Best time to travel to Cape Town

Land-Based Whale Watching in Cape Town

South Africa is one of the few places in the world where whales can be seen from the shore

Best time: July–November

Land-Based Whale Watching
Land-Based Whale Watching
Land-Based Whale Watching

There are at least 37 species of whales and dolphins in South Africa. In the period from July to November, they migrate to give birth and nurse closer to the shores. The most common species include the Southern right whale, Humpback whale, and Bryde’s whale. This is one of the few opportunities to see the whales up-close, both from land and boat. In addition to whales and dolphins, be ready to meet Cape fur seals, cute African penguins, and even great white sharks.

Cape Town is a good whale viewing location, but there are more spots to be found eastwards, along the southern coastline. The closest one is False Bay, Hermanus, and Cape Agulhus. Hermanus is listed among the world's top whale watching destinations and in late September, they host the annual Whale Festival. More whaling locations are also found along the Garden Route, namely Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Cape Town for whale watching?

Between July to November is the time when one can witness more than 37 species of whales and dolphins migrating closer to the shores to give birth and can be seen up-close. However, factors such as weather conditions and whale migration patterns make predicting the perfect time challenging, making Cape Town a good whale sighting location. Show more

Where are the best spots for land-based whale watching in Cape Town?

The best land-based spots for whale watching are False Bay, Hermanus, and Cape Agulhas. Hermanus is a top whale watching destination and hosts the annual Whale Festival. Other good whale watching locations include Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay along the Garden Route. Show more

What other marine animals can be spotted during whale watching in Cape Town?

Visitors going for whale watching in Cape Town might also catch a glimpse of Cape fur seals, African penguins, and great white sharks. Cape fur seals are frequently spotted lounging in the kelp beds along the coast; African penguins are seen waddling on Boulders Beach, while white sharks can be seen breaching if one is lucky enough. Show more

When is the annual Whale Festival held in Hermanus?

The annual Whale Festival in Hermanus is held in late September coinciding with the peak of the whale viewing season. It is a four-day event that comprises live music performances, street parades, exhibitions, and more. This event also raises awareness on the need for conservation of marine life. Show more

Which other locations in South Africa are known for whale watching besides Cape Town and Hermanus?

In addition to Cape Town and Hermanus, other locations for whale watching in South Africa include Mossel Bay, Wilderness, Knysna, and Plettenberg Bay along the Garden Route. Visitors can view southern right whales, humpback whales, and Bryde's whales up-close from land and boats. The Garden Route, in particular, attracts nature lovers and marine enthusiasts alike due to its scenic coastal region that is rich in biodiversity. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin