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Cape Town Dolphin & whale watching

Our most recommended Cape Town Dolphin & whale watching

Cape Town: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

1. Cape Town: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

Enjoy a one-hour scenic coastal cruise aboard a luxury power catamaran. The vessel will take you from the historic V&A Waterfront area on an adventure out to sea. Throughout the cruise, you'll travel along the Atlantic coastline to the Green Point Lighthouse before then traveling back to the harbor. With spectacular mountain and city views, the cruise provides perfect ocean views over many of Cape Town’s splendors. Your one-hour cruise operates daily, with regular departures from Quay 5. With a cash bar on board for refreshments as well as great service, this is a trip not to be missed.

Cape Town: Pre-Sunset Champagne Cruise

2. Cape Town: Pre-Sunset Champagne Cruise

A pre-sunset Champagne cruises is an extremely popular cruise, ideal for families with kids who find the regular sunset cruise too late. Whilst out on the water you can watch the sun sink into the horizon and enjoy the “golden hour”, which makes for stunning photos. You'll be presented with fantastic views over the entire city of Cape Town, as well as the always impressive Table Mountain. Aboard your vessel, you will be welcome to enjoy a glass of complimentary sparkling wine which will be accompanied by commentary from the crew whilst on board the boat. This cruise is the second-last of the day, and returns to the V&A Harbour prior to the final sunset Champagne cruise.

Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

3. Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

Climb aboard and look for marine life in the ecosystem of Table Bay on a 1.5-hour eco-cruise from Cape Town. See species in their natural surroundings, such as humpback and southern right whales, depending on the season. Get the chance to watch pods of dolphins breaching close to the boat and marvel at their acrobatic displays. Be enchanted by Cape fur seals lounging on the jetties and get close to unusual species, such as sunfish. Watch African penguins diving for fish to take back to their breeding colony on Robben Island.  Encounter birdlife, such as terns, gannets, cormorants and mighty black-browed albatross.

Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

4. Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

Visit the Dyer Island ecosystem and have the opportunity to spot the Marine Big 5: whales, sharks, seals, dolphins, and penguins. Every year from June to December, the southern right whales arrive to mate and calve.  Witness mating displays, breaching, tail slapping, spy-hopping and more. You may also see Bryde’s whales, humpback whales, the elusive humpback dolphin and the common dolphin. An incredible array of seabirds and a sighting of the almost 60,000-strong Cape fur seal colony on Geyser Rock is guaranteed as the boat cruises down the famous Shark Alley. An onboard marine biologist will be on hand to teach you more about the amazing animals that visit these shores. On the day of your trip, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cape Town or Hermanus, if you have selected an option with transfers included. Upon arrival in Gansbaai, enjoy coffee/tea and muffins while listening to a dedicated safety briefing.  Once you're fitted with inflatable life jackets and wet-weather gear, take a 200-meter stroll down to the harbor to board the whale-watching vessel. Time spent out at sea on average is two hours depending on sea conditions and marine life activity.  Upon return to land, receive an informative debrief while enjoying warm soup and bread. Professional trip footage is also available to purchase after the trip so that you can have a permanent memory of your sightings.  If you have chosen the option with transfers from Cape Town, a visit to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary is also included on your way back. You'll see the important efforts being made to rehabilitate injured and sick animals.

Cape Town: V&A Waterfront Champagne Cruise

5. Cape Town: V&A Waterfront Champagne Cruise

Head to Cape Town's iconic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for an unforgettable cruise along the Atlantic coastline. Soak up the sun on the spacious trampolines in the foredeck or get comfortable on the cushions under the roofed area. Sip your complimentary glass of champagne as you take in spectacular views of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range. Keep an eye out for the marine life in the waters around Cape Town, including seals, dolphins, penguins, and even whales.

Cape Town: Water Biking Tour

6. Cape Town: Water Biking Tour

Glide across the ocean on the worlds most advanced water bike in a totally new and unique way to experience the incredible marine environment of False Bay – renowned for its stunning ocean and mountain views and marine wildlife. Safely explore without an environmental footprint as these water bikes are silent, do not emit any omissions, and do not require fuel. Also, get a different perspective of your surroundings as the bike elevates you in the ocean. Navigate the ocean with ease as these easy and no hassle water bikes are very stable and easy to steer. They do not need balancing as with conventional bikes and no previous experience or special skills are required.  On this tour you will often encounter playful Cape fur seals, other marine life and various sea birds along the way. During whale season, it is possible to encounter one of these magnificent mammals.

