Whale Watching

Whale Watching in South Africa

Whale watching in South Africa is a truly unforgettable experience; it offers unrivalled viewing of one of earth’s real giants, the Southern Right whale. One of the planet’s largest and most extraordinary creatures, these magnificent animals can easily be viewed from the shoreline while you gently dip your toes in the ocean, but if you want to see something spectacular, hop on board a boat for a close-up view of these majestic creatures as they come up for air, or take to the skies in a light aircraft and discover why whale watching in South Africa is most definitely on a par with anywhere in the world.

Whale watching in the Cape region offers arguably the country’s best viewing opportunities, with the action centred around the small villages of Hermanus and Gansbaai, which are located just 90 minutes from the heart of Cape Town, and offer plenty to attract the overnight visitor away from the city. Both of these are breathtaking locations for whale watching encounters, with the visitor able to simply stand on the rocks or harbour walls and see these mammoth mammals right up close as they breach and bask in the waters close to the shore. Guided boat trips to see the whales are very well regulated with the number of boat operators permitted to set sail each day, and the amount of time each can spend around the whales, strictly limited so as to ensure the minimal impact possible.

Down on the Cape Peninsula, Simon’s Town is another favoured viewing location, and further afield whale-watching can also be enjoyed along the coastline of the Garden Route; Knysna and the long sandy beaches of Plettenberg Bay being particularly good sites from which to embark on a whale-watching boat trip amongst the waves.


The whales can even be spotted further to the east in the KwaZulu Natal region off the waters of Durban & Umhlanga.

The whales return to South Africa’s waters every year between June and December, and are often seen with calves at this time of year as it marks the period when they give birth and rear their young, which is what makes whale watching in the Cape so special. Aside from whale watching in South Africa, sightings of Great White sharks, turtles, dolphins and Cape penguins, (Africa’s only penguin species), are also common and attract travellers from all over the world. The unforgettable feeling of awe that comes from seeing these remarkable animals emerge from the water is something not to be missed, whilst the brave can also submerge themselves amongst the sharks in specially-made cages. 

Luxurious accommodation for your whale watching holiday 

Wherever you’re planning to visit for your South Africa whale-spotting trip, we will make sure you spend the duration of your holiday residing in comfortable, luxurious accommodation that is tailored to your requirements. Our dedicated staff listen to each of your needs and preferences before recommending the best accommodation for you, which is always based on their own personal experiences.

If your whale watching trip is going to include Hermanus, you can stay just a short distance away in the tranquil riverside village of Stanford, or in the heart of the whale-watching action close to the old harbour in Hermanus at The Marine Hotel, where the lucky few can enjoy some whale watching from the luxury of the balcony in their sea-facing suite.

The small settlements of De Kelders & Gaansbaai are home to some wonderfully-welcoming guest houses, but knocking spots off everywhere is the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, which looks out majestically over Walker Bay. This luxurious lodge runs daily boat trips out to watch the whales, as well as activities as diverse as flower safaris, horse-riding & botanical walks. It offers some serious whale-watching & serious pampering in five-star luxury.

Alternatively, if you want to combine your whale watching getaway with a city break, we can help to organise a stay in Cape Town at Kensington Place; a small, exclusive hotel which sits in the shadow of the towering Table Mountain. Wherever you choose to travel, we will ensure you stay in ideally located and serene accommodation.

Why book your whale watching holiday with Africa Travel?

If you’re looking to book a whale watching holiday to South Africa, Africa Travel can make sure that you get the almost most out of your trip. We have been providing our clients with dream holidays to Africa for over 30 years, using our extensive experience to ensure they enjoy a trip that meets their preferences. All of our staff have travelled the continent, meaning we can give personalised recommendations for your trip, including the best places to stay, the best places to spot the whales and the best whale-watching boat trips to take. Making whale watching part of your South Africa adventure will create memories that will last a lifetime.

For more information, why not speak to one of our experts on +44 (0) 20 7843 3500 or email 


South Africa Discover

Madagascar Discover

Mozambique Discover

Meet Our Experts

Why Choose Africa Travel?

Africa Travel is the UK's premier specialist dealing with travel to Africa, but we aren't just a website or a call centre, we are a boutique, owner-run company with personal connections to many of the owners of the properties we feature.

Read more

Book Africa With Confidence

During these challenging times many of us are understandably concerned about the impact and effect of Coronavirus on our travel plans, and so to offer you complete reassurance, Africa Travel have put in place our very own Book Africa with Confidence policy.

Read more

Your Holiday Protection

All flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. Our ATOL number is 3384 www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

Read more
View Wishlist