The Cape Whale Route stretches along the Indian Ocean from Gordon's Bay to Gansbaai - a spectacular, rugged coastline flanked by towering fynbos mountains. The two most popular destinations along this route are Hermanus, famous for its whale watching, and Gansbaai, the great white shark capital of the country. Along with these two hot spots there are many other quaint and picturesque seaside villages to explore, and a long list of exciting outdoor adventures to pursue.
Every June to October sees the arrival of the Southern Right Whales in the clear waters of Walker Bay to mate and give birth to their calves. It is a privilege to have them grace the town with their presence and a rare and memorable migration to witness. These gentle giants can be seen every day during this season and often dozens of whales are spotted in and around the bay as they breach and laze around.
The 12 kilometers of clifftop pathways offer some of the most incredible sites from which to indulge in land-based whale watching - a magical marine wildlife experience. For those who would like to experience an added adventure there is the option of taking a whale watching boat tour.
The annual Hermanus Whale Festival takes place in September every year and is a celebration of the arts and the whales, a busy program of activities and festivities. Hermanus is also home to the only Whale Crier in the world who monitors the bay and blows a series of codes on his kelp horn to signal when the whales arrive in the bay and exactly where they are located. Besides the Southern Right Whales Walker Bay is often frequented by dolphins, Bryde's and Humback whales, as well as the occasional Orca.
For those wanting a change from the ocean for a morning or afternoon, the Hemel and Aarde Valley Wine Route offers a great escape and scenery to take your breath away. Hermanus is full of delightful shops and wonderful restaurants to complete a great family holiday destination.
Hermanus is about 125km from Cape Town - a scenic one and a half hour's drive.
Gansbaai is situated about 170km from Cape Town and is home to Great White Shark adventures. These waters have some of the largest shark populations in the world, largely due to the presence of 50 000 plus Cape Fur Seals at Dyer Island, just off the coast. Visitors flock to Gansbaai to fulfill a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list dream of swimming with these prehistoric Great White Sharks in the big blue.
Research tells us that there are less than 5000 of these mysterious apex predadtors left in the world and the conservation and protection of them is vital for their survival. Although there are always sharks present in this area the best months to view them is between June and September when water visibility is high and many migrating sharks visit Dyer Island, where food is plentiful. Most commercial shark cage diving takes place just a few kilometers south of of Gansbaai at a well-known site called Shark Alley - a narrow channel of water that runs between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, known as a Great White hunting ground.
Besides spotting the mysterious Great White Sharks, whale sightings are common, as are encounters with pods of exhuberant dolphins. Dyer Island is a hub of marine bird activity and you can see the Jackass Penguin, Kelp Gulls, Bank Cormorants and rare Black Oyster Catchers on the rocks and the surrounding waters.
Once your thirst for adrenalin has been quenched you will be pleasantly surprised by the many other attrations in this area, include hiking, sea kayaking, quad biking, golfing and horse riding. The Arabella Country Club is a world class 27 hole luxurious golfers dream, while the 6 day Whale Trail offers one of the best slack packing tours along the spectacular coastline. The Koggelberg Biosphere, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and the De Hoop Nature Reserve are amazing examples of the pristine and unique Cape Floral Kingdom and offer the beauty of local fauna and flora with views of the endless ocean. The beaches are beautiful, the mountains are majestic, the nature is pristine and the adventure is waiting.
Use the Google map to explore Cape Whale Route. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.