The gorgeous coastal town known as Hermanus is internationally renowned for its whale-watching opportunities and tours. Whale watching has become a popular activity in South Africa. Every year thousands of tourists, both international and South-African flock to this quaint and tranquil holiday destination for exactly this reason. Hermanus is also known and recognised by the Worldwide Fund for Nature as one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world.

Hermanus whale-watching tours

When visiting Hermanus, do not miss the life-changing experience of observing whales in their prime. If you are not sure where, how and when keep reading as we discuss the top 5 Hermanus Whale-Watching tours:

Southern Right Charters

Southern right charters Hermanus whale watching.

Meeting point: Hermanus New Harbour, Southern Right Charters: The Whale Shack,

Operating: June to December 

Trip duration: 1h30 to 3hrs

Southern Right Charters are professional whale-watching tour operators. They are dedicated to whale conservation and have been permitted to approach the whales up to 50 metres and then stay to observe them. Sometimes, if you are lucky, a whale might even approach the boat. Species you might encounter include Southern Right Whales, Humpback & Bryde’s whales, Dolphins, Seals, and a large variety of seabirds including the African penguin.

Your trip will start with a whale specialist guide giving you an on-land briefing. Since the trip will commence on board a catamaran, you will have superior viewing and comfort as you set off on this adventure! The whale specialist guide will interpret the marine life you encounter on your trip and ultimately provide you with whale behaviour insight. A professional videographer will also be on board to capture the best footage of you interacting with these gentle giants. Your video will be available to purchase at the end of your trip.

Whale Watchers

A Southern Right Whale coming out of the water while on a tour in Hermanus whale-watching.

Meeting point: Hermanus New Harbour

Operating: June to December 

Trip duration: 1h30 to 2hrs

Departure times: 9h00, 11h00, 14h00 and 16h00 (influenced by weather and tide conditions)

Hermanus Whale Watchers in South Africa is a boat-based whale watching company that provides an exhilarating up-close and personal encounter with Southern Right Whales in their natural environment. Other beautiful sea creatures you are likely to come across during your trip include Cape Fur Seals, charming bottlenose dolphins and pods of common dolphins,  African Penguins that are endangered and usually a large variety of seabirds. Depending on the time of the season you might encounter migrating Humpback Whales or the resident Bryde’s Whales. 

This is also a SATOUR-qualified guided trip, and your guide will present an orientation briefing about the trip, safety and facilities on board as well as the marine wildlife you can expect to encounter. This trip is wheelchair-friendly and includes refreshments. Should the unfortunate event of no sightings occur, Whale Watchers offer you the option to re-book on an alternative trip, free of charge. Full refunds are only applicable for weather-implicated cancellations by the company.

Hermanus Whale Cruises

A picture of a whale above water from Hermanus Whale Cruises.

Meeting point: Hermanus New Harbour

Operating: June to December 

Trip duration: 2hrs

Take an adventure on Hermanus Whale Cruises’ 87-seater boat, which has a top viewing and front viewing deck. The Whale Cruiser is also wheelchair-friendly! Refreshments and snacks are served during the trip. Please note that smoking and alcohol are not permitted during the trip. The whales encountered tend to approach the boat, often as close as 1 metre! If this happens, we are able to remain in position for up to 20 minutes. Should you visit Hermanus out of whale season, but still would like to go on a boat trip, check out Hermanus Whale Cruises’ Eco-Cruises. 

Whale Watching Hermanus

A picture of a whale next to a boat from Whale Watching Hermanus.

Meeting point: Pick up at Hotel, Sir Clarence Drive, Gordon’s Bay

Operating: June to December 

Trip duration: Full Day 

This is a full-day trip from Cape Town to Hermanus with pit stops such as Betty’s Bay and Stoney Point Penguin Colony. When you arrive in Hermanus, you can enjoy a 2-hour, Boat Basted Whale Watching Trip. Thereafter there will be a lunch break at one of the many restaurants in Hermanus, overlooking Walker Bay. After lunch, the tour proceeds with a casual walk along the Cliff Path in Hermanus. We hope to see Southern Right Whales close to the Cliff Path since they are frequent visitors. The tour will conclude with our trip to Cape Town.

Whale Watching Hermanus also offers whale watching flights and other whale watching tours outside of Hermanus, in places like Gansbaai, Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg Bay.

Irina Africa

3 Whales right next to each other coming up out of the water in Hermanus whale-watching.

Meeting point: Cape Town Hotel pick up and drop off

Operating: July-November

Trip duration: 7hr Day Tour

The Irina Africa tour is slightly more pricey since it is a private tour from Cape Town To Hermanus, that can be adapted to your personal preferences. You will be picked up at your hotel, enjoy a scenic drive along the rugged False Bay coast and ultimately partake in a whale-watching boat trip in Hermanus.

People also ask:

Are there currently whales in Hermanus?

Yes, there are! Whale Watching Season in Hermanus, South Africa is from early June until early December.

How much is whale watching in Hermanus?

The price of whale watching trips depends on the type of tour that you are taking but normally costs anywhere between R800 and R5000. Keep in mind, that land tours are much cheaper than boat tours.

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