Land Based Whale Watching
Land Based Whale watching is a must and simply impossible to miss in De Kelders. During Whale watching season (July - January) the bay is heavily populated with Southern Right Whales and Hump Back Whales. This beautiful coastline is so blessed with the shear numbers of Whales that come to the area that it has been renamed the Whale Coast.
Hermanus has been established as a large tourist attraction to overseas and home tourists for its Whales but is not however the only place or the best to view the Whales. Hermanus sits in Walker bay, a haven for these large Mammals as it is a safe shelter from the open seas and comfortable water temperature to breed. In Season there are over 200 Whales in the bay and for most of the time a majority of the Whales are on Gansbaai's side of the bay.
On the other side of Walker Bay from Hermanus stands Gansbaai and De Kelders. De Kelders is a hidden gem, not well known to the hoards of tourists that visit the area yearly. From people's experience here we are to believe that De Kelders is one of the best land based Whale watching spots in the world.
Visitors can enjoy a relaxing break away from the crowds and the commercial side of tourism and spend personal one on one time with a Whale in De Kelders. There are many kilometres of hiking trails along the coastline allowing visitors to take long walks whilst watching the Whales play only yards away.
It is not uncommon to be able to sit on a rock by the water's edge only 5-10 meters from a Mother and calf Whale. To be so close to these majestic mammals is extremely unique and this is definitely the place to visit to fulfill your dreams of being up close and personal with a Whale.
The beauty of De Kelders is that you can get close to the Whales without getting on a boat to see them. This is great for people nervous of boats or who get sea sick. The experience is still totally natural and just as special as going out on a boat to see the Whales.
The Whales are not just lying there in the water or moving along like many would think but they are playing all of the time. In season it is rare to not go through a day without seeing several Whales breaching out of the water. Below is a description of the type of things you will see the Whales doing in De Kelders.
Sailing is when a Whale will raise it whole tail out of the water. It is unbelievable seeing this and difficult to believe how such a huge mammal can gracefully raise half of its body out of the water for a length of time. This is called sailing as it looks like the Whales tails are catching the wind like a sail. It is thought that they are doing this to regulate their temperature.
This is when a Whale lays vertically in the water and pops its head out of the water. The Whales do this several times in a row and as they can see clearly above water it is believed that they are just curiously looking out of the water to see what is going on.
This is the most recognisable of a Whale's habits. It is a breathtaking site seeing a majestic 40 Tonne Whale launch completely out of the water and come crashing down onto it's back. The best time to view this is during October - November when the Mothers are teaching the calves to breach and you see them breaching simultaneously. If you see a Whale breach don't panic and drop your camera trying to catch the airborne whale. When they breach they breach from 5-8 times with an approximate interval of 20-30 seconds per breach.
This is seen very often and it is when a Whale lies on its back with its pectoral fins in the air waving them around. These fins are huge and it is a spectacular site.
This is very spectacular to watch and it is when a Whale fully raises its tail out of the water and slaps it hard against the water making a loud bang. The Whales do this many times in a row.
The Whales are not shy and it is not uncommon to see a group of Whales mating right against the rocks. During mating approximately 5 males try to Mate with the female and it is a fascinating site watching them rolling over each other whilst in the act.
Albino Whale Calves
3 percent of Southern Right Whales are born white and nearly every year we have an Albino Whale in the bay. This is a very beautiful and unique site.
Abundance of Whales
In peak season there are over 200 Whales in the bay and during October, November and December the winds are offshore SE which means they come from the land. This make De Kelders extremely calm and flat and the Whales tend to move across to our side of the bay. It is not uncommon to count 30-50 Whales in a day in De Kelders.