Every year, between June and December, the southern right whales gather in the waters of Walker Bay, their preferred breeding ground during the winter months. Their arrival transforms the quiet coastal town of Hermanus into a hubbub of activity, as people come from far and wide to witness these gentle giants in action.
Seeing a southern right up close has been described as a spiritual experience by those who’ve had the privilege, and Southern Right Charters offers the opportunity to do exactly that.
A wondrous whale-watching boat trip
Throughout the course of whale-watching season, tours depart three times a day from the New Harbour in Hermanus, and each tour ranges in duration from one-and-a-half to three hours.
Tours take place on a purpose-built catamaran that has comfortable indoor seating, observation points designed to provide spectacular views of whales, and a professional crew dedicated to ensuring passenger safety and comfort.
The trip includes:
- light refreshments
- Hermanus whale specialist, who answers questions, and provides interesting insights into whale behaviour
- optional souvenir movie of the tour available for purchase
The tour operator’s permit allows the boat to get as close as 50 meters; at which point it’s up to the whales to decide whether to get closer. As it turns out, many of them do. Our fellow mammals are just as curious about us as we are about them.
You can book your tour online, or contact Southern Right Charters at the details provided. Aside from being a fun day out at sea, whale-watching is a potentially profound experience that provides but a glimpse into the wonders of the ocean world.
Good to know
- The tour is suitable for all ages, but children under 12 must wear a life jacket at all times.
- Arrival time is 30 minutes prior to departure.
- During peak breeding season (September and October), the number of whales in the bay can reach as many as 100 or more. It is rare not to encounter one during a whale-watching tour, but on the off chance you don’t, Southern Right Charters will offer either a 50 per cent refund, or the opportunity to join the next tour for free.
- Whale-watching season occurs during the winter months, so there is a chance of trips being cancelled due to poor weather. The crew will decide on the day if the weather is unsafe for travel, and will contact you to let you know. You’ll then have the option of a full refund, or reshuffling your booking.
- It’s advised to book your whale-watching tour for your first available day in Hermanus, so you have extra days set aside in case the tour gets postponed due to poor weather.