whales are the most frequently seen whales within False
Bay. These whales use the extreme coastal waters of
the south western Cape coast , including False Bay,
as calving and nursery grounds and may be seen just
metres from the shore. The whales start arriving in
the bay at the end of May and remain in the region up
until the end of November. Peak month is October. Although
approaching whales from boats within 300 metres is prohibited
in South Africa, many land-based vantage points provide
excellent views of southern right whales.
Other whales that can be seen
within False Bay (although less frequently than southern
right whales) include Bryde's whales, humpback whales
and killer whales. Dolphin species in the region include
bottlenose dolphins on the east side and dusky dolphins
on the west side.
WEST FALSE BAY
The Muizenberg - Simon's Town coastal road, Boyes Drive
above St James and Kalk Bay and the coastal road from
Simon's Town to Cape Point frequently provide outstanding
whale watching on the west side of the bay, with southern
rights often within metres from the shore. In particular
the coastal walkway from Muizenberg to St James (past
Baylie's Cottage), the Kalk Bay Harbour Wall, the walkways
at Fish Hoek including the catwalk can give excellent
views. Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Muizenberg were all sites
of open boat whaling stations in the past.
Boulders Beach, Simon's Town, is also home to a colony
of African Penguins.
EAST FALSE BAY
The coastal road from Gordon's Bay to Cape Hangklip
(the eastern most point of False Bay) provides outstanding
views of southern right wales. Just south of Cape Hangklip
is Stony Point, a historical site of the Hangklip whaling
station and presently also home to a Jackass Penguin
THE ATLANTIC COAST
The coastline from Yzerfontein to Cape Point provides
numerous points from which southern right whales may
be sighted. Other species which may be found in this
region include dusky dolphin, Heaviside's dolphin (which
is endemic to the west coast of southern Africa) and
the occasional sighting of humpback whale slightly further
offshore. The coastal road between Sea Point and Scarborough
takes you through Hout Bay and over Chapman's Peak which
provides one of the finest sea views in the Western
Cape. Good sites for whale spotting can be found all
along this region.
Hout Bay is also home to a seal colony at Duikerklip
just outside the bay. Boat trips to the seals can be
taken from Hout Bay Harbour.
WHALE VIEWING - DIFFERENT BEHAVIOURS
Southern right whales have a variety of behaviours
that can be observed when they are close to shore. For
Breaching: leaping out of the water in an arching back
flip and falling into the water. This may be a form
of play, communication, or an aggressive display. Whales
usually breach four or five times in a row.
Lobtailing: slapping their flukes on the surface, creaing
a sound which carries for a considerable distance.
Spyhopping: standing vertically with head and body,
as far as the flippers, above the surface. This enables
the whale to have a clear view of its surroundings.
Blowing: exhaling and then inhaling through the blowholes
Grunting: emitting a roaring sound which can be heard
1-2km away (especially at night).
Mating: Often a group of whales may be observed interacting
within an area, this is usually a mating session. Several
males will attempt to mate with a single female.