Whale and Dolphin Watching
Whale Watching South Africa
“Whales grazed the waters as if they were seagoing cattle, straining the nutrient-rich surface of the ocean through the bushy plates of baleen in their perpetually grinning mouths.”
Looking for the best Whale Watching in South Africa?
Join us on a whale watching tour!
Oceans Africa have been crafting specialist whale watching tours in South Africa for over 20 years. We have worked the in the whale watching industry in guide and skipper roles and know the industry from the inside – so let us help you plan your whale watching tour in South Africa
Whale Watching South Africa
Watch Whales & Dolphins in South Africa
The whale watching in South Africa can be simply spectacular as every year thousands the worlds largest animals make the migration to their breeding grounds in the temperate and tropical waters of southern Africa.
More that 40 species of cetacean can be found in the waters of the southern Africa sub-region.
Southern right whales and humpback whales are the main migratory species. Their numbers increasing with every passing year to create a natural spectacle that can be enjoyed from almost any coastal town along our coastline.
Southern Right Whales
Southen right whales in South Africa
Southern right whales are perhaps the most commonly sighted whale in the Western Cape. Coming close inshore to calve and mate, they 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 where they are easily observed from the shore.
Active whales are easy to spot an may seen breaching and tail slapping in many areas from Cape Town to East London.
Watching Humpback Whales
Humpback whales are also seasonal visitors to the waters of South Africa. As they pass us on their migration to and from the tropics, they can often be seen breaching and tail slapping offshore in all regions to the east of Cape Town
The Wildcoast is perhaps one of the best places for observing humpback whales in South Africa as literally hundreds of whales pass by daily.
These migrating whales use the inshore currents to their advantage and can be easily spotted from the high cliffs of the Wildcoast. The winter migration of humpback whales also coincides with the annual sardine run, so booking a sardine run tour with us is one of the best ways to see them.
Land-based Whale Watching
Whale watching from the cliff-tops
The high cliffs of the Western Cape provide an ideal vantage point for seasonal whale watching of southern right whales and the seaside town of Hermanus holds it’s annual whale festival in September in celebration of all things cetacean.
Although Hermanus is widely regarded as the whale watching capital of South Africa, the more adventurous traveler may want to head further east. The De Hoop Nature Reserve with its whale trail and nearby St Sebastian Bay actually boast the highest concentrations of southern right whale mother and calf pairs.
Boat-based Whale Watching
Close encounter whale watching tours
Boat-based whale watching in South Africa is a regulated activity so 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 two hours and provide your best opportunity for a close encounter with whales.
The chances of encountering different species of whales and dolphin, are also considerably increased by taking a boat-based whale watching tour.
Best Time for Whale Watching
When to find whales in South Africa
The best time for whale watching in South Africa is during our winter months from June to November, when the migratory whales arrive in force.
There are however year round opportunities to find other species, as well as the relatively recent discovery that some whales gather in super-groups to feed on krill along the west coast during the summer months.
With land-based, boat-based and aerial whale watching options in most regions, South Africa offers some of the most accessible and rewarding whale and dolphin watching opportunities in the world.
Dolphin Watching Tours
Dolphin viewing 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.
Bottlenose dolphins can be found in large groups in all areas East of Cape Town. Common dolphins are also found in most regions where they tend to stay further offshore, in search of anchovy and sardine.
Other species of dolphin found in South Africa include humpback dolphins, Heavyside’s, spinner and dusky dolphins.
Whale Watching Wildcoast
The humpback whale migration
The Wildcoast is perhaps one of the best places to see humpback whales from the shore in South Africa.
This annual humpback migration is nothing short of spectacular as literally hundreds of whales pass by daily. The whales often travel close inshore using the coastal currents and can be easily spotted from the many high cliffs of the Wildcoast.
The winter migration of humpback whales also coincides with the annual sardine run, so booking a sardine run tour with us is one of the best ways to see them.
Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours
Join Oceans Africa on a whale watching tour!
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 tour 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 watching South Africa has to offer.