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A Guide to Whale Watching in Cape Town

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Whales are the gentle giants of the seas; there’s little more amazing than watching them in their natural habitat. What’s interesting about watching whales is the more you observe them, the more fascinating they become.

About the Author

About the Author

"Having grown up in South Africa, visiting the region’s wild places was a staple of my upbringing. This left a lasting passion for Africa’s wildlife and natural beauty that translated itself into a fulfilling career in travel, arranging safari trips to Africa’s remote and exotic places."



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When you set out on your whale watching adventure, you’ll think the landscape of South Africa was designed for this purpose. Here’s a brief outline of the ‘whale track’ you need to follow through some of the charming little towns along the east and west coasts of South Africa.


Two hours from Cape Town, this quaint town is basically the whale capital, as whales come within a few meters of the shore. The Hermanus Whale Festival happens every year towards the end of September. The best viewpoints include terraces of buildings on Old Harbour and Gearing Point.


What makes False Bay an exciting whale vantage point is the fact it has quite a lot of roads that touch the coastline. At elevated points, you’re in for some fascinating whaling action. Try Boyes Drive, Jager’s Walk, Cape Point, and Clarence Drive to capture those fantastic clicks.


Cape Agulhus sets you up with an entertaining five-day hike through Marine Reserve and Hoop Nature Reserve. These almost untouched coastlines have whale nurseries along their shores. Visitors have witnessed huge pods of up to 50 whales at a time, just a couple of kilometres from the coast. You can also experience a bit of lazy village life in nearby Arniston, which is another great spot to watch these gentle giants.


This makes for a great drive as it provides a scenic experience along the southern coastal lines of South Africa. There are a number of coastal towns to explore on this route. Popular whale-watching spots include Dolphins Point, Flat Rock Beach, Leentjieskilp, and Map of Africa Viewpoint.


Southern Right Whales can be identified by the callosities patterns on their heads. They also have fan-shaped flippers that seem to wave at you. They grow as big as 15 metres in length and are generally black with some white patches on their bellies.

The famous Humpback Whales are known for their dark greyish colour and white bellies. Their typically long pectoral fins are bumpy.

Bryde’s Whales are extremely shy making them difficult to spot. You can identify them by a large number of throat pleats. What makes them even harder to spot is the fact that they don’t blow much as they exhale under water.

Other marine life you can find around the coast includes the great white shark, African penguins, Cape Fur seals, and cute dolphins.

Spotting whales is just one of the many great things you can do during a holiday to South Africa, so be sure to allow for some extra time to take part in some other activities.

To book your whale watching trip in Cape Town and South Africa, contact True Travel today.

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