Between June and November, huge congregations of Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis) arrive along the coast of South Africa to mate and give birth.
One of the best places to view southern right whales is in the small town of Hermanus, where you can sit on the cliffs along the town center and watch this amazing spectacle.
It really is that easy. If you are visiting South Africa during whale season, Hermanus is a must. The trip to Hermanus can easily be done on a two-day trip from Cape Town. You don’t have to spend money on a whale watching tour, you just stand next to the ocean and they will often swim within 10 meters! And it’s totally free! Sometimes they come so close you can feel the spray from their blowholes as they breathe.
Watch whales as they court, play, and chill out in Walker Bay. You can see interesting behaviors like spyhopping (poking their head straight up out of the water to look around), lobtailing (when they slap the water with their tail fin), and maybe even a full breach (when they launch their entire body clear out of the water!) If you are extremely lucky, you may even witness a whale birth.
Hermanus may just be the best shore-based whale watching destination on the planet.
Zoologist and wildlife photographer. She has worked in the field with jackals, wolves, cheetahs, & leopards. She serves on the Board of Directors of SEE Turtles, a non-profit sea turtle conservation organization.
Read her posts at Travel For Wildlife and see more of her work at Truly Wild, & Our Wild Yard.