Cape Town Tourism - Table Mountain

Whales, sharks and seals

Photo courtesy Jean Tresfon

The ocean and small islands around Cape Town are teeming with marine life. Keep your eyes on the water to ensure you don’t miss the the whales, sharks, seals and dolphins that frequently put on a show for visitors.

Cape Town offers excellent shore- and boat-based whale watching. Southern right whales abound during breeding season from June to November. Humpback and Bryde’s whales are less common but can be seen year-round.

There are whale-watching hotspots at Glencairn, Fish Hoek, Simon’s Town, Chapman’s Peak and Cape Point. You can also watch whales and dolphins frolicking in the sea at Dolphin Beach in Blaauwberg. There are a number of accredited operators that offer whale watching tours and trips.

Wind your way along Boyes Drive, the road that runs from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay, to enjoy unparalleled views of False Bay and beyond, and while you do, scan the waters for whales, sharks and dolphins often spotted in the bay.

South African fur seals have made their homes on both Seal Island and Duiker Island.

Head for Hout Bay Harbour, from which you can take a short trip around Duiker Island to see the large colony of South African fur seals. Watch them bask on the rocks or frolic in the freezing water of the Atlantic.This is great fun for kids of all ages.

Take a boat trip to Seal Island in False Bay, some 16 kilometres off the coast of Simon’s Town, which is a popular feeding ground for great white sharks. Visitors may even be lucky enough to see the ocean’s most feared predator breaching and flying through the air. More than 75 000 Cape fur seals live on this island, which is why there are always so many sharks circling around it.

Or take a dive with Animal Ocean Seal Snorkeling for an amazing interactive experience. This experience is for everyone, you do not need experience to snorkel but you must be able to swim

Shark cage diving is growing in popularity with visitors to Cape Town. You don’t have to be a qualified diver as this takes place at the surface of the ocean.

Cape Town Tourism has a list of accredited and well established operators. Most offer full-day packages, including diving gear and meals, for roughly R1200.

For those not satisfied with seeing a shark from the safety of a boat, a thrilling dive with sharks is available at the Two Oceans Aquarium. You can swim with the sharks in their 2-million litre (528 344 gallon) tank, though you will require some prior diving experience. Check the Two Oceans Aquarium’s website for online bookings of diving.

Please contact Cape Town Tourism for more information on qualified operators and dive companies. Call us on +27 21 487 6800 or email info@capetown.travel.

  • Phone: +27 (0)21 487 6800

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