The whales have arrived! Yes, whale season is here again. And I don’t mean that we Capetonians grab our wellies and harpoons and wage once more the age-old ritual of man against beast, gorging ourselves on fistfuls of blubber come nightfall. We have far too many excellent restaurants for that (a fact reflected in the personal skirmishes of Man v. Blubber, perhaps?) No, we like to take a bottle of wine down to the coast and sip delicately while watching the leviathans frolicking often just metres off shore.
From July through to December thousands of whales head north from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to calve in the relatively warm and sheltered waters of the South African coast, thereby giving us some of the best land-based whale watching in the world. The Southern Rights are the most commonly spotted, but Humpbacks and Minke whales are also around. Hermanus – about two hours scenic drive from Cape Town – is considered the whale capital, with sightings being pretty much guaranteed for any visitor during these months. Most Capetonians prefer to head to one of the beaches with a picnic or on cooler days to one of the many restaurants overlooking the bay.
Or you can take a boat out as some English friends did in the hope of entertaining their young children with a glimpse or two of a grey back sliding through the water. Within minutes they found themselves surrounded by a pod of Southern Rights. Now these are jaw-droppingly huge animals, growing up to 18 metres long and weighing as much as 80 tons. 80 tons! We can only marvel at how on earth these incredible creatures launch themselves out of the water but when not one, but two of them leapt out in unison everyone on the boat was drenched through and instantly addicted. The family bought a book and a pair of binoculars each and were subsequently late for every rendezvous we arranged with them.
Come and see these awesome animals for yourselves and take advantage of some of the fantastic rates available at this time of year. And note below, too, the great deals on flights being offered early next year if you are quick off the mark now. Does it surprise you that Cape Town, yet again, has featured in another round up of the top ten world destinations?