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The Whale Route

At the southern tip of Africa, where two of the world's greatest oceans converge, a total experience of land, sea and the rainbow culture of the Western Cape presents The Whale Route, which starts along the south of Cape Town and extends to Durban. The route traverses several famous protected areas, including the Garden Route, Tsitsikamma National Park, and the Transkei. The Route is most famous for encounters with southern right whales, humpback whales, and several coastal dolphin species. You can also see African penguins, Cape fur seals, black oystercatcher birds and a variety of other marine life.

The Whale Route Highlights

The Whale Route also called The Overberg Whale Route is renowned to offer some of the best land based whale watching in the world. It is situated in the Western Cape, along the Cape's southern coastline. Between the months of June through to November each year, these magnificent creatures can be viewed, in some places as close as only a few meters from the shoreline.

Whales, including the Southern Right Whale and the Humpback Whale, are frequently seen along the coastline from Stony point near Betty's Bay, along the cliff paths of Hermanus, (Walker Bay), Kleinmond, Onrus, the De Hoop Nature Reserve and Witsand.

Sun Safaris Says

  • Hermanus or Grootbos Nature Reserve in Gansbaai offer amazing land or boat-based whale watching opportunities.
  • Visitors can also spot Southern Right Whales on the Whale Trail or De Hoop Melkkamer Trail during leisurely walks along the scenic South African coast (July to November).
  • The Whale Route stretches from Doringbaai, south of Cape Town, along the coast to Durban in KwaZulu-Natal (2000km).

Safari Lodges within The Whale Route

The Marine Hotel

The Marine Hotel in Hermanus offers five star luxury and elegance in a spectacular location overlooking the ocean. Breathtaking views extend across Walker Bay or over the beautiful internal courtyard, lush manicured gardens and the Overberg Mountains.

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Birkenhead House

Birkenhead House overlooks the beautiful Walker Bay in Hermanus, the whale capital of South Africa. Guests can expect the ultimate in luxury and elegance with romantic rooms and suites offering a Victorian-feel from an age old era.

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Grootbos Nature Reserve

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve offers 5-star luxury and elegant accommodation in one of the most beautiful areas in South Africa; with some of the best whale watching on the planet the experience is bound to be memorable.

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The Arniston Spa Hotel

The Arniston Spa Hotel offers a spectacular location in the small fishing town of Arniston about 2 hours from Cape Town. Guests can expect 4-star luxury and breathtaking views. Arniston offers peace and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

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Harbour House Hotel

Harbour House offers ultra-modern accommodation in 18 rooms on a self-catering basis overlooking the Old Harbour and Walker Bay in central Hermanus. The rooms are individually decorated with luxury facilities. Only a few minutes walk from the famous cliff path.

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Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa

Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa offers the ultimate in luxury and spa indulgence situated just over an hour's drive from Cape Town in South Africa. The Spa offers world-class facilities combined with luxury and privacy to ensure a unique stay.

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Villa Paradisio

Villa Paradisio is a luxurious family-friendly Victorian-style guest house offering a peaceful garden, large swimming pool combined with warm South African hospitality. Villa Paradisio offers a central location within walking distance of a number of tourist spots.

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Whale Away Guest House

Whale Away Guest House offers modern luxury in the heart of Hermanus. Guests can enjoy some of the best whale watching in the world from the comfort of the veranda at the guest house as well as breathtaking ocean views over Walker Bay.

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Ocean Eleven

Ocean Eleven Guest House offers a beautiful setting overlooking the Walker Bay in Hermanus and has been rated as one of most luxurious places in town. It offers a peaceful setting away from the town centre with luxurious rooms ideal for honeymooners.

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Misty Waves

Misty Waves Boutique Hotel offers luxury sea-facing suites in the heart of Hermanus just a few metres away from the ocean and the legendary cliff path renowned for the best land-based whale watching on the planet. The hotel is romantic and ideal for honeymooners.

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Abalone Guest Lodge

Abalone Guest Lodge is a luxury guest lodge situated on Sievers Point, a landmark beachfront position midway between the Hermanus town centre and beautiful white beaches. Offers visitors the opportunity to whale-watch and enjoy the scenic cliff path.

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Arniston Lodge

Arniston Lodge is a small and intimate Guest Lodge situated in the beautiful town of Arniston along the famous Whale Route Coast. Accommodation is comfortable with en-suite facilities and offers value for money with delicious breakfasts every morning.

