Trip Status

The Welcome Whales Celebration

Come and join in the festivities at the first Welcome Whales Celebration taking place this June.

The event is hosted by a collaboration of whale-fanatics, guru’s, scientists, and locals that have teamed up to showcase the areas diverse marine life, honour the whales and celebrate the Ocean.

The three-day event will be held in the New Harbour from 6 – 8 June 2021 and each day will be dedicated to one of the three whale species that visit Walker Bay annually – the Southern Right, the Brydes and the Humpback whale.

Coinciding with World Ocean Day 2021, the worldwide movement for a sustainable society and a healthy blue planet. This year’s theme of ‘One Ocean, One Climate, One Future – Together’ will be at the core of the celebration.

An array of activities and festivities featuring: informative talks & visual presentations; interactive displays, ‘adopt’ a whale, photographic marine walks, whale watching, abalone tours and tasting, kayaking, seafood and crafts will take place daily.


See the full programme below:



Day 1 is devoted to the Southern Right Whale!  Hermanus is lucky enough to host the bulk of these majestic mammals that migrate to the South African coastline annually from roughly June to December.

9h00 – 11h30 | ACTIVITY | Whale watching Boat tour
Explore the Hermanus coastline and possibly spot the first Southern Right Whales of the season!
Hosted by Southern Right Charters

12h00 – 14h00 | ACTIVITY | Meet & Greet
‘Appointment ceremony’ of the new Hermanus Whale Crier, Interactive displays, Craft & Exhibit, Food & Drinks
Hosted by Various, Lower Quay, New Harbour

13h00 – 14h00 | KIDS ACTIVITY | Fun Pollution Awareness Art Class – “Create your own art piece” from Beach Plastic
**Ages 7-11 years
Presented by Janet Ormond – Environmental Artist, CURB Beach Plastic

14h00 – 15h00 | TALK | A Photographic Journey with Southern Right Whales – Inspirational presentation showcasing over a decade of whale photography.
Presented by Dave De Beer, Hermanus Whales

15h30- 16h30 | TALK | South Africa’s southern right whales – Fascinating facts based on over 40 years of research and annual studies of the whales in Walker Bay and beyond
Presented by Dr Els Vermeulen, Mammal Research Institute – Whale Unit


BRYDES WHALE DAY ~ 7th June 2021


Day 2 will showcase on the Brydes whale, the lesser known, often seen & practically resident whale of Hermanus, which is easily distinguished by their sharp dorsal fin.

9h00 – 11h00 | ACTIVITY | Sea Kayaking – Paddle across Walker Bay and come face-to-face with the diverse marine life of Hermanus.
Hosted by Walkerbay Adventures

9h30 – 11h30 | ACTIVITY | Photographic Marine Walk – Pack your camera for this guided walking tour of the Hermanus coastline.
Hosted by Southern Right Charters

11h00 – 13h00 | ACTIVITY | Abalone Tour & Tasting – Boot-up & explore a working Abalone farm, informative guided tour and tasting experience.
Hosted by Heart of Abalone

15h30 – 16h30 | TALK | The secret whale of Hermanus – A Skippers Log: Interesting visual presentation and introduction to the lesser known, often seen & practically resident whale of Hermanus.
Presented by Ashley Appleby, Southern Right Charters

17h00 – 18h00 | TALK | Brydes Whale Conservation Programme – An in-depth presentation on the inshore population of Bryde’s whales in South Africa
Presented by Dr Els Vermeulen, Mammal Research Institute – Whale Unit


HUMPBACK WHALE DAY ~ 8th June 2021


Day 3 is all about the Humpback whale! This event marks the inclusion of Hermanus in the Humpback Migration Route which is coordinated by Baywatch Projects and is supported by the World Cetacean Alliance. The route spans the coast from Swakopmund all the way to Watuma, Kenya.

