WHALE WATCH HOTLINE / REPORT A SIGHTING — 079 391 2105
A Whale Of A Heritage Route is a ten-year old tourist and educational initiative funded by the business sector, extending from the Cape Point Route off False Bay, Cape Town to beyond Lambert’s Bay on the Cape West Coast, via the R27, through a portion of the Cape West Coast Biosphere and vice versa. Importantly, the Route follows the journey up the coastline that a significant number of Southern Right Whales from Hermanus/Walker Bay and False Bay take in early Spring, en route to the Southern Ocean, via the Cape West Coast Peninsula (eg: Saldanha, Paternoster, Cape Columbine and St Helena Bay). Indications are that more whales are taking this route when returning to their feeding grounds.
The initiative thus connects Cape Town’s “whale central” ie False Bay, to the Cape West Coast’s “whale central”, namely the Cape West Coast Peninsula. The Route offers great land and boat-based whale watching in season and a large treasure chest of cultural and natural historical attractions to explore year-round. The latter are arranged into ambles, rambles and trails and are suitable for family outings and team-building hunts. An example is our flagship event, the Historic Farmstead Trail which has been extended to include St Helenafontein, the former farm of Pierre Rocher, who once farmed at Imhoff’s Gift at present day Kommetjie.
The twenty three land-based whale watching sites, supported by a year-round reporting and recording system, vary considerably and include some restaurants and accommodation establishments as well as the coastal train on the Cape Peninsula. Some sites offer elevated and in some cases, unparalleled, panoramic views from which to watch whales and dolphins interacting.
Whale viewing sites in alphabetical order are: Blouberg, Camps Bay, Doringbaai, Dwarskersbos, Elandsbaai, False Bay, Hout Bay, Jacobsbaai, Kommetjie, Laaiplek, Lambert's Bay, Langebaan, Llandudno, Noordhoek, Paternoster, Rocher Pan, Saldanha, Scarborough, St Helena Bay, Strandfontein WC, Table Bay, WC National Park and Yzerfontein.
There are licenced boat-based watching opportunities at False Bay, Hout Bay and Table Bay. The boats offer a completely different experience by providing access to whales, dolphins and killer whales off-shore. Large pods of whales and schools of dolphin, not visible from land, are often spotted. Another obvious benefit of a licensed boat is proximity for potentially award-winning photographs.
Scientific research (dd 2002) revealed that a group Southern Right whales of unknown size remain in the historic feeding ground off Paternoster, Cape Columbine, St Helena Bay and Saldanha Bay in summer ie they do not return to the Southern Ocean to feed. Current scientific research shows that Southern Right whales are gradually re-populating the waters off the Cape West Coast Peninsula. Whale spotters in the role of citizen scientists are in a position to confirm these phenomena via their whale sightings reports. Thanks to the Benguela upwelling, the Cape West Coast Peninsula potentially offers year-round whale watching.
With regard to abundance peaks, this occurs in False Bay from September to mid-October and soon after that off the west coast. The west coast abundance peak is accentuated by Humpbacks travelling southwards from as far north as the Equator/offshore Gabon ie back to their feeding grounds.
For further information on where to watch and for the latest sightings and trends either check out the sightings logs (refer panel on left hand side) or, call or sms the whale watch hotline - 079 391 2105.
2.3. The purpose or object of AWOAHR is to promote small and medium-size businesses by integrating them into the marketing of land-based whale watching and self-guided heritage ambles, rambles and trails, whilst simultaneously offering residents and visitors information and educational services on land-based whale watching and heritage sites.
2.4. Activities include:
2.4.1. Educating Junior school children (Junior Whale Spotters) and their families about the magic of live whales and dolphins and how to report their sightings.
2.4.2. Educating Junior school children (Junior Historians) and their families on the value/benefits of historic sites through self-guided trails, ambles, rambles and workshops.
2.4.3. Publishing a whale watch leaflet and an educational poster on whales and dolphins.
2.4.4. Publishing historical walk booklets and leaflets.
2.4.5. Collating and publishing whale and dolphin sightings from various sources.
3.1. Offering a hotline service ito where to watch cetaceans off the Western Cape’s shoreline from False Bay to beyond Lambert’s Bay.
Cape West Coast Peninsula