Every year, between June and December, southern right whales journey to South African shores to mate and calve. It’s an incredible opportunity to get up close with these majestic creatures. While many consider the Western Cape’s Hermanus to be the best whale watching spot in South Africa, the Whale Route actually consists of a 900-kilometre-long stretch of coastline starting from Cape Town’s False Bay area all the way through to Plettenberg Bay in the southern Cape. If you’re based in Cape Town during your travels, there’s no need to trek to Hermanus to see these gentle giants, as the Cape Whale Route offers plenty of excellent whale spotting opportunities, a mere 20 minutes from the city centre. Not sure where to find these magnificent mammals? We’ve got all the info you need to make the most of the whale season in Cape Town.
The best time for whale watching:
While whale season typically takes place between June and December each year, prime whale-watching season usually peaks between August and October. This also happens to be an excellent time to visit Cape Town as the cooler weather starts petering off and sunny days gradually return. If you’re hell-bent on spotting some adorable baby whales, it’s important to note that calving normally takes place in August and September, but can happen as early as July.
During this time whales are aplenty along the Cape coastline, with visitors and locals being treated to sights of whales frolicking in the bay. South Africa is quickly becoming one of the hottest, must-visit spots for whale watching, with The Cape Whale Route being considered the fifth fastest-growing whale-watching destination in the world.
Where to spot them in Cape Town
If you’re looking for the prime whale-watching spots in Cape Town, we recommend the False Bay coastline. The warmer Indian ocean waters along this coastline offer the ideal conditions for whales and their offspring during calving season.
In addition to being home to an amazing naval base and museum, the quint sea-side suburb of Simon’s Town is also a fantastic spot for whale-spotting in Cape Town. The area also features the sole permit for boat-based whale watching in the western half of the False Bay area from between Cape Point and Strandfontein, so that you can get up-cl0se and personal with the majestic ocean giants.
Locals in the know will also vouch for Fish Hoek as one of the most underrated whale-spotting locales in the Cape. The northern side of Fish Hoek bay, between Fish Hoek Beach and Sunny Cove, is a favourite hang-out spot for Southern Right Whales. Whale watchers are often able to spot the gentle giants floating around right in the centre of the bay, getting as close to 150-odd metres out from the beach. This proximity makes for some spectacular viewings from guesthouses along the coast. Check out the below video from luxury Fish Hoek guesthouse, A Whale of a Time:
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Where to stay:
Having whales frolicking around in the bay, in full-view from your apartment balcony, is the ultimate way to enjoy whale season in Cape Town. At A Whale of a Time you’ll be able to enjoy the whales in all their glory without even having to leave the comfort of your apartment. Each of the 5 luxury self-catering apartments at A Whale of a Time has oceans views so you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the whales while sipping on your morning coffee or enjoying sundowners on the balcony.
In addition to beautiful sea views and a front-row seat to whales frolicking in the bay, the apartments at A Whale of a Time are beautifully decorated, offering everything you need to make the most of your stay in Cape Town. With life’s little luxuries, such as satellite TV and WiFi, included in every suite, you’ll feel right at home at this cosy spot. This unique holiday accommodation spot also caters for groups of all sizes. From couples looking for a cosy 2-sleeper, families of 4, there’s a suite to suit your needs at A Whale of a Time.
And, if you simply must venture out for a whale watching adventure, False Bay’s other whale watching hotspot, Simon’s Town is a mere 12-minute drive away, essentially giving you two diverse whale-watching options in one.
With plenty to see and do in Fish Hoek and surrounds, A Whale of a Time is a true hidden gem on the Cape Town travel scene. The location offers guests easy access to some of Cape Town’s best tourist attractions as well as much loved local hangouts. Whether you’re wanting to soak up the sun on one of the many nearby beaches; visiting popular sites like Boulders Beach and Cape Point; or are craving a taste of local food and wine, it’s all on your doorstep.
Another incredible shot from A Whale of a Time’s viewpoint:
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