Whale watching excursion from Gansbaai

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Activity Snapshot

Fitness level: Everybody welcome
Duration: 2 hrs
Spoken languages: English
Cancellation policy: moderate More info
Opening seasons:

Activity description

A typical trip will have you exploring the magnificent coastline and bay while looking for whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and seabirds. Apart from the Southern Right Whales, you'll be able to view Brydes Whales, Humpback Whales and possibly even Great White Sharks. There are many Cape Fur Seals, African Penguins, Dolphins, Sunfish and plenty of coastal marine birds to be seen whilst out at sea.

Before each trip, a brief, informative talk is given on what animals to look out for and the route you'll be taking. Each passenger is fitted with a reliable life jacket to ensure safety. On each trip, you drink a toast to “The Whales” in iced water. You'll launch from the fishing harbour of Gansbaai and travel along the Cliffs of De Kelders towards the Plaat beach.

The team wants guests to have a fun yet educational experience. All trips have proficient marine guides on board to answer your questions and share their vast knowledge of the ocean and its creatures with you. The objective is to adhere to responsible tourism guidelines and the emphasis of all trips is on the conservation and welfare of these magnificent animals. Ivanhoe Sea Safaris offer unique trips that give you the ability to observe some of the ocean’s biggest and enigmatic inhabitants in their natural surroundings.

Whale Watching Trips - (June To December)
The whale-watching trips take place from June to December however, should the whales change their migration schedule (arrive early and leave later) the schedule will be adjusted accordingly. Generally the trip last 2 hrs, but can be longer depending on how quickly the whales are found.  

At the start of the season there are 2 daily launches at 10 am and 1 pm, in the main season (Aug-Sep-Oct) there's an extra trip in the morning with a 7 am launch and then from September onwards an extra trip in the afternoon either 3:30 pm or if a good sunset is forecasted a trip at 5 pm. The 5 pm trip is truly a magnificent experience watching the whales bask in the shallow waters as well as experiencing a stunning Walker Bay sunset.

Offer Description

What you could see
While no two trips are ever the same, from years of experience the team has come to expect the sight of whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and an array of coastal marine fish and birds.

Although sightings of the Southern Right Whales have decreased in the past two years, there are more sightings of Brydes and Humpback Whales than ever before. The dolphin sightings are awe-inspiring and include the mischievous Bottlenose Dolphins, the spirited Common Dolphins as well as endangered Humpbacked Dolphins. The Cape Fur Seal population is ever increasing and you are sure to see these and perhaps even a Great White shark.

While sightings of any particular species cannot be guaranteed, there are species found in the Bay at certain times of the year, which gives a good indication of the likelihood of their occurrence. Remember, this is a guideline founded on experience; animals are being observed in their natural surroundings so no guarantees can be given on any species

Dolphins
Dolphins can be seen in the Bay all year round. The playful Common Dolphins live in pods and they will often follow boats for the duration of the trip. The Humpback Dolphins are a little less playful and somewhat shy. They are not known to interact much with the boats and they are highly endangered. You will recognize them by the hump they have just below their back fin.  Everyone’s favoured dolphin is by far the Bottlenose Dolphin. These dolphins are the largest of the dolphin species and they are usually seen jumping and surfing in the waves.

Cape Fur Seals
Cape Fur Seals can be seen in the Bay all year round. The Cape Fur Seals get their name from their heavy pelt. The male Cape Fur Seal can grow to over 2m in length and weighs a hefty 200 – 300kgs. Females are a little smaller, growing to roughly 1.5m in length and weighing in at an impressive 50 – 75kgs. The female Cape Fur Seals give birth between the middle of November and the end of December. Each female will only birth one pup.

Bryde's Whales
These whales can often be seen in the Bay all year round. These whales are fast moving and can grow to be up to 14m in length and weigh a bulky 13 tons. They are most often seen in small pods of 5 or 6 whales.

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whales can be seen in the Bay from June to December (whale watching season). Humpback whales get their name from the hump they have on their backs.  They can grow up to 15m in length and weigh in at a staggering 35 – 45 tons. They are often seen jumping out of the water and showing off.

Southern Right Whales
Southern Right Whales can be seen in the Bay from June to December (whale watching season). The Southern Right Whales are slow moving and can reach up to 16m in length. The female Southern Right Whales give birth in the Bay from July to November. The numbers of the Southern Right Whales have increased since the curbing of commercial whaling, every year you can see more and more of them playing and uniting in the Bay.

Minke Whales
The Minke Whales can intermittently be seen in the Bay. They are the slightest of the Baleen Whales growing to roughly 10m in length and weighing in at approximately 3 tons. These whales have a distinctive look, with long flippers with light white stripes running along them. They are inquisitive and will often approach the vessel. They will good-naturedly swim past the boat or cause almighty splashes by breaking clear of the water in close proximity to the boat.

Orcas
Orcas can intermittently be seen in the Bay. Orcas are actually the largest of the dolphin species and have been found to be very friendly towards people. The male Orcas can grow up to 8m in length weighing in at approximately 8 tons. They can often be seen jumping out of the water or gently floating belly up.

False Killer Whales
The False Killer Whales can intermittently be seen in the Bay. The False Killer Whales are slightly smaller than the Orca and are a little darker in colour. The male False Killer Whales can grow up to 5.5m in length and weigh in at approximately 2 tons.

Sharks
A wide variety of sharks can be found in the Bay. Besides Great White Sharks, you can also intermittently encounter Ragged Tooth Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks as well as Mako Sharks.

The African Penguin
The African Penguin is often referred to as the jackass penguin, a name they get from the sound they make. The African Penguin is relatively small growing to approximately 70cm in height and weighing roughly 4.4kgs. They spend nearly all of their day at sea and huddle together to keep warm.

Coastal Marine Birds
- African Black Oyster Catcher
- Albatros
- Cape Cormorant
- White-breasted Cormorant
- Cape Gannet
- Kelp Gull

Course of events

Departure Times

Early Peak Months ONLY - AUG/SEP/OCT/NOV: 7:30 am 
Morning: 10 am 
Afternoon: 1pm 
Sunset (peak): 3:30pm

Special terms

Children under 5 get to go for FREE!

A Cape Town pick-up service is available at an additional fee of R650 PP. Please contact your instructor after the booking is confirmed to organize the pick-up.

Included
  • Comfortable boat
  • Expert guide
Do not forget to bring
  • Warm clothing
  • Hat or cap
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen
  • Video Camera / Camera
100% secure payments
by credit card or Paypal
Meeting point
Ivanhoe Sea Safari's: 3 Hawe Weg, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa Get directions

Cancellation policy

Cancellation 10 days or more prior to the agreed activity date
You will be automatically refunded for the full amount for the activity
10 days
Cancellation between 4 and 10 days prior to the agreed activity date
You are entitled to a 50% refund
4 days
Cancellation 4 days or later prior to the agreed activity date
No refund will be possible
Weather Guarantee
Regardless of the date, if the activity is cancelled due to bad weather conditions, you will be offered a refund or the chance to reschedule

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Magnifique activité. Équipage passionné et totalement respectueux des cétacés et autres espèces.