Annually, from roughly June to December, Hermanus is known as a mecca for whale watching, with the Southern Right Whales choosing the area as home and their ‘playground.’
- Estimated Population of Southern Right Whales in Hermanus: 12,000
- In season, in excess of 100 whales are known to frequent the waters around Hermanus. Hermanus is renowned as the Whale Watching Capital of South Africa
- The Southern Right whale migrate to our area to mate and give birth, choosing the sheltered sandy bays to calve.
- Southern right whales are usually be found in the shallow coastal waters during the months of June to early December. These waters are their chosen habitat because of the shelter offered and the temperature of the water being suitable to their body mass.
- Watching whales can never tire! Behavior and activity to look out for includes breaching; spyhopping; lobtailling; mating & fluking
The Southern Right Whale is a Baleen Whale
Baleen, also known as ‘whalebone’ is similar to bristles, these baleen bristles are arranged in plates across the upper jaw of the whale. Baleen whales are the largest members of the Cetacean group. Dating back, baleen plates were used in the manufacture of brushes and even necklaces.
- You can easily identify these giant of the deep by the callosities on their heads, paddle-like flippers and broad backs without a dorsal fin.
- Southern Right Whales have two blow holes, and can be easily identified by their distinct V-shaped blow
- The callosities on a Right Whales head are unique to each whale, much like a finger print to humans.
- Southern Right Whales can grow up to 17m (56ft) with weights that exceed 50 tons.
- No teeth? As a baleen whale they don’t have teeth but instead long baleen plates fill their jawlines. Over 200 on either side of their mouth. These plates are used to filter their food from the water.
- The Southern Right is a filter feeder and mainly feeds during the summer months (January – May) in the Antarctic waters, consuming over 2 tons of Krill, copepods & amphipods daily.
- Baleen whales, some of which are the largest animals to have ever lived on earth are often referred to as the ‘great whales’ eat some of the smallest, most abundant life in the ocean. (Plankton)