South Africa’s Whale Coast


South Africa’s coastline is almost 3,000 km long, offering a wonderful variety of experiences. In this series, SA Blog dips a toe in the country’s major destination coasts.

The Whale Coast

  • Where: A small strip of Western Cape coastline southeast of Cape Town, running from Betty’s Bay to Gansbaai, with the seaside resort town of Hermanus at its center.
  • Attractions: Hermanus, which offers “the best land-based whale watching in the world”; hiking in the coastal mountains of the overberg; cage-diving.
  • How to get there… By car: *Best Option* From Cape Town, the quickest way to Hermanus (+/- 3 hours) is to take the N2 over Sir Lowry’s Pass, then take the R43 turnoff. A more scenic route follows the N2 to the R44 turnoff (before Sir Lowry’s Pass) to Gordon’s Bay, which then follows the Whale Coast more or less in its entirety.

    By Baz Bus: Just hop on! The bus links directly to a Hermanus shuttle service. See Baz Bus route map | Book Baz Bus ticket

    If you’re wild’n’crazy: Paraglide! You can hop from site to site, starting in Cape Town, along the whole of the Whale Coast. Click here for more info.

    Or (with at least one travelling companion) take a minibus taxi: A. Proceed to the Cape Town minibus taxi terminus, on the roof of the central train station. B. Ask random people about taxis to Hermanus. C. Hop in and you’re off!

  • Highlights: Undoubtedly the whale season, which runs from late September to early October, when large numbers of southern right whales pay their annual visit. They occupy every coastal nook and cranny from Gansbaai to Cape Town’s False Bay, but Hermanus usually has the most.Apart from whales, the area offers many splendid day hikes (my favourite: the Leopard’s Gorge hike, which starts in Betty’s Bay’s Harold Porter Botanical Garden, in the greater Kogelberg Nature Reserve), perfect outings from Cape Town; and is justly famous for its great white shark cage diving, fishing, rock lobster diving, sailing and other assorted marine activities.
  • More information:
  • Cape Town Tourism

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    Hermanus Whale Festival

    WhaleWatchSA

    Hermanus.co.za

    Danger Point Peninsula

    WhaleCoast.com

    Shark Diving:
    Downhill Adventures (recommended)
    SharkWatchSA (recommended)
    Cape Town Tourism