Trip Status

Fabulous August 2018 | Whale Season Hermanus

The whale season in Hermanus is in FULL swing: with nearly daily sightings from the land and 100% success rate for sightings on all of our whale watching boat trips this past month, the coastline is beaming with activity.

The Whale Unit of the Mammal Research Institute took to the skies to conduct an aerial count of the Southern Right Whales along our coastline, the total count was 1347 whales between Hawston and Witsands. This jaw-dropping count is triple what it was this time last year!




With its close proximity to Cape Town, Hermanus is the perfect getaway destination. This once small fishing village has burst into an eco-tourism playground and has become known as the whale watching capital of South Africa. A day trip might leave you wanting more so it is best to rather spend a night or two for your Hermanus whale watching getaway. Be sure to filter you accommodation search as there is a vast choice to suit any desire, be it on the cliff paths, beach, the town centre or on the foot of a fynbos-covered mountain. Here are some local tips on what to see and do in the area for a short stay. To find accommodation nearby, visit HotelsCombined​.



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

Hermanus Whale Season: When, why & what are southern right whales up to?

Hermanus on the south coast of South Africa is one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world. From June to December every year, southern right whales congregate here to deliver one of nature’s most remarkable spectacles. Hermanus’ shallow, sandy coves and warmer, calmer waters provide whales with the ideal environment to start and eventually complete their up to three-year-long reproductive cycles.

The majestic southern right whales have travelled a long way to get here – thousands of kilometers – on a journey that starts in June. Then by early Decemberll head in the opposite direction again, back down south to fill their mighty bellies until the following year, when they do it all again. But why do southern right whales undertake these grueling distance migrations? 

southern right whales

Southern right whales are seasonal feeders, and during the Southern Hemisphere summer months they spend their time feeding in the far Southern Ocean, a cold and seemingly inhospitable place that is nonetheless rich in microscopic marine animal life, known as zooplankton, such as krill – the main element of the southern right whale’s diet. This makes the Antarctic region ideal for fattening up before embarking on the incredible journey north, towards Hermanus and other places along South Africa’s south coast.

It’s not exactly known how far these marine mammals travel. Distances can vary according to where they feed in the summer, and that in turn can vary according to the distribution of their prey (the krill and other zooplankton we mentioned earlier). While the location of feeding grounds is uncertain and changeable, scientists have positively identified the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and areas south of the 50-degree latitude.

That’s a long way to go, but considering that southern right whales grow to be up to 17m long and can weigh more than 50 tons, these colossal beasts are well equipped for the long- distance challenge.

Once in our relatively warm and calm waters, the whales then undertake the important task of mating and calving (giving birth). They don’t eat while they are here; instead surviving on the ample blubber (fat) they’ve built up during their time in the south.

Places like Walker Bay offer the perfect conditions for breeding in peace. For us land dwellers, it also offers the perfect location from where to view this spectacle of nature. Of course, you needn’t stay on land. With Southern Right Charters, you can get as close as 50m to the visiting whales, and because they are naturally curious, they are likely to swim up to our boat to say hello. Our on-board specialist whale guide will shed light on all the marine life encountered (which certainly doesn’t end with whales) and also explain the southern rights whales’ peculiar behavior: find out what breaching, spyhopping, lobtailling and fluking means, then see it happen first-hand.

Did you know?

More than 100 southern right whales spend their “winter holidays” in the Hermanus area every year.


Whale Watching in July 2013 – Photo Blog

July has been a great month for boat based whale watching in Hermanus.


The past month has had 100% sighting success with whale encounters on all of our whale watching trips. The number of whales in the bay are steadily increasing with the last aerial whale count estimating more than 30 southern right whales in the bay.  Southern Right Charters has also enjoyed spectacular humpback whale sightings on a number of our tours during July. Continue reading “Whale Watching in July 2013 – Photo Blog”

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23 Jul 2024

09h00 and 12h00 – Good to Go

15h00 – to be confirmed on updated forecast

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* Trip status is updated daily around 16h00 SAST.

* Subject to unforseen circumstances.