Whale watching is the practice of observing whales and other wonderful creatures of the ocean in their natural habitat. Whales are watched most commonly for recreation but the activity can also serve scientific or educational purposes.
Whale watching is of particular importance to developing countries. Coastal communities have started to profit directly from the whales’ presence, significantly adding to popular support for the protection of these animals from commercial whaling.
Whale watching is a well-known tourist attraction in the Western Cape. Every year, from May through November, these gentle giants make the coastal bays their home, to mate, calve and cavort.
Frolicking in the warmer waters around the Overberg and False Bay regions of the Western Cape, the whales are attracted to the sandy-bottomed and sheltered bays, and nurture their young in nutrient-rich waters.
The main types of whales that visit these shores are the Southern Right Whale Dolphin, Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales and Orcas, whilst many more varieties of whale are commonly seen at play in the bays.
They honour this great playground and are more than happy to put on a show for the streams of visitors and tourists, keen to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. Whale-watching has become a major tourist attraction for many coastal towns.
With that in mind, most resorts, establishments and whale-watching tour guides keep to very strict and ecologically friendly regulations. Areas designated for boat-based whale watching are carefully selected so as to not interfere with land-based whale watchers and, of course, the whales themselves.
The Cape Overberg region forms part of the famous Whale Route. Hermanus, situated about an hour and a half away from the Mother City of Cape Town, is hailed as offering the best land-based whale watching in the world.
Fish Hoek is one of the few villages in Cape Town that is little affected by the push for development that has altered most of the Cape’s coastline. Nestled in False Bay, its calm waters make it a popular spot for whales and their offspring to play in the waters. Whale watching and dolphin watching is also a popular tourist attraction in Plettenberg Bay. Plettenberg Bay is visited by Southern Right Whales in the winter months and Humpback Whales in the summer months, whilst Bryde’s whales are resident throughout the year.
Have a look at our Whale Watching Accommodation Destinations.