9h00 – 11h30 | ACTIVITY | Whale watching Boat tour – Experience boat-based whale watching from Hermanus, South Africa’s Whale Capital.
Hosted by Southern Right Charters

11h00 – 13h00 | ACTIVITY | Abalone Tour & Tasting – Boot-up & explore a working Abalone farm, informative guided tour and tasting experience.
Hosted by Heart of Abalone

14h30 – 15h30| TALK | Whale Disentanglement – A first-hand account.
Hosted by National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Station 17

16h00 -16h30| ACTIVITY | WELCOME WHALES WAVE, a fun cliff-top event –
Welcoming the Whales with a big Wave (‘human chain’) on the Hermanus Cliff Path between the Amphitheatre and Gearing’s Point
Hosted by Hermanus Tourism

16h00 – 17h00 | TALK | The Humpback ‘Supergroups’ – which visit the coastal area of Cape each year.
Presented by Dr Elisa Seyboth, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

17h30 – 18h30 | TALK | The Southern Hemisphere Humpback Migration – the remarkable recovery of this species.
Presented by Lloyd Edwards, Baywatch Research Project & World Cetacean Alliance

Free admission for talks and special rates for activities. All events (paid & free) require a valid ticket for admission, to book, visit: Welcome Whales Celebration- or WhatsApp +27823530550

Hermanus Whale Season 2019

Skippers’ Log: Hermanus Whale Season 2019

Since kicking off our whale season back in June, we have had one of the most spectacular and varied seasons on record. (Let’s not dwell on the abundance of long cold fronts and ‘no sea’ days)

Our Hermanus whale season begins in June, annually and this year the Humpback whales were ever present from the start, we probably had the most Humpback whale sightings during the months of June and July than any other year of operation.

The Southern right whales made a slower than usual arrival and we had our first sighting on the 14th June 2019. Since then we have been humbled daily, watching these gentle giants of the ocean. Although most articles of 2019 have spoken about low southern right whale numbers, what’s overlooked is the marine expo on offer right here on Hermanus’ doorstep – Brydes whales have been a staple for both the beginning and end parts of the season, going against the grain several times becoming curious and interacting with the vessel as guests onboard get an awesome experience and photographic opportunity.

The semi-resident Bottlenose dolphin pod has been witnessed regularly, a couple of sightings of humpback dolphins as well as some spectacular mega-pods of common dolphins in the bay, setting into motion a ‘boiling water’ effect around the boat.

In August, while watching one such mega-pods, we were then distracted by the arrival of a pod of Orca, setting crew and guests alike into a frenzy with excitement, no one onboard wanting the magnificent spectacle to end, guests of that trip became immediate “SRC” family, sharing with us one of the highlight sightings of the decade.

Great white sharks, Cape fur seals, birds and the African penguins were among other sightings of the 2019 season as well as Mola-mola sunfish. One sunfish, in particular we saw so regularly and could be easily distinguished by its noticeable scar tissue,  the crew even named him Donald!

It is amazing how much nostalgia each season brings, how many memories and people from across the globe we meet but this year has been particularly special as we celebrate our 20 Year Anniversary! That said all good things must come to an end, yesterday’s 9h00 departure marked the end of our 2019 peak whale watching season. As after much thought, a week of mixed viewings in the bay and some strong westerly winds forecasted over the coming days, it was decided it’s time to call it a wrap!

During yesterdays trip, guests onboard chatted with crew about the season and, after a 2-hour search were lucky when we encountered a large Brydes whale and 10 minutes later, most fitting to see the season out – one of the last Southern Right Whales in the area. Perfect way to end the season.

We look forward to sun filled summer season offering our Marine Safari tours and wish all a Happy Festive Season!


Whale Watching Sighting Update | July 2016

Whale Season 2016 , Sighting update for July, Hermanus Whale Watching

During the month of July our whale watching tours had a 99% success rate for whale sightings.


