At the Southern Tip of Africa, where the world’s oceans meet, Humpback whales migrate between May and December each year. The Whale Route starts along the south of Cape Town and extends to Durban. And while hundreds of whales are sighted each year, one lucky photographer – Kieran Donnelly – managed to spot an unusually large pod of over 60 whales off the coast of Cape Town.
Capturing this footage just off Queen’s Beach in Sea Point, in his post on Instagram @kdonnellyza wrote “And for my 200th post, I present to you some INCREDIBLE#drone footage of at least 60 humpback whales off the coast of #CapeTown.”
With the arrival of summer in South Africa, we’re at the peak of summer feeding migration. South Africa maintains its position as the fifth fastest growing whale- watching destination in the world.
However, it is illegal to approach within 300 m of whales by boat, kayak, ski-boat, aircraft or any other means without a permit. Boat-based whale watching has recently become legal in South Africa, but only for the few operators that have been issued boat based whale watching permits. This restriction helps to protect and cause minimum intrusion on the whales who come to the warmer waters of the south to mate.
About 37 species of whales and dolphins can be found in the waters off South Africa. Though the Route is most famous and popular for encounters with southern right whales, humpback whales, and several coastal dolphin species. Here you can also spot African penguins, Cape fur seals, black oystercatcher birds – a veritable treasure trove of marine life.
Considering a Whale Watching Trip to Cape Town? Destinations include Hermanus – two hours away from Cape Town, Grootbos Nature Reserve – a quiet eco-paradise, Lamberts Bay on the Cape West Coast, down to De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve.
When to go: July to December
Viewing options: Shoreline, Boat trips