August 22

Rhino Africa’s Guide to Whale Watching in Hermanus


August 22, 2023

If you've got a love for LARGE aquatic creatures, then boy, do we have the perfect treat for you! In Africa's southernmost region, east of Cape Town, lies a picturesque region framed by mountains and sea. This fertile haven boasts scenic seaside hamlets, and among them, Hermanus shines as a jewel along the renowned Whale Route. Join us as we unveil the art of whale watching in Hermanus – the ultimate destination for marine enthusiasts.

Breaching whale waving

See displays of breaching, lob tailing, spy hopping and courtship rituals

How to Get to Hermanus

To kick off your epic whale watching in Hermanus adventure, let's talk about how to get there! From Cape Town, you have two options.

You can take the shorter N2 route, which will get you there in around one-and-a-half to two hours. Alternatively, if you're a sucker for breathtaking views, the coastal route is the way to go. Along this scenic drive, you can make a pit stop in charming Betty's Bay to meet some adorable African penguins! Who can resist those waddling cuties? It's an added bonus to an already exhilarating journey.

Not sure where to stay? We've got your back. Read more about the best hotels and guesthouses along the Whale Coast.

Breaching whale

Breaching whales is a common sight during spring

When Can You See Whales in Hermanus?

You may be wondering when the whale season in South Africa is. Well, grab your calendar because from July to November, you're in for a whale of a time!

Humpback and southern right whales prefer warmer waters to mate and calf. Thus, these creatures usually grace the shores of Hermanus during the southern hemisphere's winter and spring months. And they certainly know how to put on a show!

Aerial view of adult whales and whale calves

Whales prefer warmer waters to mate and calf, so they head to the southern coast from July to November, Image Credit: The Marine

BEST Months to See Whales 

But hold on, what are the BEST months for whale watching in Hermanus specifically? Well, the peak season to see these gentle giants is from August to October

During this time, you should keep a keen ear out, as the Hermanus Whale Crier will sound his kelp horn at the first sighting of whales, setting off a flurry of excitement as eager spectators scan the vast expanse.

Humpback whale breaching

When humpback whales breach, it looks like they're defying gravity, Image Credit: Cathy Withers-Clarke

During these months, whales gather en masse in the Walker Bay vicinity (just east of Hermanus), treating observers to a symphony of splashes and majestic movements – a mesmerising spectacle of nature that ranks among the most splendid displays you'll ever encounter.

Whale performing a full breach

The gentle giants of the ocean emerge from its depths, Image Credit: Birkenhead House

Is Whale Watching in Hermanus Worth it?

Absolutely, positively, undeniably YES! Rhino Africa's first-hand expertise knows no bounds, and we promise you an unforgettable experience.

Picture this: you're out on a boat, salty sea breeze in your hair, eyes peeled for the telltale signs of a whale surfacing – a spout of water shooting into the air, a tail flipping up high, or even a breach that leaves you gasping in amazement.

Whale watching cruise

Watch whales from the ocean or land, Image Credit: Dyer Island Cruises

Shore-Based Excitement

Oh, but it doesn't end there! Can you see the whales from the shore in Hermanus? Oh yes, you can! In fact, whale watching in Hermanus is so unique that it offers some of the best land-based whale-watching spots on the planet.

The famous Hermanus Cliff Path is among the array of spectacular vantage points. Here, you can gaze out over the vast ocean and watch these magnificent creatures perform their aquatic ballet, feeling like they're a mere stone's throw away.

Whale watching from the cliffs at Hermanus, South Africa

Whale watching from the cliffs in Hermanus, South Africa

Other Hermanus Delights

Once you've soaked up the marine wonderland and experienced the magic of whale watching in Hermanus, you'll be delighted to know that this coastal gem offers a plethora of other pleasures.

Playing host to a thriving wine scene, courtesy of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, wine tasting has become a popular pastime. Moreover, a visit to the Old Harbour Museum promises a rewarding experience.

Cliff Path boasting wonderful ocean vistas

The Cliff Path Walk takes visitors to wonderful beaches, Image Credit: Nathalia Marangoni

Furthermore, a diverse range of restaurants awaits, ready to tantalise your taste buds with delectable treats. Artistic flair flourishes in numerous art galleries, showcasing the talents of resident artists. Adding to the allure, nearby Stanford beckons with antique shops and historical avenues, adding an extra layer of charm to your trip.

Hermanus town

Hermanus is a town that has it all

Whale Watching in Hermanus 

Answer the timeless calls of whales and reach out to our team of Travel Experts, the navigators of this unique experience, and set sail on a voyage of planning and anticipation. 

Get ready for truly unforgettable moments that will echo through time like the ocean's gentle whispers!

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Hermanus, Whale Route, Whale Watching

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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