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July 30, 2014

10 Fun Facts About Whale Watching in Cape Town

Did you know that there are whale songs in space? As whale season in Cape Town approaches its glorious whaling crescendo, we bring you 10 fun facts on whale watching here in our beloved Western Cape. 

Ready! Set! Go! 

Fact 1 

The best places to watch whales from June to November along the Whale Route, which spans along the coastline passing Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay en route to Hermanus. Check out our top 5 whale watching spots here! 

Fact 2

An incredible assortment of marine creatures can be spotted, including Southern Right, Bryde, Humpback and False Killer Whales as well as Orcas, Bottlenose, Common and Humpbacked Dolphins, Cape Fur Seals, Great White Sharks and the diminutive but oh so cute African penguins! 

Breaching, image courtesy of Darcy65 

Fact 3

The Southern Rights make the pilgrimage from the icy waters of their Antartic homelands to the coast of South Africa to mate and calve every winter. Up to 50 pairs of whales can be spotted playing together at a single time along the coasts of the Western Cape!

Fact 4

Whale activities include breaching (leaping out the water and twirling around), fluking or sailing (raising the tail vertically out of the water), lop tailing (slapping the tail on the water’s surface), sprouting / blowing (the old classic out the blowhole) logging (lounging on the surface like a log) and spyhopping (when whales peak their heads vertically out the surface for a little peek). 

Lop tailing, image courtesy of Darcy65

Fact 5

Southern Right Whales can weigh up to 80 tons, so when they breach their entire massive bulk into the air and the cavernous explosion as they hit the water once again is a formidable experience. Want to know more? Here's a more in depth discussion of whales being awesome!

Fact 6

Venture through 55km of immaculate on the Whale Trail, a 5 day hike in De Hoop Nature Reserve through Cape Town’s world famous fynbos, ancient rock formations. It’s ultimate land spotter adventure – book well in advance it’s hugely popular!

Spy hopping, image courtesy of Darcy65

Fact 7

The Hermanus Whale Festival is into its 23rd year celebrating the gentle colossus and welcomed over 110,000 visitors last year.  1.5 hours outside of Cape Town, Hermanus is considered world-wide one of the leading land-based locations to spot these beautiful marine goliaths, with magnificently clear views from a scenic cliff-top walk. This year the festival runs from 3-6 October.

Fact 8

Hermanus is the only town in the world with a full time whale crier during whale season! At his prime vantage point, the crier sounds his horn to alert those nearby of one the great beasts!

image courtesy of Darcy65

Fact 9

Whale songs, which are strikingly similar to human symphonies, were included in the Voyager Golden Record and sent off into space. If an alien civilisation ever discovers and decodes the message, they’ll be listening to whales singing Earth's praises!

Fact 10

Inspired? Here’s a useful list of quality tour operators. Need somewhere to rest your head while you listen to whale symphonies? Here's a list of the perfect whale watcher's accommodation.

For more information about whale sightings, or to book a whale watching tour, you can call the Cape Town Tourism Muizenberg branch on +27 (0)21 787 9140 or the Simon’s Town branch on +27 (0)21 786 8440.  Enjoy our snapshots of Cape Town? You should follow us on Twitter here

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