Every year between June and December, the ocean’s beautiful gentle giants migrate past the tip of Africa. Southern Right Whales migrate to the coastal waters of the Western Cape to nurse their young, while Humpback Whales migrate through the region between May and December.
Bryde’s Whales can be seen slightly offshore all year round.
The Whale Route starts along the south of Cape Town and extends to Durban, making up over 1 931 kilometres of whale watching coastline.
Marine Conservation Photographer Jean Tresfon was conducting an aerial whale survey for the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit on Saturday when he stumbled across a total number of 1,347 Southern Right Whales between Hawston and Witsands, near Hermanus.
“This is almost exactly triple the amount of whales counted at nearly the same time (1st week of Sep) in the same area in 2017, and a new all time record for southern right whales counted along our coast!” – he said in a Facebook post.
“The area between Hermanus lagoon mouth and De Kelders is one of the known hotspots for these gentle giants. The area yielded a count of 107 whales, 41 cow/calf pairs and 25 unaccompanied adults.
“There were a few more whales at Pearly Beach, Die Dam and Agulhas and then another big group between Struisbaai and Arniston. The next hotspot was at the De Hoop Collection Nature Reserve, from Skipskop Point to Lekkerwater, where we spotted an incredible 1,116 whales, or 558 cow/calf pairs, highlighting the fact that Koppie Alleen is without question the most important nursery area for southern right whales on the South African coast.
“There were also several large great white sharks swimming amongst the whales and calves.”
The Whale route covers several famous protected areas, including the Garden Route, Tsitsikamma National Park, and the Transkei. At least 37 species of whales and dolphins can be found in the waters off the South African coastline.
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Picture: Facebook/Jean Tresfon