Hermanus Whale Watching

Hermanus awarded the title of "Whale Watching Capital of the World", and situated on the southern coast of South Africa, region known as the Overberg.

Hurmanus or Gansbaai - Which is best for whale watching

Gansbaai Whale Watching

Gansbaai awarded the title of "Shark Cage Diving Capital of the World", located 45kms further along the coast line in an easterly direction from Hermanus.

Hermanus for Whale Watching - Gansbaai for Shark Cage diving - This is how the areas have been marketed in the past, and the information is miss-leading.

Whilst we all recognize Hermanus as the most popular whale watching destination, and Hermanus is host to the whale festival that takes place on the last weekend of September annually.

Hermanus Whale Festival

Is Hermanus the best place for whale watching?

The answer is NO - Ask any local person, and they will always tell you De Kelders / Gansbaai is the best place for whale watching, either from land or sea.

De Kelders overlooks a Marine Protected Whale Sanctuary, this area was set aside for the whales back in 1996.

During 1996-2000 a number of well known oceanic scientist underwent studies of the whales, this was to establish that boats and humans would not effect and intrude what has now become an internationally protected whale, the Southern Right that was once hunted for its oil.

A code of conduct was set out for permitted boat operators on how to approach the whales so they where not disturbed.

It was recognized in these studies that when the cows have given birth, many of them stayed very close to the shoreline in front of De Kelders and the shoreline known to locals as “The Plaat”.

This part of the coastline offers sandy beaches where the cow can protect and nurture her calf in relative safety from predators.

Whale Watching Area 6 - Gansbaai - South Africa

Since the studies were completed the shoreline over the years has not change.

This is why the Southern Right still returns year on year to De Kelders / Gansbaai, in higher number than any other area on the South African Coastline.

With the exception of De Hoop which is a closed sanctuary for the whales, no boats are allowed, but you can still seem them from land, this area is the main calving grounds for the Southern Right Whale.

Given the fact that Gansbaai is the best place for whale watching, it begs the question why Gansbaai is known for Shark Cage Diving.

Shark boat operators all leave from the harbour of Kleinbaai

NO Shark Boat operator launches from the Gansbaai harbour, and there are strictly no chumming or cage diving permits allocated in Walker Bay or Gansbaai.

Kleinbaai is a 10min drive in an easterly direction around the coast and more commonly known as Pearly Beach.

Kleinbaai harbour - shark boats

7 Shark Boat operators and 2 whale watching permits are allocated in this area.

Again, the whale sighting in this area is not the same as Gansbaai / De Kelders.

Both Gansbaai and Kleinbaai are not comparable when considering whale watching. The conditions for operating are completely different and the water in both harbours can be the complete opposite.

Flat water in Gansbaai, and choppy water in Kleinbaai or the other way round depending on what Mother Nature sends our way.

Do your own research and you will find Hermanus does have more visitors yearly to view the whales, but does this mean it is the best place - It’s the most popular place which is not the same as the best place.


Hermanus Whale Watching - Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

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Hermanus or GansbaaiGansbaai is NOT the best place to view the sharks, it is Kleinbaai.

Only one whale watching operator launches from Gansbaai and that is Ivanhoe Sea Safaris.

We offer a Whale and Shark watching combo, but these are separate trips, in two different boats, in two different areas!