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The Potting Shed

The Potting Shed is a charming bed and breakfast situated in the heart of Hermanus renowned for their scrumptious breakfasts and friendly hosts. The Potting Shed is a 1920’s Cape Cottage style home combined with an African Theme.

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Villa Blu

Villa Blu is a small guest house offering 4-star luxury in the peaceful suburb of Voëlklip in Hermanus. Blue flag-status beaches are only a few minutes walk away from the guest house making it the ideal destination for a perfect beach holiday.

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Hermanus Lodge On The Green

Hermanus Lodge on the Green is a small luxury guest house offering intimacy and privacy in a relaxed environment with the emphasis on personalized service. Situated overlooking the 25th green of the Hermanus Golf Course with the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in the background.

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Schulphoek Guest House

Schulphoek Guest House is a small luxury sea front guesthouse situated in the protected sanctuary of Schulphoek Bay in Sandbaai, just outside the beautiful town of Hermanus. Guests at Schulphoek can enjoy breathtaking ocean views and luxurious accommodation.

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Bluegum Country Estate

Bluegum Country Estate offers a peaceful location in a beautiful valley just outside the small town of Stanford, 20 minutes from Hermanus. Guests have the privilege of exploring this pristine 130 acre working farm and vineyard ideal for a romantic getaway.

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Auberge Burgundy

The Auberge Burgundy is situated in the heart of the vibrant seaside town of Hermanus overlooking the historic Old Harbour promising magnificent views over Walker Bay. The bustling craft market and a variety of world-class restaurants are on the hotel’s doorstep.

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138 Marine Guest House

138 Marine Guest House offers luxury and charm with breathtaking sea views in the small town of Hermanus known to offer the best land-based whale watching in the world. Approximately 1 hour away from Cape Town International airport.

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Hermanus Beach Villa

Hermanus Beach Villa is owner run and offers 4-star guest house accommodation in the picturesque and quiet suburb of Voëlklip in Hermanus, the heart of the Cape Whale Coast Route in South Africa.

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The Whale Route on display

The Whale Route Tourist Attractions

Hermanus is known as the 'Whale Capital' and offers the best land-based whale watching in the world; each year hundreds of whales migrate here and can be seen only a few meters from the shoreline. The best time to view whales is during the months of August, September and October; however the whales start arriving in July and can be seen well into December.

The region offers visitors a variety of sights and attractions that is well worth a visit. Hermanus is known as the heart of The Whale Route and offers visitors the ideal holiday destination. The yearly Whale Festival has become one of the most famous tourist attractions in South Africa. The area offers beautiful nature reserves, magnificent mountain ranges, rocky cliffs and long white sandy beaches.

Seasons and Climate

Situated between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, The Western Cape offers a Mediterranean climate with little rain in summer and approximately 11 hours a day of sunshine or more and long sunny evenings with magnificent sunsets.

Winters are usually cold and wet with a few pleasant days in between and summers are warm with temperatures in December to February ranging between 20 and 32 degrees Celsius. During the winter months of June through to August average temperatures are between 7 to 20 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is moderate throughout the year; however most of the rain can be expected during the winter months.

Top Destinations

Arabella Hotel and Spa is situated only 15 minutes outside Hermanus and hosts a championship golf course as well as an international award winning Spa. The hotel offers luxurious accommodation, delectable cuisine and superb service.

The Marine Hotel situated on top of the cliffs along the beautiful coastline in Hermanus; it promises magnificent sea and mountain views. It is a proud member of Relais & Chateaux, which has secured its position on the stage of world-class hotels.

How to Get there

Air The closest airport is Cape Town International Airport. Sun Safaris can arrange scheduled flights for guests from most major airports to Cape Town. Many international flights fly directly into Cape Town however guests may have a stopover in Johannesburg (at OR Tambo International Airport). Once guests arrive at Cape Town airport, they have a choice between a self-drive holiday (rental car) and a private road transfer. Sun Safaris can arrange these services for guests.

Land The Whale Route is accessible from anywhere in South Africa. All roads are tarred and in good condition. The drive time will depend on where guests are driving from. Self-driving along The Whale Route is an ideal way of exploring this beautiful region. Sun Safaris can arrange a rental car for guests.

The Whale Route Price Guide Enquiry



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