The whale watching industry is one that continues to grow. In 2008 alone, more than 13 million people took part in whale watching. This figure increased from 9 million, ten years ago. Nearly $872.7 million US dollars in revenue were generated from this recreational activity. Whale watching is especially important for developing countries. Many coastal communities have started to benefit from the presence of whales, adding to their protection and support from ship strikes, by-catches, and commercial whaling. There are commercial whale-watching operations set up in 119 locations all over the world.
If you are heading to the South Atlantic for a vacation, consider the following areas for some of the best whale watching sites:
Hermanus is one of the leading centers for whale watching in the world. The time from May to December is the best time to observe Southern Right Whales. These giant creatures come near the Cape’s shoreline and are observable from hotel windows. A whale crier is employed there who walks through the town and cries out anytime a pod of whales are nearby.
Port Elizabeth has a boat-based tour which operates from July until November. Here, visitors can observe Humpback whales, Southern Right whales, and Bryde’s whales.
Plettenberg Bay is a coastal town in South Africa that promotes the education and conservation of marine life. This area is quite popular for Southern Right whales, Humpback whales, and Bryde’s whales.
False Bay is another famous centre for whale-watching activities. Tours here leave from Gordon’s Bay and run along the coast. Apart from the whale species mentioned earlier, Pygmy Sperm whales, Pilot whales, and Orcas are also present here. Other species of marine life such as Haveside dolphins, Great White sharks, and African Penguins are present in Simon’s Town.
Valdes Peninsula, in Patagonia, Argentina
This is one of the best locations to observe Killer Whales and Southern Right whales. This is a protected area with 6 natural reserves. Many of these whales are documented by the Ocean Alliance and the Whale Conservation Institute. From the months of July to December, the Southern Right Whales can be seen performing an outstanding phenomenon that involves sailing using their tails or flukes. From the months of February to April, the intelligence of Killer whales can be seen as they hunt for sea lions. Some of these Orcas jump up onto the beach to pluck sea lions off the beach and swim back with the tide. Whale-watching is a major source of ecotourism here.
Here, Humpback whales can be observed off the coast of Salvador in the state of Bahia, and in the Abrolhos National Marine Park. Southern Right whales can also be seen near Santa Catarina state. Income generated from running whale-watching tours supports many coastal townships in Brazil, particular in Imbituba also called the “whale capital” of Brazil.
Whale watching is an exciting, awe-inspiring, and life changing experience that one ought to experience at least once in their lifetime.