  • Brydes whales were frequently seen due to the large shoals of fish in Walker BayWhale watching sighting South Africa
  • Humpback whales were encountered on five of July’s trips
  • Southern Right whale’s were encountered on 99% of our trips, with numbers in excess of +20 whales on one trip
  • Southern Right whales mating was observed 19 times this past month
  • Humpback dolphins were seen twice during July. Our fist encounter was rare in term of the size of the pod, +50 dolphins were seen around the boat.
  • Common and Bottlenose dolphins were seen on 5 of our trips during July
  • Above average, pelagic bird activity in the bay this July.
  • A Great white shark was briefly spotted near the boat, and shortly after a whale in the distacarbon neutral tour operator southern right chartersnce started displaying very protective behaviour of her calf


Southern Right Charters have given back to the environment by offsetting our carbon footprint.
In an ongoing initiative certified and overseen by the Climate Neutral Group we now manage an effective emission reduction project, where we have reduced our CO2 output and engaged in sustainable way of giving back to the environment.
“We put back what we take out”


whale watching hermanus

1. Is there a better time of day to see the whales, or when they are more active?

No two trips are alike and every day we have a trip that is the best but there is no way to know which one it will be before the time, it is all up to nature. We offer daily trips, weather permitting, which depart at 9h00; 12h00 and 15h00. No time of the day is better or worse for the whale sightings; it’s best to choose the trip time based on weather and what suits your travel plans best. If you are staying in Hermanus overnight then it is best to join on the 9h00 departure as then it leaves the rest of the day for other activities or traveling and the sea can often be calmer in the mornings.

2. Would we need to book a whale watching boat trip in advance or can we turn up on the day?

It is always better to book in advance as that secures your trip, payment is only required upon departure, as all of our trips are weather permitting. You can confirm your booking by completing our whale watching enquiry form or call us +27 823530550.

3. Are we guaranteed to see the whales?

We never like to use the word ‘guarantee’ as it is nature but with that said it is very rare that we do not encounter whales. Hermanus is lucky, as the bay is much loved by the Southern Right whales and in peak season there is easily 100+ whales in the area. If by some chance you do not see whales on your trip we do offer a 50% refund on your ticket price paid or the opportunity to join us on the next available trip for free.

4. What is the duration of the boat trip and whale watching tour?

We do not cap our trip time as it all depends on the traveling time to the whales. The trip itself can be 1hr 30m – 3 hours maximum. The trip time averages at about 2hours.

5. What happens if the trip is cancelled due to weather?

We only cancel on the day if the weather is poor, as the forecast can often be wrong. We would call you to let you know and then based on availability will re-book you for when suits you best. We always have a watchful eye on the forecast so feel free to call us a day or two prior to your trip for an update and possible re-shuffle of your booking. For direct bookings you only pay on arrival so that eases the hassle of refunds in case your trip is cancelled due to weather. Any tickets booked directly and paid for prior will be refunded in full if we cancel the tour.

Due to the whale season in Hermanus occurring during South Africa’s winter months, cancellation can often occur so we would always recommend booking your trip for your first available day so that if it is cancelled, then you have the next day as an option during your holiday.

6. What time must I arrive for my whale watching trip?

Arrival time is 30 minutes prior to departure time, as we have an on-land briefing prior the trip.

Confirmed bookings will be released and can be sold on if you have not arrived 15 minutes prior to departure, so please call to let us know if you are running late. (Cancellation terms apply)

7. Are there any age limits for children?

There is no age restriction but adult supervision is a must and it is regulation for all children under 12 years old to wear a life jacket at all times. If you child is an infant, chat to us prior to your trip about what is best to bring a long and life jacket sizing.

Also see: What to bring along for your whale watching trip

Timing is everything

Through June to December Hermanus teems with extraordinary marine life as different species of whales cross our waters on their migratory paths. Southern Right Whales can be spotted in Walker bay throughout this period as they frolic, mate and give birth.

The short window period to spot Humpback whales is between June and August, with this coastline being a stop on their migratory route.

Continue reading “Timing is everything”

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25 Jun 2024

ALL Trips cancelled due to sea/weather conditions


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* Trip status is updated daily around 16h00 SAST.

* Subject to unforseen circumstances.