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August 16, 2010

Whale watching tips from a Cape Town enthusiast

cape town whale

A whale plays in Cape Town’s Three Anchor Bay. Photo courtesy Ian Junor

August is one of the best months of the year for whale watching in the Cape Town area, and there have been many sightings in Muizenberg and Simon’s Town

Other great spots for whale watching are Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Blaauwberg, as well as along the False Bay coast and Atlantic Seaboard. Because of changing weather patterns, whale migratory patterns have shifted, and many whales now stay in the area until as late as November.

Whales can generally be seen throughout the day, but most sightings are reported in the morning and late afternoon. I particularly love when they breach – it’s incredible to see them completely out of the water.

The more common southern right and humpback whales come to the Cape during their breeding season. Resident Bryde’s whales can also be found further away from the shore, where there have also been sightings of orca or killer whales.

A whale watching boat trip is a great experience, and a guilt-free one too. Operators are regulated so that these majestic mammals come to no harm.

There was a recent incident in Cape Town when a whale breached onto a yacht – a scary experience, I’m sure, but totally amazing too.

If a whale or any sea mammal is found stranded, please do not approach it. While in trouble, these animals can still be dangerous. Rather contact the necessary authorities such as Marine and Coastal Management and Nature Conservation. Cape Town Tourism’s ever helpful staff have also been known to assist in such situations.

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. You can also search our tour operator section.

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