South Africa is a country blessed with natural beauty, unique wildlife and geological awe, making it no surprise that one of is the best whale watching spots in the world lies just 90 minutes from Cape Town.
Each year, Sothern Right Whales migrate from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to the warmer waters of the Cape coast to mate, calve and put on a whale of a show in the waters of Walker Bay. The best time to see whales in Hermanus is between July and November. While the whale sightings during the months of July and August vary each year, you’re almost guaranteed to see whales in September, October and even November.
Whale watching can be experienced in various ways; either from land, by boat or from the air via a scenic flight. For the closest encounter out there, a guided ocean kayaking trip promises to ignite your spirit of adventure and offers a unique way to explore the pristine coastlines. There are a host of other whale watching tours and whale watching operators based in Hermanus where you can inquire about the best ways to experience whale season in the town.
The famous Cliff Paths of Hermanus also offer an excellent vantage point to view the whales. Sit on one of the many benches that have been strategically placed along the paths for visitors to relax and take in the all the splendor of the Atlantic.
When walking around the town during whale season in Hermanus, don’t be alarmed by the sight of crowds rushing toward the shoreline… They have most likely heard the call of Hermanus’ Whale Crier, a local man in the market square that blows a kelp horn to signal the sighting of a whale. The Whale Crier is just another example of the colourful characters that make up the spirit of Hermanus and pays tribute to the importance of the whales in the area by ensuring Hermanus a firm place on the eco-tourism map.
The rare spectacle of these curious mammals has resulted in a thriving tourism industry and the locals welcome eco-tourists from all over the world to enjoy this uniquely placed whale sanctuary. This has lead to the much-anticipated Hermanus Whale Festival that takes place in October each year, where the presence of the whales is celebrated with food, wine and a host of other activities for the whole family. Be sure to book ahead as this is the town’s busiest time of the year and you don’t want to miss out on any of the festivities!
Every year the whole town - from local to tourist - becomes connected through the presence of these whales. Standing atop the cliffs of Walker Bay, watch how the whales breach and dive less than a kilometer from the shoreline. After the initial excitement of your first spotting, you’ll be delighted to realise that the whales become a fixed feature of your view during whale season in Hermanus.