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Western Cape

Dolphin & whale watching

Our most recommended Western Cape Dolphin & Whale Watching

Hermanus: Boat Based Whale Watching Experience

1. Hermanus: Boat Based Whale Watching Experience

Board your vessel for the day and receive a safety briefing before starting your whale watching adventure. In good weather conditions travellers will be allowed on the top-deck before departure for great unobstructed views, otherwise they will be allowed on top only after the whales have been found. Travel out onto the ocean taking in great views as you go.  Once the whales have been spotted, the vessel is allowed to move closer to the whales where it stops and the engines disengage is to prevent the whales from being injured by the propellers. Experience for yourself the astonishment of being so close to these majestic creatures.  As the whales are curious creatures, they might move up to the vessel for some 'people watching'. See a variety of other marine wildife such as dolphins and seals as you coast along the water. As you travel through the day and spot these beautiful creatures learn more about them from your crew, before they take you back to land after a once in a lifetime experience. 

Hermanus: Whale and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

2. Hermanus: Whale and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

Discover Hermanus, one of the best destinations for watching marine mammals, on a boat trip with a whale specialist guide. Sail to areas that receive seasonal visits from southern right and humpback whales along with year-round sightings of Bryde’s whales and dolphins. Enjoy refreshments onboard. Sail on a purpose-built catamaran ensures maximum passenger comfort and spectacular viewing opportunities. During the tour, the crew is on hand to make sure everyone has a great experience, from helping get the perfect photo to serving complimentary light refreshments. The guide, a whale specialist, will interpret the marine life encountered en route and provide insight into the behavior of the whales while the action is taking place. The expert videographer will ensure the best footage is captured.

Cape Town: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

3. 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.

Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

4. Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

Launch from the quaint fishing harbor of Gansbaai and travel along the cliffs of De Kelders. Enter a nature reserve with the highest concentration of whales in South Africa. Look for southern right whales in their natural environment, along with dolphins, Cape fur seals and sharks. 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. Return back to the harbor at the end of your boating adventure.

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.

From Knysna: Sunset cruise with bubbly and dinner

6. From Knysna: Sunset cruise with bubbly and dinner

All our catamaran cruises depart from the Jetty at Sirocco restaurant on Thesen Island where you are welcomed by your captain and crew. We then venture out for a magical sail on the Knysna Lagoon, navigate the famous Knysna Heads and then head out to sea ( weather permitting) to explore the spectacular marine and bird life of the Indian Ocean. Being joined by pods of dolphins, or a friendly seal is a magnificent experience, you may even see a whale! Once we set sail there’s ample time for lazing in the sun, supping, swimming, and snorkeling depending on the duration of your cruise. Sit back while we treat you to a complimentary glass of ice-cold bubbles. You are also welcome to buy any additional drinks at our cash bar on board. On our return to the Knysna Lagoon, we will treat you to a traditional braai. Our Catamaran LaraBella is equipped with a wine cooler, a coffee machine, a bar, a big lounge saloon area, beautiful cabins, and several fridges.

Knysna: Close Encounter Whale Watching Tour by Boat

7. Knysna: Close Encounter Whale Watching Tour by Boat

Come get up close and personal with the gentle giants of the ocean on this 2-hour whale watching tour! Your trip begins as your captain navigates you through the Knysna Estuary and then you'll head out towards the vast and beautiful Indian Ocean. Every year, both the southern right and humpback whales leave their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica and migrate to mate and calve in the warmer waters of the Southern African coastline - this makes Knysna one of the best whale-watching destinations in the country. The tour will be narrated by an experienced skipper and guide who will share with you fascinating information about the lives of these whales. Your adventure will also be assisted by an experienced whale spotter who is in radio contact with all skippers, so you can be directed to any sightings. Keep your eyes peeled for other marine life as well - you may even spot a dolphin or a penguin or two!

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.

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

9. 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

10. 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.

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Frequently asked questions about Western Cape Dolphin & Whale Watching

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What people are saying about Western Cape

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 105 reviews

It was a very good experience I fully enjoyed myself and keagan was a delight, very funny guy. The skipper was great the way he managed the boat I didn't get sick once and the lady with the frizzy hair her way she received myself and my fiance was something to look forward to. I'm no good with names so I apologise for not remembering but to rate the expirations out of 10 I would most certainly give it a full 10. Loved it and planing on taking my nephew soon.

Was a little tricky to find the site among all the other cruise sites in same area, staff there were great and took us to our beautiful catamaran where it turned out we were the only two people at that time. We had a private tour, and the crew were great-spotting seals, penguins and dolphins-alas no whales that day. But was a wonderful tour! Highly recommend

This was AMAZING! The view was so beautiful! My guide really made me feel comfortable while in the air! Definitely would try again!

Excellent experience. We were lucky enough to see dolphins, seals, penguins and a whale.

It was just an indescribable experience. There's nothing to add here!