Cape Town: Marine Big 5 Ocean Safari from V&A Waterfront

7. Cape Town: Marine Big 5 Ocean Safari from V&A Waterfront

Escape of the hustle and bustle of the city to smell the fresh ocean air and learn about the Atlantic coastline's unique marine ecosystem. Your skippers and guide are experienced enthusiastic and love sharing knowledge and experiences of the ocean. Gaze at the beauty of the ocean as well as at the beauty of the Cape Town Atlantic Coastline. Cruise along and see the city from a different perspective. During the tour, you have the chance to see dolphins, cape fur seals, whales, penguins, sunfish, and more depending on the season. Get views of the 12 Apostle Mountain Range, Signal Hill, Lions Head, and Table Mountain as you make your past Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay, and Oudekraal. 

From Cape Town: Hermanus Whale Watching Boat Trip

8. From Cape Town: Hermanus Whale Watching Boat Trip

Join a whale-watching tour in Hermanus and visit the area with the highest concentration of whales on the South African Coastline. Launch from the quaint fishing harbor of Gansbaai and travel along the cliffs of De Kelders to see these magnificent creatures. Along the way hear commentary about whales, and facts about right whales. Learn about the habitats and their feeding processes. Look for southern right whales in their natural environment, along with dolphins, Cape fur seals, and other marine life. Keep an eye out for humpback, minke, and Bryde's whales frolicking in the ocean. Catch a glimpse of the beautiful orcas, false killer whales, and enchanting African penguins. This tour offers a great selection of marine life and allows you to get an up-close look at wild animals. Relax without an ethical dilemma as you support businesses that celebrate animals in the wild. Return back to the harbor at the end of your boating adventure.

From Cape Town: Whale Watching Tour in Hermanus and Gansbaai

9. From Cape Town: Whale Watching Tour in Hermanus and Gansbaai

In just 20 minutes you’ll be out of Cape Town’s city center and traveling along the Overberg south coastal route to Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay, and Betty’s Bay. The route is picturesque and is an enjoyable way to set the mood for the full day ahead. Travel beneath Sir Lowry’s Pass and see the sheer cliff faces that drop into the Indian Ocean below. As you near Betty’s Bay, you’ll have views of unspoiled beaches stretching for miles. Stop to see the breeding ground of the African penguins at Stony Point or visit the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden. Continue the drive through Hermanus to the seaside town of Gansbaai. The magnificent cliffs of De Kelders and the unspoiled beach provide for perfect land-based whale watching. In Gansbaai, you’ll head out on a 2-hour whale-watching journey. The purpose-built boat and restrictions on the number of passengers make it possible to fully enjoy the experience of observing these creatures at play. Afterwards you’ll head back along the coast to Hermanus for a late lunch (not included in the tour price). There’s much to see and discover in Hermanus, including up-market shops and arts and crafts stalls. Head along the N2 to the Peregrine Farm Stall, the final stop on the tour. Experience old-fashioned values and quality produce straight from the farms.

Cape Town: Coastal Cruise & 14-piece Sushi Meal

10. Cape Town: Coastal Cruise & 14-piece Sushi Meal

Enjoy a scenic 1-hour coastal cruise from Cape Town. Take in spectacular views of the city and Table Mountain from the perspective of ancient mariners. Keep an eye out for marine life such as whales, dolphins, penguins and seals. Dig into a sushi meal ashore at a local restaurant afterwards. Take in great views of the harbor over a 14-piece sushi meal.

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Frequently asked questions about Cape Town

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What people are saying about Cape Town

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 105 reviews

My daughter was temporarily in a wheelchair. They carried her down the gangway and onto the catamaran and stored the wheelchair. And same getting off. Really helpful. They let my eldest daughter drive the boat and it was the best thing she did the whole holiday. It was a lovely day - warm weather and calm seas which helps. We saw seals dolphins and penguins but if you want to see more fish they recommend first or last thing. we took a 1.30 cruise. On board the vibe was awesome. Beer and champers (ZAR extra) free flowing, good tunes, and energy. Recommend getting there 25mins early and starting a line so that you get pick of your seats. Sushi was delicious too!

The tour was a wonderful experience! We saw a lot of dolphins and seals. Later we even saw a baby whale with its mother (out of season). A real dream! Especially when you keep in mind how rare these animals have unfortunately become or they are threatened with extinction because of us.

A really great tour with a great Ripboat. The guides “read” the feeding spots of the dolphins from the birds on the water. We saw seals, dolphins, penguins and even a Bryd whale out of season. Great guides, highly recommended!

Awesome outing for the family, my youngest being 12. First time kayaking - great guides. Got to see dolphins too.

The experience was awesome, I am more than willing to do it again.