Sea-Kayaking in Hermanus with the Whales!

A while back we celebrated my stepson’s 13th birthday and my hubby and I were racking our brains on what to give him as a gift…  Every year it gets more difficult!  I’d just finished working on the activities section of our Cape Town Safaris site and came across a supplier in Hermanus, who offers sea kayaking trips to get up close and personal with the whales, so we decided to give Kye (my stepson) a trip as a birthday gift.  As these trips are quite popular we only managed to get a booking on the first weekend in October.

Bright and early on Saturday morning we left Cape Town for Hermanus. Luckily, the weather was on our side… The sun was shining and there was hardly any wind.  It took just over an hour to get there and we managed to have time to grab a quick sandwich for breakfast, before embarking on our adventure.  We were met by our guides at the Old Harbour and quickly got to know our fellow “adventurers” (a family from Switzerland).  After an in-depth safety briefing we paddled off onto the ocean.  It is quite strange, because if you are actually paddling and on the same level as the whales it is quite hard to spot them, so the kayaking operator has a guide, who stands at the top of the harbour wall and keeps in touch with the guide on the kayak via two-way radio to let him know where the whales are hanging out.

Soon after we left the shore, we encountered 2 whales and it seemed that they were waving at us to say hello, as they kept rolling around in the water and showing us their side fins.  The next pair of whales we saw was a mother and her calf and these two were quite curious.  The kayaking operator is only allowed to approach the whales up to 200m, but these creatures are quite nosy and the baby kept coming towards us.  The exciting thing is, that when they go uunderwater you don’t know where they come out and that is exactly what this “little” one did.  He/she/it went under and popped up about 10m from our kayak and greeted us with a big smelly blow.  Even Kye was taken aback and really excited, although the poor boy got terribly sea sick and had to feed the fish a couple of times.  This was probably the highlight of the trip.  We also learnt quite a bit about these gentle giants – they weigh up to 130 tons (about the size of 60 fully grown elephants) and can be up to 18m in length.  I also enquired why they come to Hermanus to breed and was told that it has something to do with the magnetic fields in the ocean.  After encountering quite a few more whales we paddled a bit up the coastline and were given some interesting facts on the sea- and birdlife in and around Hermanus, before we paddled back to the harbour, where we bid farewell to our guide and the Swiss family.

Thank goodness, I had packed an extra set of clothes for all of us, as our backsides, legs and feet got soaked.  We grabbed a cup of coffee to go from Mugg & Bean and made our way towards Stellenbosch to have a nice family lunch!!

What a fun way to spend a Saturday!!!!

-By Wiebke

To find out more about any fun and excting tours in and around Cape Town, visit our Cape Town Safaris website at

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