Whale Watching in South Africa
South Africa, land where the warm waters of the Indian Ocean meet the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In these beautiful waters, teeming with life, tourists have the opportunity of a lifetime to view the majesty of the world’s largest creatures – whales. Between the months of June and November visitors can enjoy the spectacular sight of these impressive animals from the shore or up-close on a charter boat. Without a doubt this is an experience you do not want to miss.
Southern Right whales make their way from the Atlantic to Western Cape‘s coast to give birth and nurse their offspring. From Cape Town all the way to the waters of Durban runs stretches the Whale Route, past beautiful locations such as Tsitsikamma and the Garden Route. Within the seas bordering South Africa, there are about 37 whale and dolphin species. On the Whale Route, visitors are most likely too see southern right whales and humpback whales (migrate here from May to December). Hermanus is probably the best known whale watching location and for good reason. From its rocky cliffs you can get a close view of the magnificent water mammals. Other excellent locations include Lambert’s Bay Saldanha Bay, False Bay, Betty’s Bay, Gansbaai, Cape Aguhas, De Hoop, Still Bay, Mossel Bay, Ballot’s Bay, Victoria Bay, Knysna Heads, Plettenberg Bay and Robberg Peninsula. All along this route visitors can see a diversity of wildlife, from sea birds and penguins to seals. It is an all round nature adventure. At various spots along the coastline tourists will come across interesting interpretation boards, providing detailed information of the marine mammals of South Africa.
The best way to view these amazing animals is on a whale watching boat tour. Picture yourself swaying on the waters, as you look down you see a large shadow beneath. Suddenly a few meters away a massive whale comes out of the water for a breath of air and is followed by several others. Beside a few of them you see small calves, carefully protected by their mothers. It is breathtaking!
Whilst observing the greatness of the whales you are certain to spot certain types of behavior. A blowing sound is made when the whale expel air along with water vapor into the air and is part of their breathing process. Lobtailing is when the whales slap their tails or flukes on the water and is believed to be used for communication. If a whale leaps above the water with its pack arched and lands back with a large noise, it is called breeching. This could be for communication, removal of parasites or exercise. Spy hopping involves lifting the head and body out of the water so that they can see what is around them.
South Africa is amongst the quickest growing whale watching destinations worldwide. With certain wildlife parks extending to South Africa’s coastline, you can go from seeing Elephants to watching the antics of whales within a short distance. Travel to South Africa and go whale watching, its an experience you’ll never forget.