by Megon Venter on August 3, 2018
3 min read

Binoculars? Check. Camera? Check. Now, where should you go to get glimpse of South Africa‘s gentle giants? Spotting whales can be an arduous task if you’re in the wrong place and you’ll need to take time into consideration as well. South Africa is home to a variety of whales, most commonly the southern right whale, the humpback whale, blue whale, sperm whale and Bryde’s whale. Read on to find out the best places to spot these radiant creatures this season from The Whale Route and beyond!

Spotting Whales in Hermanus

Just outside Hermanus
Photo Credit: Megon Venter


Hermanus is arguably the most famous of South Africa’s whale watching destinations. This quaint little town hosts the Hermanus Whale Festival every year in October, marking the passage of the whales into the bay. With quirky little shops and proximity to the Hemel en Aarde Wine Valley, Hermanus is a solid base from which to explore the oceans.

Spotting Whales in South Africa

Whale watching
Photo Credit: Christian Keller

False Bay

Take the winding drive along Chapman’s Peak to see the glittering wonders of the ocean down below. The heights of the drive against the cliff-face are excellent for spotting whales. False Bay is also nearby the curiosities of Kalk Bay where you can browse through local crafts and Simon’s Town, home to the Boulder’s Beach penguin sanctuary.

Spotting Whales on Chapman's Peak

View from Chapman’s Peak
Photo Credit: Megon Venter

De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve is a place to retreat to, as you are secluded from the outside world. Don’t miss out on walking the five-day Whale Trail through the reserve. This area, known as a whale nursery, is home to several calves who are seen in these waters after the breeding season. The calves and their mothers migrate down in June until November. Venture deeper into the reserve for more wildlife sightings or camp right on the coastline.

Other wildlife while spotting Whales in De Hoop Nature Reserve

Photo Credit: Paul Keller

Plettenberg Bay

Wander even further through the Eastern Cape to Plettenberg Bay. Also part of the Garden Route, a variety of flora grows here in abundance during a similar time frame to whale sightings. Head to Robberg Peninsula and Nature Reserve to view these spectacular animals and perhaps even some dolphins and fur seals.

Spotting whales

Photo Credit: Bernard Spragg

St. Lucia

If you’re in KwaZulu-Natal, head over to St. Lucia for the warmth of the Indian Ocean. Swimming and surfing are popular here, and of course, so is whale watching. Further south you’ll find the dolphin coast, while Lake St. Lucia is northwards. This area is well known for sightings of humpback whales, their calls often audible to those sighting them.

Spotting whales and dolphins in St Lucia

Dolphins on the coast
Photo Credit: Indi Samarajiva

Start planning your exploration in spotting whales today at one of these precious locations in South Africa. Every spot has a multitude of different activities attached, making them perfect additions to our tailor-made tours along the whale route.