The Western Cape of South Africa offers an abundance of natural attractions, but one of the most anticipated events each year is the annual arrival of Southern Right Whales along its coast. These gentle giants of the ocean grace these waters from June to November, with October serving as the prime viewing period.
The coastal towns of Hermanus, De Kelders, Gansbaai and De Hoop Nature Reserve are among the most popular spots where these gentle giants can be observed. Hermanus, in particular, has gained international recognition as one of the best land-based whale-watching locations globally. The town hosts an annual whale festival and even employs an official 'Whale Crier' who alerts residents and tourists to whale sightings. If you prefer to get closer to these magnificent creatures, there are boat tours available that provide an intimate experience you won't soon forget. De Kelders, Gansbaai and De Hoop are locations where you can escape the crowds yet still indulge in exceptional whale watching.
Why does October stand out? During this time, Southern Right Whales are especially active as they prepare for their annual migration back to the colder waters of Antarctica. In October, you have the highest chance of seeing a variety of behaviours, including breaching, tail-slapping, and fluking. Additionally, females are often seen accompanied by their newly born calves, adding an extra layer of fascination to the experience. Other species such as Bryde’s Whales and Humpback Whales can also be spotted along the country's south coast.
Whale watching in the Western Cape is more than just a tourist attraction; it is an opportunity to witness one of nature’s most captivating performances. Observing these incredible animals in their natural habitat offers a unique and humbling perspective that resonates with even the most seasoned nature enthusiasts.
To fully immerse yourself in what South Africa has to offer, consider adding whale watching to your travel itinerary this October. With an array of viewing locations available and the promise of witnessing these magnificent creatures up close, it's an experience that is not to be missed.