Where to Go Dolphin and Whale Watching in Cape Town


Spotting wales and dolphins is  breathtaking experience. Discover the top spots for sightings along the Cape Peninsula.


06th September 2016

The Twelve Apostles Hotel

With southern right whales migrating from Antarctica to South Africa’s warm waters each June, and an abundance of other marine mammals to be spotted year-round, the Cape Peninsula is considered one of the world’s best locations for sightings. From exhilarating boat trips to an annual whale watching festival, here’s where to go dolphin and whale watching in Cape Town, during a stay at The Twelve Apostles.

A marine reserve encompassing the waters directly in front of the Twelve Apostles affords the hotel’s guests with frequent whale and dolphin sightings, from both the Leopard Bar and Azure Restaurant. And this is just the beginning, as opportunities to set out along the coast for further sightings abound, with even closer encounters to be had on dolphin and whale-watching boat tours.

The season for seeing southern right whales is typically June to November, but humpback whales stay around a little longer, moving up the coast from Hermanus to KwaZulu Natal. Bryde’s whales and pods of dolphins can be seen throughout the entire year, and while these are the most common sightings, it’s said that as many as 37 whale and dolphin species pass through.

Whale Watching in Cape Town

With such a wealth of marine mammals, a number of whale and dolphin watching boat trips depart from these shores. Dyer Island Cruises lead a Whale and Bird Watching trip transporting passengers from Cape Town to Kleinbaai, from where Dyer Island is just an eight-kilometre boat ride away. This island is known for its population of birds such as African penguins, while the opposite site, Geyser Rock, is home to around 60,000 Cape fur seals. The water between these two spots is known as Shark Alley, with whale hotspots nearby, as well as pods of dolphins. Cape Town Day Tours offer boat-based whale watching trips from Cape Town, too, which after a scenic drive along False Bay, depart from the coastal town of Hermanus.

Whale Watching in Cape Town

Oceans Africa, meanwhile, places the focus on dolphins by offering Dolphin Watching Tours & Charters. A boat trip from False Bay could be rewarded with common, bottlenose and dusky dolphin sightings, while a tour from the Atlantic seaboard presents the opportunity to see common and dusky, plus the distinctive Heaviside’s dolphin species.

To celebrate the height of whale watching season, Hermanus Whale Festival 2016 will run from September 30th to October 2nd. Each year, the world renowned event attracts around 130,000 visitors, who come to take part in the eco-marine exhibitions and talks, as well as crafts markets, food halls, wine and beer tents, live music, sports competitions, and the main event, whale watching.

Whale Watching in Cape Town

At any time of year, the Cape Peninsula is home to a bounty of marine mammals with plentiful opportunities to go dolphin and whale watching in Cape Town. Any stay at The Twelve Apostles luxury hotel can be made even more special with this one-of-a-kind wildlife experience.

Image credits: Cover photo © iStock / Steven Benjamin. Cape Town Waterfront © iStock / Ken Sorrie. A whale near Hermanus © iStock / Neil Bradfield. Dolphins in South Africa © iStock / ANDREYGUDKOV. The Twelve Apostles © Red Carnation Hotels.

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