by Tamlin Wightman on August 16, 2012
3 min read

Header photo: Southern right whale with calf – Credit: John Atkinson

It’s Whale Season!

Whale Season has descended upon the Cape. Locals’ weekends have new purpose and tourists have a whole sea of showtime viewing ahead. Our German intern Tabea Heinz recently headed to Hermanus on the Whale Route to catch a glimpse of the action, in her attempt to pack in as much sightseeing as possible, before heading back home.

You can whale-watch from shore, since the big guys tend to come quite close, or take a boat trip out into the big blue. Tabea took the boat option, which lets you get much closer. Unfortunately, being the seasick kind, she ended up seeing more of the inside of a brown paper bag than actual Southern Rights. Such are the ends people go to in Whale Season.

She did, however, manage to enjoy and photograph some great sightings of the Southern Rights, which swim to our warmer waters to play and procreate before eager spectators particularly during peak season (mid-August to mid-October). Hermanus is a sure bet, one of the most popular spots to see whales in action. Currently, we’re told, the bay is packed with whales breaching. So what are you waiting for?!

Take a look at Tabea’s photos below:

Southern Right

The head of the Southern Right is large and covered with wart-like bumps called callosities. These differ in size and position and are often used to identify individuals.

Southern Right whale

A Southern Right whale blows its distinguishing V-shaped salute

Whale watching in Hermanus

One of the first Southern Right Whales to descend upon our waters

Whales at sunset

The games continue till the sun goes down

Whale fin

The Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis)

Whale Watching

Send us your whale watching photos!

Whale Watching Words of Wisdom

  • You can spot whales from land, but there are also many boat-based tours available.
  • Go on a whale-watching tour that takes you from Cape Town to Hermanus to not only experience this beautiful part of the Cape, but also make the most of Whale Season. Contact us to find out more and book.
  • Take medication if you tend to go green around the gills at sea.
  • To spot whales, look for white patches in the ocean where the waves break on their bodies – and for big splashes, caused when they breach.
  • Take your own binoculars – so you can better see what you came for and so you don’t have to pester other people.
  • Wind-free days make for better sightings.
  • Whales can be seen along the Garden Route and Whale Route coastline from May to December, but the best time is mid-August to mid-October. For more info on when to visit other parts of Africa – see our African Travel Calender here!
  • Hermanus is the favourite, but Boyes Drive between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay also offers great spots to watch whales from the mountainside. Walker Bay is popular too.
  • Linger longer – stay in the area and increase your chances of sightings. Our favourite places include Birkenhead House and Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

Read more in our blogs: It’s Whale Season – complete with whale watching lingo and accommodation – and Wine, Whales and Great Whites. Find more great Whale Route hotels here.

Contact us to experience it for yourself!