If you are thinking about visiting Knysna, whale season is a great time of year to do so.

Between June and November, the Southern Right Whales follow an ancient migratory route along the coastal waters of the Western Cape, where they stop to calve and nurse their babies.

Humpback whales also visit Knysna during these months, stopping to rest before moving onto warmer waters in Mozambique.

Seeing whales in their natural environment along the coast of Knysna is an exciting experience you’ll long remember. Located on our doorstep are fantastic close up whale watching experiences to try during your time in Knysna.

Knysna whale watching

Close encounter whale watching in Knysna

Get up close and personal with the gentle giants that inhabit our vast Indian ocean. These migratory mammals, Southern Right and Humpback whales, visit Knysna between June to November to show off their acrobatic skills and give birth to their young in the calm waters around the bay.

If you’re in Knysna around this time, you are almost guaranteed to spot these majestic creatures from the beaches and guesthouses with views of the sea.  However, for a thrilling up close experience, the Garden Route coastline offers some of the best opportunities to get as close to the mammals as is permitted through guided whale watching tours.

Your whale watching trip begins navigating through the Knysna Estuary, after which you’ll head out towards the beautiful Indian Ocean. The tour is narrated by an experienced skipper and guide who will share with you fascinating information about the lives of the Knysna whales.

Your trip will be assisted by an experienced whale spotter, who’ll be in radio contact with your captain, so you can be directed to any sightings. Keep your eyes peeled for other marine life as well – you may even see dolphins or penguins.

whale tours Knysna

Whale Watching Highlights

  • See the diverse natural landscape of the Knysna estuary.
  • Sail past the iconic Knysna Heads, a unique pair of sandstone cliffs.
  • Catch sightings of humpback and southern right whales.
  • See the abundance of marine life on the Indian Ocean – dolphins, seals, penguins, and more.

Whale Species found in Knysna

Humpback whales

Humpback whales are of the baleen variety and adults range in length from 12–16 metres and weigh in at approximately 36,000 kilograms!

The humpback has a distinctive body shape, and a bumpy head.  If you are looking for acrobatics, then this is the one to watch, as it’s known for breaching and rolling in the water, creating a slapping motion with its tail and unusually long pectoral fin.

Southern Right Whales

The Southern Right whale is easily distinguished from others by the pale callosities on its head, and a long curving mouth that begins above its eye.

Not only will you be thrilled by the sight of whales nearby, but there is a good chance you will be visited by a couple of curious seals and dolphins as well.

whale watching South Africa

Central to the Garden Route, Turbine Boutique Hotel in Knysna offers the perfect base from which to experience the playful antics of the greatest mammals of the sea. Join us at the Turbine Hotel & Spa on Thesen Islands for convenient and tranquil accommodation.

Have a look at our Specials Page and book online or email us at book@turbinehotel.co.za. We look forward to welcoming you to the magnificent Garden Route of South Africa.


Image credits:
Pascal Mauerhofer on Unsplash
Lisa Leslie Photography
Chanel Hauvelle Photography

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