The Great Migration

Posted by Leon.

It’s a wildlife experience that can be enjoyed in many different regions, but why is whale watching in South Africa so special? - It is one of the premier destinations you can head to with a great chance of encountering these gentle giants of the oceans. With a vast array of whale watching activities by land, sea or air – there’s without doubt an experience to suit everyone’s bucket list.

Whale watching season coincides with winter in South Africa, starting as early as May but it really starts to make a splash around late June and early July, stretching until late November. This is when the majority of migrating pods, with the main species being Southern Right and Humpback Whales, travel up from the cold waters of the Antarctic, heading north along the eastern coast of Southern Africa as they go in search of warmer waters to breed and also calve. The migratory route through South African waters isn’t just in one direction, whales will make their way south back towards the nutrient rich waters of the Antarctic right the way through to late November.

The whales’ migration northwards also coincide in some months with the Sardine Run which happens between May and July where billions of South African sardine spawn in the cool, nutrient rich waters of the Agulhas Banks before heading northwards in search of warmer waters – a remarkable sight to behold in itself. Especially with super-pods of whales and dolphins as well as sharks and diving birds following and feasting on the immeasurable number of sardines.

Southern Right Whale

Peak time: July - September

Mossel Bay offers several boat-based whale watching charters and yachts where you can get the chance to get really close to these majestic animals or you can get a birds-eye view from the air via Helicopter with Mossel Bay Helicopters.

Our beachfront apartments also gives you the opportunity to view them in the distance and if lucky, you get to see them come really close to shore.

There are some resident whale species that can be seen year-round such as Bryde’s and even occasionally Orca, as well as bottlenose and humpback dolphins (yes, you even get humpback dolphins - a regular sight in Diaz and Santos Beach).

Humpback Whale