebration of all things cetacean. Hermanus is widely regarded as the whale watching capital of South Africa. However, the De Hoop Nature Reserve with its whale trail and nearby St Sebastian Bay boast the highest concentrations of southern right whale mother and calf pairs.
Humpback whales are also seasonal visitors to South African waters. As they pass us on their migration to and from the tropics, humpback whales can often be seen breaching and tail slapping offshore in all regions to the east of Cape Town – see whale and dolphin watching tours.
The Wildcoast is perhaps one of the best places for land-based viewing of humpback whales in the South Africa. The annual humpback whale migration is quite spectacular as hundreds of whales pass by daily. The whales often travel close inshore using the coastal currents and can be easily viewed from the cliffs along the Wildcoast.
Whale watching charters: Boat-based whale watching is regulated in South Africa and it’s important to choose a reputable and licensed whale watching operator. Whale watching charters are available in most coastal areas. Charters are generally about 2 hours and provide your best chance of having a close encounter with whales. Your chances of encountering different species of whales and dolphin, are also considerably increased by taking a boat-based whale watching tour.
Dolphin tours and charters: Outside of whale season there is still a lot to be seen on any marine tour. Dolphins are found the year round and dolphin watching tours and charters are available in most coastal areas.
Dolphin species to be found in South Africa include bottlenose, humpback, common and dusky dolphins – see whales and dolphins of South Africa.
Oceans Africa is the only South African tour company that specialises in whale and dolphin watching tours and charters, throughout South Africa – from Cape Town to KwaZulu Natal and into Mozambique. Our guides and associates are among the best in the local industry and are always on hand to ensure that you experience the best and most informed whale and dolphin encounters possible.