How impressive or scary could the sight of whales be at proximity? Well, Cape Town in South Africa treats you to both experiences.
Just like the trips to the famed Kruger National Park, watching the southern whales in Cape Town is breathtaking.
The southern white whales are the most common species found in cape waters but, at times, humpback whales and Bryde’s whales swim to the Cape waters every year from Antarctica to calve between July and November. Southern white whales are the slowest swimming species of whales, a factor that endangered them decades ago when they were declared a protected species.
Southern white whales are 15m in length and are characterized by rough patches of skin and head; and long pointed mouths. On average, they weigh about 60 tons. Humpback whales have humps, long fins and knobbly heads. They migrate from polar regions through Mozambique and Madagascar where they give birth between May and November. They are seen interacting with the southern white whales and dolphins in Cape waters.
Bryde’s whales, often huge, dark grey, on the other hand, are not so common; they dive for hours and only surface for a short while before diving back again. If you are lucky, you can spot several of them at Port Elizabeth.
Cape Town’s marvellous False Bay is the best whale watching spot of the 12 in South Africa due to its high vantage point coastline where Cape Point sits. A train ride through Muizenberg to Simon’s Town has good views of these aquatic species.
The World Wildlife Fund has rated Hermanus as a great whale-watching spot among the already existing 12 whale watching spots in South Africa due to its topographical features enabling clear viewing of the whales. Hermanus has terraces at Old Harbour and Gearing Point where whales along the shoreline are seen vividly.
The whale season is revered in Hermanus; it is kicked off by the annual Whale Festival in Hermanus in October. The whale watching season has other activities all aligned at watching these mammals including a five-day Whale Trail hike along the cliffs, beaches and dunes of Cape Agulhus.
Though they are dangerous as you would imagine, it is possible to get closer to them through cruise tours in the sea, At Dyer Island, there is a two-hour cruise tour which leaves Kleinbaai harbour heading to Dyer Island. , Ther trip not only gives you the sight of the whales but also African penguins and Cape fur seals. The peak season is between July and December.