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Western Cape Dolphin & whale watching

Our most recommended Western Cape Dolphin & whale watching

Hermanus: Whale and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

1. Hermanus: Whale and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

Discover Hermanus, one of the best destinations for watching marine mammals, on a boat trip with a whale specialist guide. Sail to areas that receive seasonal visits from southern right and humpback whales along with year-round sightings of Bryde’s whales and dolphins. Enjoy refreshments onboard. Sail on a purpose-built catamaran ensures maximum passenger comfort and spectacular viewing opportunities. During the tour, the crew is on hand to make sure everyone has a great experience, from helping get the perfect photo to serving complimentary light refreshments. The guide, a whale specialist, will interpret the marine life encountered en route and provide insight into the behavior of the whales while the action is taking place. The expert videographer will ensure the best footage is captured.

Cape Town: Pre-Sunset Champagne Cruise

2. Cape Town: Pre-Sunset Champagne Cruise

A pre-sunset Champagne cruises is an extremely popular cruise, ideal for families with kids who find the regular sunset cruise too late. Whilst out on the water you can watch the sun sink into the horizon and enjoy the “golden hour”, which makes for stunning photos. You'll be presented with fantastic views over the entire city of Cape Town, as well as the always impressive Table Mountain. Aboard your vessel, you will be welcome to enjoy a glass of complimentary sparkling wine which will be accompanied by commentary from the crew whilst on board the boat. This cruise is the second-last of the day, and returns to the V&A Harbour prior to the final sunset Champagne cruise.

Cape Town: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

3. Cape Town: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

Enjoy a one-hour scenic coastal cruise aboard a luxury power catamaran. The vessel will take you from the historic V&A Waterfront area on an adventure out to sea. Throughout the cruise, you'll travel along the Atlantic coastline to the Green Point Lighthouse before then traveling back to the harbor. With spectacular mountain and city views, the cruise provides perfect ocean views over many of Cape Town’s splendors. Your one-hour cruise operates daily, with regular departures from Quay 5. With a cash bar on board for refreshments as well as great service, this is a trip not to be missed.

Hermanus: Boat Based Whale Watching Experience

4. Hermanus: Boat Based Whale Watching Experience

Board your vessel for the day and receive a safety briefing before starting your whale watching adventure. In good weather conditions travellers will be allowed on the top-deck before departure for great unobstructed views, otherwise they will be allowed on top only after the whales have been found. Travel out onto the ocean taking in great views as you go.  Once the whales have been spotted, the vessel is allowed to move closer to the whales where it stops and the engines disengage is to prevent the whales from being injured by the propellers. Experience for yourself the astonishment of being so close to these majestic creatures.  As the whales are curious creatures, they might move up to the vessel for some 'people watching'. See a variety of other marine wildife such as dolphins and seals as you coast along the water. As you travel through the day and spot these beautiful creatures learn more about them from your crew, before they take you back to land after a once in a lifetime experience. 

Knysna: Dolphin Watching and Garden Route Coastline Cruise

5. Knysna: Dolphin Watching and Garden Route Coastline Cruise

Experience the three most iconic sites of Knysna on a 1.5-hour eco cruise of the Knysna estuary. Cruise along the rugged headlands and encounter the abundant marine life of the coastal waters.  Navigate the amazing estuary and pass the picturesque Knysna Heads. Venture further out into the expansive Indian Ocean to look for dolphins, seals, penguins, and Bryde's whales in their natural environment. Learn more about the geological features and wildlife you encounter for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

6. Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

Visit the Dyer Island ecosystem and have the opportunity to spot the Marine Big 5: whales, sharks, seals, dolphins, and penguins. Every year from June to December, the southern right whales arrive to mate and calve.  Witness mating displays, breaching, tail slapping, spy-hopping and more. You may also see Bryde’s whales, humpback whales, the elusive humpback dolphin and the common dolphin. An incredible array of seabirds and a sighting of the almost 60,000-strong Cape fur seal colony on Geyser Rock is guaranteed as the boat cruises down the famous Shark Alley. An onboard marine biologist will be on hand to teach you more about the amazing animals that visit these shores. On the day of your trip, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cape Town or Hermanus, if you have selected an option with transfers included. Upon arrival in Gansbaai, enjoy coffee/tea and muffins while listening to a dedicated safety briefing.  Once you're fitted with inflatable life jackets and wet-weather gear, take a 200-meter stroll down to the harbor to board the whale-watching vessel. Time spent out at sea on average is two hours depending on sea conditions and marine life activity.  Upon return to land, receive an informative debrief while enjoying warm soup and bread. Professional trip footage is also available to purchase after the trip so that you can have a permanent memory of your sightings.  If you have chosen the option with transfers from Cape Town, a visit to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary is also included on your way back. You'll see the important efforts being made to rehabilitate injured and sick animals.

Plettenberg Bay: Guided Sea Kayak Tour

7. Plettenberg Bay: Guided Sea Kayak Tour

After a thorough briefing on kayaking techniques and safety, paddle from Central Beach and back. The direction will be dependant on winds, swells and paddling abilities. The knowledgeable guide will explain the wonders of the ocean, as you take in the views of the Tsitsikamma mountains and the Robberg Nature Reserve. Enjoy sightings of Cape fur seals, bottlenose and humpback dolphins, whales (July – October), cormorants, and other sea birds and marine mammals. Whatever time of the year, this is an experience not to be missed by beginners and experienced kayakers alike.

Cape Town: V&A Waterfront Champagne Cruise

8. Cape Town: V&A Waterfront Champagne Cruise

Head to Cape Town's iconic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for an unforgettable cruise along the Atlantic coastline. Soak up the sun on the spacious trampolines in the foredeck or get comfortable on the cushions under the roofed area. Sip your complimentary glass of champagne as you take in spectacular views of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range. Keep an eye out for the marine life in the waters around Cape Town, including seals, dolphins, penguins, and even whales.

Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

9. Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

Launch from the quaint fishing harbor of Gansbaai and travel along the cliffs of De Kelders. Enter a nature reserve with the highest concentration of whales in South Africa. Look for southern right whales in their natural environment, along with dolphins, Cape fur seals and sharks. Keep an eye out for humpback, minke and Bryde's whales frolicking in the ocean. Catch a glimpse of the beautiful orcas, False killer whales and enchanting African penguins. Return back to the harbor at the end of your boating adventure.

Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

10. Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

Climb aboard and look for marine life in the ecosystem of Table Bay on a 1.5-hour eco-cruise from Cape Town. See species in their natural surroundings, such as humpback and southern right whales, depending on the season. Get the chance to watch pods of dolphins breaching close to the boat and marvel at their acrobatic displays. Be enchanted by Cape fur seals lounging on the jetties and get close to unusual species, such as sunfish. Watch African penguins diving for fish to take back to their breeding colony on Robben Island.  Encounter birdlife, such as terns, gannets, cormorants and mighty black-browed albatross.

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What people are saying about Western Cape

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 105 reviews

My daughter was temporarily in a wheelchair. They carried her down the gangway and onto the catamaran and stored the wheelchair. And same getting off. Really helpful. They let my eldest daughter drive the boat and it was the best thing she did the whole holiday. It was a lovely day - warm weather and calm seas which helps. We saw seals dolphins and penguins but if you want to see more fish they recommend first or last thing. we took a 1.30 cruise. On board the vibe was awesome. Beer and champers (ZAR extra) free flowing, good tunes, and energy. Recommend getting there 25mins early and starting a line so that you get pick of your seats. Sushi was delicious too!

The tour was a wonderful experience! We saw a lot of dolphins and seals. Later we even saw a baby whale with its mother (out of season). A real dream! Especially when you keep in mind how rare these animals have unfortunately become or they are threatened with extinction because of us.

A really great tour with a great Ripboat. The guides “read” the feeding spots of the dolphins from the birds on the water. We saw seals, dolphins, penguins and even a Bryd whale out of season. Great guides, highly recommended!

Loved it every apprehensive but such a wonderful experience and would definitely do it again. Very safety conscious.

The experience was awesome, I am more than willing to do it again.