Whale watching from Chapman's Peak Drive

Tuesday, 29 August 2017 12:12
Whale watching from Chapman's Peak Drive
16.13 km
Wind Direction
0.04 km/h
Updated 4/18/2021 05:07:50
Maintenance in Progress, information may not be accurate!

Whale Watching from Chappies

One of the most incredible wildlife experiences on the planet happens like clockwork off our Cape Town shores.  Our gorgeous destination becomes the temporary home of migratory whales who come to our shores to feed and to calve.   This seasonal migration takes place from June - November with September usually being the peak period.

South Africa has amongst the best land-based whale watching in the world, but it is also worth getting up close and personal on a boat based whale watching excursion.  Seeing these marine giants in their natural environment is one of the most spectacular wildlife displays on the planet.  You will be in awe at the elegance and Raw power and energy as these huge creatures perform water acrobatics.  To put the whales size into perspective,  a Southern Right Whale is about the size of 8 elephants!

Whale Watching from #Chappies - whale identification

Do you know your whales?  Can you tell the difference between a Southern Right Whale and a Humpback?  These are the 2 most common whale visitors to our shores but look out for the Bryde's whale as well and use this handy guide to help identify the whale you have spotted.

Southern Right whale – Eubalaena australis.

These Whales are baleen whales. They can easily be identified by the massive callosities (wart-like looking bumps!) on their big broad heads and massive tail flukes. They are usually a uniformly dark colour. They have no fins on their backs. The easiest way to spot a SRW is by their V-shaped blow.
Interesting fact Male Southern Right Whales have (arguably),  the largest testicles in the animal kingdom: each testicle weighing about 500kg. Several males mate with a female and fertilization is achieved by the largest sperm count!

Humpback whale – Megaptera novaeangliae.

These Whales are also baleen whales and are beautiful blue-black in colour. Their tails are especially striking with contrasting white undersides and dark on top.  They also have unusually long, often white, pectoral fins which contrast with the black upper body.   They have knobby heads,  and  a small dorsal fin about two thirds of the way down their body and a gradual sloping hump, which is more noticeable when they dive - hence their name.  Their blowhole can spray a big bushy balloon of spray about 3 metres into the air.
Interesting fact
Male Humpback whales produce complex songs, sometimes lasting 10 to 20 minutes long. These whale songs are often repeated for hours at a time, and are believed to be a mating call to attract females. 

Bryde’s whale – Balaenoptera edeni.

These whales , sometimes called Southern Minke Whales,  are also baleen whales.  They are medium to small size for whales and have a long sleek body which is dark grey in colour with a lighter underbelly.    They have a prominent erect, hooked dorsal fin as a distinguishing feature (about three quarters of the way down their backs). Their tail flukes rarely break the surface of the water and they are more easily identified but their broad head with many grooves.  They are less acrobatic and usually travel alone!
Interesting fact: Bryde’s Whales can reach depths of up to 300m while diving and can stay submerged up to a maximum of 20 minutes!

Whale Behaviour's to watch

  • Blowing – the sound the whale makes when expelling air through its blowhole, which is accompanied by a spout of condensed water vapour; this is the normal breathing pattern of the mammal
  • Breaching – the whale leaps out of the water and falls back in with a large splash; whales can breach three to eight times in succession and the behavior is believed to be a means of communication, exercise or possibly to scratch the parasites off that live on them.
  • Lobtailing – the whale slaps its fluke or tail on the water, causing a loud sound; again, it is believed to be a means of communication.
  • Spy hopping – the whale lifts its head and body vertically, as far as the flippers, above the surface, which allows it to see what is happening around it above water.

Report sightings to the Whale Watch Hotline: 079 391 2105

There's never been a better time than whale-watching season to register as a frequent user on #Chappies.  Take advantage of the progressive discounts to enjoy the 2017 whale watching season from #Chappies.  Registration is free, CLICK HERE to download form and return it with your contact details, identification and your vehicle registration number.

At the plaza select your method of payment (personal credit card or Frequent User card with preloaded credits). You will be registered in the system immediately and drive off to start your discounted travel on Chappies.

Chapman’s Peak Drive Toll Plaza Office Hours:

The Toll Plaza is open Monday - Friday from 08h00 - 17h00 for registration as a Frequent User.
Address: Toll Plaza, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Hout Bay, Cape Town
Plaza Tel: 021 791 8220

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About Chapman's Peak Drive

  • Chapman’s Peak Drive toll road winds its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast on the south-western tip of South Africa. Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world.

    Chapman’s Peak Drive is affectionately known as #Chappies.