Imagine looking out across the Atlantic Ocean from the boardwalk and you spot a dark figure gliding through the surf in front of you. As more start to appear, you realise that this is your first sighting of a pod of Southern Right whales that have come into the Cape to give birth. Between June and October, this is an everyday spectacle.

The Cape Whale Route is the perfect outdoor family adventure. On this route you’ll check into charming towns like Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Hermanus, Pringle Bay, Stanford and Gansbaai. The route offers some of the best land-based whale watching spots on the planet, but it doesn’t stop there.

The road trip from Betty’s Bay, along the coast towards the other towns on the Cape Whale Route, is an idyllic experience, with the Atlantic Ocean on the one side and mountainous Fynbos terrain on the other. The Fynbos in this region is the epitome of unique as most species exist nowhere else on earth. Travellers will pass through several quaint villages in between the more established towns.

Hermanus is the largest town along the Cape Whale Route, boasting excellent accommodation, restaurants and adventure activities. This beautiful little nook has become particularly famous for its whale watching, so the annual Hermanus Whale Festival is a must do event.

If you want to get up close and personal with these gentle giants of the sea, there are a number of tour operators specialising in whale-watching boat tours.

Once you’ve seen some whales, it’s time to step it up a notch with one of the many additional activities on offer, including hiking, shark-cage diving, sea kayaking, quad biking, parasailing and horse riding.

If golf is more your thing, there are also several golf courses along the Cape Whale Route. Arabella Country Club is famed for its pristine fairways and luxury infrastructure, while the Hermanus Golf Course has become one of the most popular courses in Africa because it offers 27 holes and a variety of challenges for golfers of all levels.

Whatever you’re searching for, the Cape Whale Route certainly offers more than just whales. Having said that, the whales are in the name so it’s worth making sure you spot some along your way.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Hermanus Tourism Bureau
Tel: +27 28 312 2629

How to get here

The Cape Whale Route starts in Betty’s Bay, a 15-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport. Follow the signs from the R44.

Best time to visit

The best months of the year for whale-watching are between June and November.

Tours to do

Take a whale-watching boat tour with Southern Right Charters, a sea kayaking journey with Walker Bay Adventures or a zip lining tour with Hermanus Forest Adventures.

How to get around

Public transport along the Cape Whale Route is very limited, so if you aren’t employing a tour operator, you will need to hire a vehicle. You can do this from Cape Town International Airport or from the Cape Town city centre.

Where to stay

Hermanus is the largest town on the Cape Whale Route, offering the most accommodation options. Hermanus Backpackers is a great option for travellers on a budget, while Misty Waves offers 34 luxury rooms and some excellent ocean views.