Catching The Whales In South Africa: All You Need To Know

South Africa is one of the most popular wildlife destinations in the world, and for good reason. With a vast amount of marine and bush viewing experiences, a single trip can tick off many a bucket list and can incorporate both the big five and the big two sea mammals: sharks and whales.

When planning a whale watching trip, South Africa is definitely a go-to destination, with more than 35 species of whales and dolphins in its waters. The most common whale found along the South African coast is the southern right whale, which swims close to the shore along the Cape coast.

Whale watching can be truly spectacular, with many of these mammals often engaging in entertaining activities such as leaping out of the water or lobtailing. Other whales that can be found along the South African coastline include humpback whales. Orcas and killer whales can also be seen, however, these species are a lot less common.

A few considerations to keep in mind when planning to watch whales in South Africa, include:


Whales are common during South Africa’s late winter and early spring, which runs from June to November. This is the time of the year when the southern right whales migrate and give birth.


The coastal experience can easily be combined with a bushveld experience, where tourists are able to see the Big Five or a visit to the popular cape winelands. Proper planning is essential, however, as these trips often involve short flights in between cities.

Cape Town offers a vast array of experience and can often encompass the broad spectrum: from wildlife experiences, to wine tasting and historical experiences.

Apart from Cape Town’s broad range of experiences, there is also the world-famous Garden Route, which offers some of the most scenic drives in the world. If you are looking for something different, there is also a number of train tours aboard luxury trains including Rovos Rail and the Blue Train, which both travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town and beyond.

Johannesburg itself is an experience to possibly include in your trip, with a vast amount of history museums, many of which focus on South Africa’s political history, or Gold Reef City, which is a theme park built on one of Johannesburg’s old gold mines. Johannesburg is also situated very close to the Cradle of Humankind, where the world’s most complete hominid skeletons have been found.

If those experiences aren’t enough, South Africa has a number of jaw-droppingly beautiful world-class golf courses for the avid golfers, in all of its nine provinces, boasts a truly inspiring culinary experience in each region, friendly people, cheap travel and even experiences such as shopping, craft beer tasting and simply enjoying one of the world’s finest landscapes.