Great Migrations: Whale tails on the horizon

Every year, the greatest mammals on earth swim vast distances to feed, mate and birth their young. The protected bays of South Africa provide the perfect nursery for young calves, which is why Southern Right Whales migrate annually from the icy cold waters of the Antarctic up to the warmer coastal waters off Africa.

ypowpo - whale

The charming town of Hermanus overlooks Walker Bay and is one of the best places to view these majestic creatures as they frolic in the waves just metres from the shore. Whale season runs from June to December and during peak whale season – August and September – daily sightings are almost guaranteed either by land, air or sea.

Birkenhead House, Hermanus
Birkenhead House, Hermanus

Whales are massive creatures who make their home deep beneath the waters, occasionally coming up for air or, if you’re lucky, to breach (leap through the air and crash down). Boat excursions are one of the best ways to see the tip of a distant fin or tail. Adventure-seekers can also get close to these mighty animals in a sea kayak. Or a flip in a helicopter gives you an aerial view and breath-taking panoramas of the surrounds.

Signs of whale activity include a v-shaped spray from the Southern Right’s double blow holes, waves breaking on their backs, tail slapping in preparation for diving and fins out of the water. Clifftop viewing is one of the signatures of Hermanus and some of our partner properties overlook the costal cliffs, allowing you the chance to spot whales from your room or while dining. Do not miss walking along the world-famous cliff paths and keep your eyes on the ocean as you do. Often only metres from the shore, the area offers some of the best whale watching in the world.

Grootbos, Whale Coast
Grootbos, Whale Coast