If you're in the Cape Town region, a trip to Hermanus on South Africa’s Whale Coast is well worth the drive. Hermanus is one of South Africa’s most picturesque coastal towns where you can sample world-class wines along the Hermanus Wine Route and view whales from look-out points on the shore, the deck of a whale-watching boat or from the air on a whale-watching flight.
Hermanus is located on the beautiful Walker Bay in the Overberg. Visit at any time of the year to enjoy the friendly seaside ambiance of the town and to participate in a variety of fun activities like sea kayaking, horse riding, fatbike tours and zip lining. In June, when the whales arrive from Antarctic waters, the atmosphere in the town is especially festive. Holiday makers time their visits to coincide with the Hermanus FynArts Festival in June and the Hermanus Whale Festival in September/October.
Peak whale viewing season is from June to mid-December when the southern right whales arrive. They calve and nurse in August and September in the relatively warm and sheltered waters of the bay. The number of whales peaks in October when the males arrive to mate. Southern right whales are not the region's only visitors; humpback and Bryde’s whales can also be seen as well as dolphins, seals, penguins and numerous marine birds.
Beaches and cliff-top lookouts make for excellent vantage points to observe whales from the shore. Pack your binoculars and look for the distinctive v-shaped spray from the southern right whale's double blow-hole or the splash from the slap of an enormous tail. Lucky viewers may even witness breaching behaviour. This is when the whale propels itself out of the water to land with a whale-sized splash!
Boat-based whale watching trips get you even closer to these gentle giants. Browse Dirty Boots’ listings of boat-based whale-watching operators in Hermanus and the nearby town of Gansbaai. Permitted operators can approach whales to within 50m and, more often than not, the curious whales venture closer to take a look YOU. A close-encounter with these magnificent creatures is a special and exhilarating experience not to be missed.