Is there any better season in Cape Town than spring? The blooming of wildflowers, the warm weather, and the anticipated arrival of the gentle giants of the sea – the whales are back, baby!
The Southern Right Back whale has been a permanent fixture on the shores of the Western Cape during the warmer months, arriving every year around June to November to enjoy a much-needed break from the icy waters of their natural habitat – the Arctic.
So, grab your binoculars and snacks as we get ready to spot a few of these incredible creatures. Here are a few spots to add to your local travel list:
Witsand is nicknamed “The Whale Nursery of South Africa,” so there’s plenty of whales to be spotted in this area thanks to the Southern Right Whales who migrate to and calve in Saint Sebastian Bay. It’s certainly worth the three-hour journey as the charming seaside gives whale-watchers an incredible opportunity to enjoy land-based watching as the whales come pretty close to the shore.
De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve
Unadulterated beauty is what you’ll get when visiting De Hoop. Epic mountain ranges, unspoilt beaches and the perfect destination for whale-watching. It’s perhaps one of the best spots to catch a glimpse of these gentle creatures outside of Hermanus, with the highest number of sightings being 1 116 whales in one day during August 2018. It’s also an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with hiking trails, nature walks and stargazing all available within the natural confines of this 34 000 hectares reserve.
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Why not kill two birds with one stone? The charming seaside town of Yzerfontein is located along the West Coast and provides eager wildflower enthusiasts and whale-watchers with the chance to check out both. There are plenty of look-out points throughout the town with bird-watching, kit-surfing, hiking and a 4×4 trail for those looking for an outdoorsy weekend away.
If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, then Cape Agulhas is the perfect destination. While you have the opportunity to spot the occasional Southern Right Back, it’s the humpback whales that spend most of their time frolicking in these waters. There are several land-based spots located in this area, but you can also go the extra mile by grabbing a boat and heading out onto the water for better viewing. There’s also plenty to get up to around this area, with unspoilt beaches, delicious restaurants and the famous Lighthouse all located here.
Gansbaai may be the prime destination for those looking to swim with the sharks, but there are several incredible whale-watching opportunities in this area too. If you’d like to keep your feet firmly on land, you can grab your camera and head to one of the whale-watching spots located around this fishing village or join a boat-based tour to help get a closer look. Fishing, surfing and swimming are also on the agenda if you’re looking to enjoy a weekend filled with activities.
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