Humpback Whale Watching In Gansbaai South Africa
Humpback Whales are one of three baleen whale species to grace our shores during our whale season in Gansbaai.
Humpback whales are majestic, intelligent and famous for their song. These gentle giants begin to migrate past our shores in May, which is when you stand a chance of spotting them on one of our tours.
Humpback Whales are migratory by nature.
Humpback Whales pass our coast, making their way to the warm waters of Mozambique and Madagascar to mate. Females who mated last year will return after a year of gestation to give birth to a single calf. We sometimes get to see competitive pods of male Humpback Whales trying their luck with a female in our waters. This is an incredible sight, with the whales jousting each other in a bid for the female’s affections. If we’re really lucky, sometimes we’re also treated to the rare sight of a calf born in our waters.
The Humpback Whale can be seen along our coastline during whale season.
We can see Humpback Whales in Walker Bay from May to December, with most sightings occurring at the beginning of the migration. These Whales migrate from Antarctica where they spend our summer months feeding on krill. Recently however, hundreds of Humpback Whales have begun congregating off the Cape Coast to feed here too. Large krill blooms attract these baleen beauties to feast off our shores in a phenomenon so great, even David Attenborough took notice!
How To Identify a Humpback Whale.
The Humpback Whale is a very distinctive looking animal. They grow to a size of around 15m and have the longest flippers of any whale In the world. Flippers can grow to a length of around 5m, which is 1/3 of the body length. Humpback Whales have a hump underneath their dorsal fin which is how they get their name. They also have very distinct tail flukes. Each tail has unique markings, much like the Human Finger Print. Scientists use these markings to identify individual animals all over the world.
Humpback Whales are Ocean Voyagers.
The Humpback Whale is also well known for their travels. These whales have the second longest migration of any whale in the world. Only the Gray Whale has surpassed their lengthy voyages, travelling over 22 thousand kilometres. Humpbacks do however hold the title for the most famed singers in the whale world. Male Humpback Whales sing songs in the breeding grounds to attract females. These songs are long and complex. They also change over time. The Whales learn the songs verse by verse and all the whales within a population will sing the same song.
The South African Population has recovered completely from the whaling era.
We’re thrilled that our oceans are filled with these haunting choruses. Less than a century ago, Humpback Whales were pushed to the brink by commercial whaling. We’re very happy to say that the population off South Africa has recovered completely and is now stable. If you would like to join us for a whale watching tour to stand a chance to see these majestic creatures, book online here or send us a direct enquiry and we’ll get back to you.