Genet Nature & Birding Tours
would like to introduce you to the wonderful world of whales and dolphins.
Collectively known as cetaceans, these remarkable creatures are found in oceans all over the world, and although numbers have dropped considerably over the years due to commercial whaling, habitat loss and widespread marine pollution, the great whales return in increasing numbers every year to our shores, and the population appears to be healthy and stable.

Hermanus, near Cape Town, has become world famous for arguably the best land-based whale watching in the world. Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis) come here and to other favourite bays around our coast in June each year, to mate and give birth, and also to enjoy the warmer waters as part of their yearly migration from the cold waters of the Southern Ocean. Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), which use our waters as migratory corridors, are becoming more frequent visitors and are sometimes seen here during the whale season, which is best between August and November, although odd out of season animals are periodically recorded throughout the year.

 

There are 81 known species of cetacean
10 of which are the mysticetes or baleen whales, with baleen plates in their mouths in place of teeth, used for sifting krill and other plankton from the water.
The vast majority are odontocetes, or toothed whales. This large group includes all the dolphins and porpoises. There are six species of porpoise, many threatened with extinction.
The largest of the toothed whales is the impressive, highly evolved Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus), which grows up to 18 metres. Sperm Whales live in close-knit family groups or pods, and are socially very similar to elephants. It is a pelagic species, seldom seen from shore.

Southern Africa has an impressive list of cetacean species.
So far, up to 39 species of whales and dolphins have been recorded around our coast. These include the more common inshore species such as Bottlenose (Tursiops aduncus) and Dusky Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus), and we sometimes encounter the rare Heaviside’s Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii), which is endemic to the region and restricted to the cold waters off the West Coast. The shy Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) also occurs along the coast and is sometimes seen close to shore near rocky cliffs.

No porpoises are found in our waters.

 

Genet Natures & Birding Tours would like you to enjoy a superb whale watching experience - preferably during the spring months when whale watching is at its best - or hopefully show you some of the local dolphin species.
Dusky Dolphins
are often seen near the shore during the summer months.
Bryde’s Whales (Balaenoptera edeni) are resident year round and are sometimes encountered on pelagic trips in False Bay. Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) have been observed, but groups that do occur are small and do not spend much time in the area. A sighting of these magnificent cetaceans is a rare occurrence.

White Sharks


© photo copyright: Chris Fallows

False Bay is well known for its breaching white sharks. The sharks tend to frequent Seal Island, which is a large breeding colony for Cape Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus), between April and October each year. Sharks prey almost exclusively on the young seals during this period, and a trip out to Seal Island to see, or even dive with the sharks, is a worthwhile experience. Shark diving and viewing in False Bay can be arranged through Genet Nature & Birding Tours.

Cape Fur Seals are common around our coast. Males are much bigger than females and congregate on the breeding islands during the breeding season between November and December.  Boat trips to see Cape Fur Seals are readily available.

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Please scroll down for info on whales and dolphins... sharks may be lurking in deeper waters too