September 29

Whale Watching in Pictures


By Marlin Clark on
September 29, 2023

Admire the beauty of whale watching in pictures as seen in our beautiful South Africa. From the majestic giants of the ocean to other marine creatures like playful seals, enjoy this visual journey of what you can expect when visiting during whale season.


A Southern Right Whale and her calf along the Overberg coast close to Hermanus in South Africa

Our coasts offer some of the best land-based whale watching in the world

The quaint seaside town of Hermanus is a short two-hour drive from Cape Town and is known for its excellent whale watching opportunities. During spring, the whales come closer to the shore to calve, and you can see baby whales accompanying their mothers, as captured in this photo.


Whale watching cruise

Get close to whales in Hermanus 

Want to get up close and personal with these giants? Explore the deep sea on a boat-based whale watching adventure. Or, if you prefer to stay on dry land, head to a coastal lookout point. Either way, you're bound to have a whale of a time! Don't forget your binoculars to see them in more detail.


Whale watching cruise

Whales head to South Africa's southern coast to mate and calf between July and November

Plan your visit to South Africa between July and November, when the bays come alive with southern right and humpback whales. These are the best months to watch as the mammals frolic in the waters, carrying out courtship rituals and breaching the waves while showcasing their surprisingly graceful acrobatics.


Whale watching cruise

A whale watching cruise will take you closer to the action 

Imagine being so close you could feel the whales' powerful spray misting your face as they breach and plunge back into the waters. When you head out on a boat cruise, you'll have a front-row seat to admire the whales, and you'll capture incredible photographs.


Whale watching with Marine Dynamics

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

From breathtaking breaches to colossal tail lobs and curious spy hops, each whale's behaviour tells a story of life beneath the surface. Embark on an enchanting aquatic adventure and experience this captivating show first-hand.


Whale watching with Marine Dynamics

We love recommending Marine Dynamics for whale watching excursions 

You can enjoy an up-close encounter with these sea creatures with a skilled crew and top-of-the-line boats. Marine Dynamics, for instance, is an exceptional tour option. Fully guided tours offer you the chance to see the rest of the Marine Big 5 as well, which are the shark, seal, penguin and dolphin.


Cape Fur Seals in Gansbaai

Cape fur seals playing in the water in Gansbaai

The picturesque fishing village of Gansbaai showcases its own marine marvels – rafts of seals – along with the whales. Observing these adorable creatures in their natural habitat is a delightful addition to your South African sea safari.


Whale watching with Marine Dynamics

Cute Cape fur seals looking very relaxed in the water 

Cape fur seals are known for their playful and social behaviour, often seen basking in the sun on the rocky outcrops or frolicking in the cool ocean waves. These endearing creatures put on quite a show, displaying intricate diving manoeuvres that are a joy to witness. So, get your cameras ready!


Whale watching cruise

Your kids will be in awe when they see just how huge whales really are 

Children are welcome to join the whale watching adventure. This is a fantastic opportunity to teach them how to appreciate wildlife. As they witness these colossal mammals breaching the water's surface, their wide-eyed fascination will surely be one of your most cherished memories.


The gentle giants of the ocean emerge from its depths

Whales are rightly referred to as "giants", as they are the largest animals on Earth. Imagine witnessing a whale swiftly swimming, breaking through the water's surface, and launching its body into the air, only to fall back with a resounding splash.


Hermanus town

Hermanus is a town that has it all

The charming town of Hermanus is perfect for your whale watching trip. With an abundance of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, and kayaking, there's something to captivate the interests of all visitors. Moreover, the town boasts quaint shops, art galleries, restaurants, and markets, providing an ideal haven to unwind after a day at sea. Read more about our favourite places to stay during whale season here.


Whale watching cruise

Marine guides will make each cruise educational and fun while prioritising animal welfare and conservation

Our coastline offers many opportunities to see whales, with the most rewarding sightings found along the cliff paths of the Whale Route east of Cape Town. The Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape is also a top destination.


Whale watching cruise

A cruise will give you a better idea of a whale's size

Being in such proximity to the ocean's magnificent beasts is an indescribable feeling. It's a mixture of wonder and profound respect. The sheer size and grace of these magnificent creatures leave you humbled and grateful for the opportunity to witness their presence. We cannot recommend this experience enough!

Capture Whale Watching in Pictures 

From the shores of Hermanus to the secluded coves of De Hoop Nature Reserve, the opportunity to witness the graceful movements of these enormous creatures against the backdrop of our stunning South African coastline is an experience that leaves a lasting impression and fosters a deeper appreciation for Mother Nature.

Contact our Travel Experts today, and let's start planning

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Gansbaai, Hermanus, Whale Route, Whale Watching

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About the author 

Marlin Clark

Marlin was born in Johannesburg, but moved to Cape Town at the age of five. Growing up, he's always been fascinated with colours and shapes - the Lego blocks he was obsessed with as a kid are now repurposed as stationary holders on his desk. Marlin is inspired by all things beautiful, has a positive outlook on life, and is driven by a desire to make things that matter. In his spare time he enjoys expanding his knowledge on all things design-related, loves to travel, and find opportunities to improve his outdoor photography. He'll never pass up a good cup of coffee.

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