Whale and Dolphin watching experience in Plettenberg Bay

Whales, Dolphins and porpoises are abundant in Plettenberg bay with sightings throughout the year. The winter months favour whale watching and there are few places around the world that offer better boat based whale watching experiences so close to the shore than Plettenberg Bay.

The summer months favour Dolphin sightings and large schools of dolphin are often sighted alongside the boats or surfing the waves.

Whale watching Season in Plettenberg Bay

The majesty of these magnificent creatures of the deep cannot be truly appreciated until you have seen them up close and very personally. Plettenberg Bay offers some of South Africa’s best whale watching experiences.

There is something quite awe inspiring about seeing the enormous tails and flippers of whales slam the ocean surface and watching the spout rush into the air.

Boat based whale watching is the best way to see the whales and from experienced operators in Plettenberg Bay, you will get to experience them in all their glory.

When is whale watching season?

June to September is the official whale watching season and your chances of seeing the world’s largest mammals put on a magnificent show are very high during this season. It is not uncommon to see Humpback Whales, Southern Right Whales and Bryde’s Whales along with dolphins, porpoises and if you are very lucky, the occasional orca.

Whales migrate to the warmer waters of the Cape Coast from the Antarctic to mate and calve making the experience of seeing whales with their calves and especially beautiful experience.

How long is a whale watching excursion?

Boat based whale watching tours (https://oceanadventures.co.za/) are between 1.5 and 2 hours and are run several times a day weather dependent.

Whale watching tour operators offer rescheduling or exchange for a different land based tour in the event of unfavorable sea conditions.

One of the exciting parts of the excursion is the boat launch from the beach. This is a very exciting way to launch a boat and never fails to impress.

Can you see whales from the land in Plettenberg Bay?

Whales are often seen from the land in Plettenberg Bay, the best place to sight whales being the Robberg Nature Reserve but a whale watching experience is undoubtedly the best way to see whales.

You are also likely to see dolphins, seals and sharks from the lookout points along the Robberg Nature Reserve trail.

What to take on your Whale watching tour
Out at sea the weather and conditions can be a little unpredictable and for this reason it is recommended that you take along the following items. (Life jackets and raincoats are provided)

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat/cap
  • Wind breaker
  • Sunglasses (polarized provide the best viewing experience)
  • Camera (in a waterproof case if you have one)
  • Comfortable shoes (flip flops are not recommended)
  • Southern Right Whale

The Southern Right Whale is listed as an endangered species and is found throughout the Southern Hemisphere.

They have no dorsal fin, wide flippers and large heads covered with callosities. They are typically black with white patches on their bodies and lower jaws.

Southern Right Whales will frequently breach. It is a truly magnificent sight to see a 60 ton creature breach the water and splash down playfully.

Bryde’s Whales

Bryde’s whales are the more common type that do not have “teeth” per se, but have a baleen plate to filter large numbers of very small fish and plankton. They have enormous mouth’s and it is a magnificent sight to see the whales breach when feeding. Their enormous jaws open to take in large amounts of water and tiny creatures, then close their jaws and filter out the water, trapping the creatures inside the mouth.

Dolphin encounters

Dolphins are frequently seen surfing the waves at Robberg beach along with the surfers and enjoying the magnificent blue waters of the area. Large schools will come up alongside the boats providing once in a lifetime opportunities to see and experience these majestic creatures close up and in person.

The pure joy of watching one of the oceans most intelligent and majestic creatures is something to behold. Dolphins are very sociable and inquisitive so it is not uncommon for them to swim close up alongside the boat, offering you a unique experience that you will cherish for life.

Where do the boats leave from?

Boats for both the whale watching and dolphin encounters leave from the Central beach in Plettenberg Bay.

How much does it cost to go whale watching?

Costs may vary from operator to operator and the rates below are 2023 rates.

Adults R650
Children R340

Book a whale watching and Dolphin encounter

If your trip to Plettenberg Bay is between 30 June 2023 and 9 July 2023 we highly recommend a visit to the Knysna Oyster Festival (https://knysnaoysterfestival.co.za/) just a short drive away, to close out your day with an incredible Oyster feast.

Whale watching gallery