Spotting a whale … or two or three can be the highlight of anyone’s visit to the Overberg coastal region especially during the whales’ breeding season. Several of the coastal towns and villages offer excellent land-based whale watching sites, while many boating companies take visitors out deep-sea to experience the whales in their own environment.
The most common sighting of whales along this coast are Southern Right and Humpback. The occasional Killer Whale has been spotted and of course the ever present dolphins should also get a mention, as they frolic in the waves alongside the whales.
The Southern Right whales were actively hunted in the past bringing them to the brink of extinction. Ruins of these whaling stations are scattered along the coast - a sad reminder to bygone times. Since under international protection, whale numbers have increased dramatically providing South Africa, in particular the Western Cape, with boundless tourism opportunities.
The Southern Right and Humpback Whales can be seen from various spots along the Overberg coast when they come into the bays to mate and give birth from July. Here they stay nurturing their young until December/January when they head off into deeper waters. Towns like Hermanus celebrate the arrival of the whales with a Whale Festival. Home to South Africa’s only “whale cryer” gives the festival an added bonus.
Whale watching is a treat that many locals and tourists enjoy in season as the coastal towns of the Overberg become a hive of activity.