Every year between early winter and late November, the ocean’s biggest mammals migrate to South African shores to breed…
One of the best spots to witness these great, gentle beasts is Hermanus in the Western Cape. Walker Bay in particular offers some spectacular whale watching points. “At certain points, whales can be seen playing as close as five metres from shore,” according to the Hermanus tourism website.
On 5 June this year, the Hermanus Whales Facebook page posted a stunning video of some Southern Right whales arriving in Walker Bay. The video has since had over 20 000 views!
The whales migrate annually from the Antarctic Ocean to calve and mate on the Cape shores.
The website also has some tips on where to go to view the whales:
- The Cliff Path offers 12km of the best whale-watching view points in the world, stretching from one end of Hermanus to the other. At certain points whales can be seen playing as close as five metres from shore.
- Drive south on Westcliff Road and park at Fick’s Pool. Take the cliff path towards the New Harbour for about 100 metres and arrive at Dreunkrans – a popular whale watching site
- Park at Fick’s Pool or in Marine Drive and make your way to Windsor Bay
- Gearing’s Point overlooking the Old Harbour, gives an uninterrupted view of the ocean.
- At the Old Harbour, viewing terraces are available with spectacular views over Walker Bay. Information boards provide basic information about the whales.
- Drive down Main Road towards the beaches (north-east) and take the turn-off to Die Gang at Berg-en-See to arrive at De Gang.
- One of the most popular locations in Hermanus for whale watching is Siever’s Point, which is closest to where the whales frolic.
- The Kwaaiwater lookout point is accessible by vehicle.
- The Voëlklip and Grotto beaches are perfect for whale spotting and watching, especially from the rocks above the sea.
Where to stay when whale-watching in Hermanus?
Try these cosy Air BnB accommodation options with a range of prices from back-packers to luxury beachfront apartments:
(around R709 per night)
Charming upstairs studio leading onto balcony with scenic views of the indigenous gardens, mountains and glimpses of the sea. The cliff path which is a minute from the studio stretches from the lagoon past pristine beaches and hidden coves all the way to the village and harbour beyond.
Easy walking distance to the mountain reserve contour paths and Fernkloof Nature Reserve which is home to the unique ‘fynbos’ flora.
(Around R712 per night)
The Hayloft at The Hemel en Aarde Farm is set on an idyllic equine retreat. Offering high quality accommodation with fantastic mountain views. 12 km from amenities, restaurants and Hermanus beaches, and located in the world renowned Hemel en Aarde Wine Valley.
High quality vineyards and eating establishments litter the Valley. Perfect for the wine connoisseur, mountain biker, hiker or horse lover. Owners can even bring their own horses to share this experience by separate arrangement.
(Around R1 200 per night)
Very beautifully decorated bijoux 60 m2 apartment with amazing sea views. This lovely space overlooks Walker Bay with wonderful whale sightings during the season. The sound of the sea is a constant soothing noise. A security estate with its own undercover parking space, it is literally a stone’s throw from the rocky beach promenade.
The estate has a communal area with BBQ facilities, swimming pool and squash court.
(Around R2 500 per night)
It has a prime position in Hermanus at the water’s edge, with uninterrupted panoramic views of Walker Bay through its floor-to-ceiling frameless windows.
This allows a fantastic whale watching opportunity in season. It is opposite a Spar store, and an 18-hole golf course. It has been newly designed and renovated by John Greenfield FRSA and had high end finishes and equipment. This is set within its own beautiful gardens and boasts a sea-front swimming pool, with extensive barbeque and leisure area.