Whale Watching South Africa

Whale Watching South AfricaWhale Watching South Africa

Dyer Island Cruises

Dyer Island Cruises - Overberg

Operating around the world famous Dyer Island, Gansbaai, enjoy an incredible experience viewing our Southern Right whales. Every year from June to December they arrive to mate and calve. Witness tail...

Ivanhoe Sea Safaris

Ivanhoe Sea Safaris - Overberg

Ivanhoe Sea Safaris launch from the charming fishing village of Gansbaai, only a 2 hour drive from Cape Town via Hermanus. Climb aboard our pride and joy, the ‘Ivanhoe’, and let us take you on...

Ocean Blue Adventures

Ocean Blue Adventures - Garden Route

Offering up-close and personal, awe-inspiring encounters with the fascinating, majestic whales in the bay. Interact and have fun with our amazing dolphin and whale species while learning all about to...

Ocean Odyssey - Knysna Boat Trips

Ocean Odyssey - Knysna Boat Trips - Garden Route

Observing whales in their natural environment leaves an indelible, feel-good mark on the soul, and Knysna is one of the best places to do this. Ocean Odyssey, Knysna’s only official close encounter...

Ocean Safaris

Ocean Safaris - Garden Route

Ocean Safaris is Fair-trade certified and offers marine tours throughout the year. Sightings of whales, dolphins, seals and more. Permitted to conduct Close Encounters. Qualified guides and skippers....

Offshore Africa Port St John's

Offshore Africa Port St John's - Eastern Cape & Wild Coast

Based in Port St John's, Offshore Africa is the only operator of its’ kind along the Wild Coast. The business is owner run & managed by Rob Nettleton & Debbie Smith, whose experience spans in of &...

Raggy Charters

Raggy Charters - Eastern Cape & Wild Coast

The Penguin Patrol experience is an exciting and educational day out in Port Elizabeth learning all about the incredible marine life we have in the bay, focusing on our favourite and endangered the 7...

Romonza Boat Trips

Romonza Boat Trips - Garden Route

Seal Island trips: From 10 am to 5 pm, every hour on the hour, all year round, we cruise to Seal Island for a closer look at more than 3 000 fascinating Cape fur seals. Sunset Cruise: A relaxed and...

Simon's Town Boat Company - Whale Watching

Simon's Town Boat Company - Whale Watching - Cape Town

We are the most established and professional boat charter company in Simon’s Town and are privileged to operate in the most beautiful bay in South Africa – False Bay. Choose from our great range...

Southern Right Charters -  Whale Watching

Southern Right Charters - Whale Watching - Overberg

Join Southern Right Charters for close encounters with the ‘gentle giants’ of the ocean and other marine life. Southern Right Charters departs daily from the New Harbour in Hermanus, the of to...

St Lucia Tours and Charters - Richards Bay

St Lucia Tours and Charters - Richards Bay - Durban & KwaZulu-Natal North Coast

Whale Watching Trips in Richards Bay with St Lucia Tours and Charters. Departing from the Meerensee Skiboat Club, (which has a club house, picnic spot, public ablutions plus showers, safe parking in...

St Lucia Tours and Charters - Whale Watching

St Lucia Tours and Charters - Whale Watching - Durban & KwaZulu-Natal North Coast

ADVANTAGE CRUISER - legal boat based whale watching permit holder since 1998 - concession holder in the ST LUCIA section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and also now Durban harbor. Boat based (as...

Waterfront Adventures

Waterfront Adventures - Cape Town

Waterfront Adventures, located in the heart of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town specialises in water experiences in one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. Set sail and experience Cape Town...

Whale WatchingWhale Watching

South Africa has some of the best land- and boat-based whale watching in the world. During winter and spring Southern Right whales migrate to the Cape and South Coast shores from their feeding grounds in Antarctica. They will spend a few months in these warmer waters calving their young and then waiting for them to grow strong enough to make the journey back to Antarctica.

Southern Right whales are the species most commonly seen in the Cape’s waters due to their numbers and highly predictable habits. However, they are not the only whales to visit these shores; Blue whales are occasionally sighted off the coast of Cape Point, while Bryde whales are seen all year round, albeit infrequently, and orcas are seen very occasionally along the whole coast.

The best places to watch whales from the shore include Walker Bay from either Hermanus or Gansbaai, False Bay and much of the Cape Peninsula coast, De Hoop Nature Reserve and Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route. While you can often get a better view in False Bay or Walker Bay from the shore, in most other places you will get a much more satisfactory sighting from a boat.

If you wish to partake in a whale watching trip ensure that the company you plan to use is registered and in possession of valid documentation. Whale watching boats need to have a permit from Marine and Coastal Management, and they operate under very strict rules pertaining to how close they may approach whales, the length of time they may stay with them, and how many times any whale or group of whales can be approached in any one day.

You will find licensed boats in most of the good whale watching destinations along the coast, with each bay, or side of a bay, limited to one licensed boat. Plettenberg Bay, which is one of the most prolific cetacean-watching sites in the world, is an exception with two licensed operators. Most of the whale watching boats are big, powerful, very seaworthy craft that are easy to board, and offer a comfortable ride. This allows for greater enjoyment of the trip and can give you greater confidence in taking your expensive camera equipment onboard to get a close-up snap of these majestic beasts.

Whether you choose to observe the whales from the solid comfort of the shore or from the deck of a powerful boat, the playful nature of these great creatures is a delight to observe. With many whale watching activity tours conducted from Cape Town all along the coast, you needn’t miss out on seeing these visitors to our shores.

Here is our list of recommended whale watching companies in South Africa:
African Wings, Southern Right Charters and Dyer Island Cruises in the Overberg
Ocean Blue Adventures, Ocean Odyssey, Ocean Safaris and Romonza in the Garden Route
Offshore Africa Port St John’s and Raggy Charters in the Eastern Cape
Simon’s Town Boat Co and Waterfront Adventures in Cape Town
St Lucia Tours and Charters in KwaZulu-Natal


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