Sea Birding Pelagic Trips South Africa, Cape Town Pelagics


  Resources - Whale Watching


The Cape Town area is internationally renowned for its marine mammals. The southwestern coast of Africa is the favoured calving ground of Southern Right Whales seeking more temperate waters during the harsh Antarctic winter.

During the winter and springtime months, July to November but especially August to September, they can be observed close inshore all along the Western Cape coast.

The MTN Whale Hotline (Toll Free 0800 22 82 22) will keep you up to date with the latest sightings.


Good sites for whale watching are found on the Atlantic coast off Postberg Nature Reserve on the West Coast, the western side of False Bay, De Hoop and De Mond Nature Reserves and most famously, Hermanus on the south coast. Indeed, the marine reserve of Walker Bay, which Hermanus overlooks, has been recognised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as one of the world's top twelve whale-watching sites.

The seabirding pelagic trips are an excellent place to see not only the more common coastal species, but also offer a chance of the more elusive deep sea specials.

    Species   Time of Year
  Regularly seen marine mammals include
  Southern Right Whale   Eubalaena australis   July to November
  Humpback Whale   Megaptera novaeangliae   July to October
  Bryde's Whale   Balaenoptera edeni   August to March
  Common Dolphin   Delphinus delphis   All year
  Cape Fur Seal   Arctocephalus pusillus   All year
    Species   Time of Year
  Scarcer species and vagrants include
  Minke Whale   Balaenoptera acutorostrata   -
  Sperm Whale   Physeter macrocephalus   -
  Long-finned Pilot Whale   Globicephala melas   -
  Killer Whale   Orcinus orca   -
  Dusky Dolphin   Lagenorhynchus obscurus   -
  Risso's Dolphin   Grampus griseus   -
  Bottle-nosed Dolphin   Tursiops truncatus   -
  Sub-antarctic Fur Seal   Arctocephalus tropicalis   -

For further information on whales and whale-watching in South Africa, please also see: