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Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
Overberg Whale Watching
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Whale Watching in the Overberg's Cape South Coast
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            Overberg Whale Watching

Whale Watching in the Overberg's Cape South Coast

Welcome to some of the best land- and boat-based whale watching in the world. Each year, Southern Right whales migrate into our coastal waters to calve and nurse their young. The whales, mere meters from the shore, provide unsurpassed whale watching opportunities between June and November. Humpback whales migrate through our region between May and December. Dolphin species that may be seen in the region include the common dolphin and the bottlenose dolphin.

Walker Bay is best known as one of the most excellent land-based whale watching spots in the world. The low cliffs around the Bay provide excellent vantage points from which to get close to whales without going out to sea. The Southern Right whales start arriving in Walker Bay from June and have usually left again by December. The peak whale season, when sightings are virtually guaranteed every day, is during September and October. The whale population peaks in Walker Bay during October.

San Sebastian Bay and De Hoop Nature Reserve - often referred to as the "whale nursery"- have the highest count of Southern Rights along our coast during the height of the breeding months (August to end October). St Sebastian Bay has the largest concentration of Southern Rights on the South African Coast. The official helicopter count done in October 2000 revealed 34 cow-calf pairs in the Bay, and 74 off de Hoop. On a good day you can see up to 50. The areas designated for boat-based whale watching has been carefully selected so as to not interfere with those observing from the land.

The whales can also be spotted at the old whaling slipway at Stony Point near Betty's Bay, at Kleinmond, Onrus, De Kelders and don't forget to drive along the most spectacular coastal Clarence drive route, especially the area between Rooiels and Gordons Bay. The coastal road has turn-off places, where you can stop and take some pictures or enjoy a sundowner while watching a spectacular sunset. The route offers amazing views over False Bay, right up to Table Mountain and Cape Point.

Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis)
Southern Right Whales are easily identified by the double or V-shaped blow, callosity patterns on the head region and the lack of dorsal fin. Southern Right whales are usually totally black in colour, although white patches can occur on the back and often on the belly. Their length is between 12.5 m -15.5 m, weighing between 30 - 60 tonnes.

Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Humpback Whales are easily recognized by their long flippers (almost one third of the body length), blunt dorsal fin and characteristic arching of the back during surfacing. In contrast to the black upper body surface, the flippers are white in colour. The blow is 2.5 - 3 m high. Their length is between 11.5 m and 16 m, weighing about 40 tonnes.

Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)
Highly distinctive in having a yellow-brown blaze running on the flanks from the eye to below the dorsal fin. This forms an elongated figure of eight. Group sizes range from less than 50 to several thousand animals, particularly during the time of the annual sardine run along the east coast. Often associated with diving birds, feeding whales and penguins. They measure up to 2.5 m, weighing up to 175 kg.

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates)
The robust body has a dark grey dorsal cape. Light flanks and an even lighter belly. Group size is highly variable from less than 50 individuals in coastal water. Commonly observed close inshore, surfing and "porpoising" in and out of breakers. The species is well known due to its appearance in captivity. Their length is between 2.5 and 3.3 m, weighing from 200 to 350 kg.

What are the whales doing?

Breaching
Breeching is the most spectacular of whale habits, where the animal will sometimes thrust its whole body out of the water in massive, graceful leaps. No one knows for sure why whales breach - communicating with each other, trying to rid their skin of parasites or just play could be some of the reasons. They usually breach three to five time in succession. whale watching

Spy hopping
Whales sometimes lift their heads vertically above the water and appear to observe what's happening on the surface. This gives them a 360° view of the world above. Whales are curios by nature and will often spy-hop to investigate. whale watching

Sailing
This is when the tail is raised and kept vertical for long periods. It is possibly a form of temperature control - blood in the tail flows very close to the surface of the skin and cools the body when exposed to wind. It has also been suggested that whales use the wind on the tail surface to push their bodies through the water. whale watching

Lobtailing
Many species of whales have been observed thrashing their tails on the surface of the water. This behaviour is known as lobtailing and is probably a signal of some sort - a form of communication or a sign of alarm or annoyance. whale watching

Blowing
The hollow, echoing sound made when air is expelled from the lungs through the blowhole, accompanied by a spout of water vapor. The shape of the spout enables whale watchers to identify the type of whale.

Grunting
A loud, bellowing sound that carries up to 2 km away, often heard at night.

Mating
A number of males will attempt to mate with a single female. She may take evasive action by fleeing into shallower waters or by rolling onto her back. Mating is a brief activity and each of the males may mate with the female. whale watching

Interesting facts about whales and dolphins

Southern Right Whale…
· Females produce calves on average once every three years.
· Southern Right calves grow at about three cm per day and feed on almost 600 litres of milk per day while sucking.
· Southern Rights were the first of the large whales to be protected in 1935.
· Southern Rights dive to a maximum depth of about 300 meters.
· Lifespan is unknown but is presumed to exceed 50 years

Humpback Whale…
· Sings long complex songs in the breeding season. Males sing songs to attract females.
· The reason humpback whales have recovered at a rate of 10 per cent as opposed to the Southern Right 7 per cent, is probably due to the Humpback whale often giving birth every second year, Southern Rights give birth every third year.
· Females reach sexual maturity when they are about 12m long and are larger than mature males.

Dolphins…
· Bottlenose dolphins have a maximum diving time of about eight minutes and probably never dive deeper than 40m.
· Dolphins do not have a sense of smell.
· Dolphins have exceptionally good eyesight.
· Dolphin calves are born tail first so that their heads only enter the water when birth is completed.
· Dolphins only reach their full size after 12 years. They live for about 20 years, many for more than 30 years.

Tour Operators

Establishment Name
Contact Person
Telephone Number
Dyer Island Cruises
Wilfred
082 801 8014
Ivanhoe Seafaris
Rudi / Daphne
082 926 7977
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whale watching
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