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41 Bay Beach Ave, Sunset Beach, 7441, Cape Town, SA View on Map
Whale Watching

Whale Watching Magnificent creatures, the Southern Right Whale and others

Whale Watching

Cape Town’s coastal area including the Sunset Beach is famous for whale and dolphin spotting. Guided tours on boats and luxury yachts offer a unique experience of getting up close to the largest mammals on earth.

The most common whale spotted along the Cape Town coastline is the Southern Right Whale. It gets its name from being the hunters’ favourite kind as it’s a slow swimmer and once killed, floats on the sea surface, hence considered the “right” kind of whale for hunting. Other species that you may encounter from False Bay include Bryde’s whales, humpback whales and killer whales (nicknamed “wolves of the sea” as they hunt in packs). You will also find Dolphins in the area and if you are lucky you may come across bottlenose dolphins on the east side of the coast while dusky dolphins are found on the west side. Heaviside’s dolphin, a species endemic to the western coast of Southern Africa, can also be spotted. Penguins and seals can also be spotted in the summer season.

False Bay is probably the best place to go whale watching in Cape Town. The whales use these warmer waters as mating, calving, and nursery grounds and in the summer months they may be seen just metres from the shore. Whales start arriving in the cape region as early as May and stay till November, with August – October being the peak whale watching season when the bay is dotted with whales.

The beauty of the Sunset beach and the Cape Town coastline in general is that you can watch whales frolicking in waters below from land based vantage points. Take binoculars with you in order to get a better view. You can spend hours sitting on one of the mountainside vantage points, enjoying a picnic basket and watching the whales play. The chances of whale sightings are much greater on wind free days. The whales can be spotted near river mouths and in sheltered bays and coves.

Hermanus is another great option if you have whale watching in mind. It is considered to be the world’s best land-based whale watching destination. The drive from Cape Town takes about an hour and half and every year thousands of whale lovers gather in Hermanus for an annual Whale Festival (also known as the Moby Dick Festival). The festival takes place in late September.

In Hermanus, a walk along the cliff path stretching 12Km from end to end usually results in an encounter with a whale. You can see them as close as 20m away just beyond the breakers or frolicking in the sheltered bay. The Whale Crier’s kelp horn also signals the most likely spots for whale sightings.

Popular whale spotting sites include an outstanding vantage point on Boyes Drive winding along the mountainside. Fish Hoek is another excellent place to see the Southern Right Whales lolling about particularly close to the boulders. The chances are that you may even get soaked from one of their blows!

The coastal road between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town has some good whale watching spots. The route from Boulders to Smitswinkelbaai offers even more spectacular mountainside vantage points for whale watching.

Spotting whales in the ocean can get tricky as sometimes they are mistaken for rocks. A great way to find these elegant creatures is to look for white patches in the ocean where the waves break on the whales’ bodies.

For a closer interaction with the whales and dolphins you can take one of the many boat-based tours from Simon’s Town, the V&A Waterfront, Hermanus, Plettenberg Bay, and Hout Bay. Another highly recommended option is a commercial sea kayaking trip, available from Simon’s Town.

You can also experience fabulous aerial whale sightings via helicopter flips around the peninsula.

Whale watching is a unique experience and no place in the world makes it as special as here in Cape Town, where a simple walk along the beach can be transformed into a cherished memory and a unique encounter with one of nature’s most wonderful creatures.

 

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Local Weather

Cape Town South Africa
November 1, 2014
Sunny
Sunny
18°C
humidity: 55%
sunrise: 6:46
sunset: 20:15
Forecast November 2, 2014
day
Partly sunny with thundershowers
Partly sunny with thundershowers
25°C
wind speed: 6 m/s SE
wind gusts: 11 m/s
Forecast November 3, 2014
day
Thunderstorms
Thunderstorms
19°C
wind speed: 5 m/s NNW
wind gusts: 7 m/s
Forecast November 4, 2014
day
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
21°C
wind speed: 3 m/s SSW
wind gusts: 5 m/s
 

Testimonials

Review - April 2012
I stay 10 days in Atlantic Breeze in the Easter with my family and friends. We were 7 adults and 3 children. It was a very pleasant stay! The location is perfect, near the Sunset Beach and 15-20 minutes by car to Cape town center. The rooms are very clean an nicely furnished. The bed and the shower are fantastic!!! The lounge area is very nice to stay in the end of day talking with friends. The breakfast is very good, Jo makes wonderfull pancakes!!! When we went to the Cape of Good Hope we take a pic-nic basket made by Jo. Very good and full of Easter surprises for children …. and adults! Very good!! Thanks Jo! We love to be there, the guest house is fantastic!

Guest from Angola, “Wonderful place to stay with family and friends!”