Michael and I saved money for years to go to Africa. It is not a cheap destination, but one that is worthwhile. It was kind of the pinnacle of our travel experiences at the time and is still one of my favorites. We paired a 4 day stay in Cape Town with 7 days in Namibia for a total of 11 days on the wild continent of Africa. Since getting to Africa was so expensive, we could not really splurge on our hotel and tons of excursions. We shelled out the cash to dive with Great Whites and still believe it was some of the best money we have ever spent. But, one thing we did not want to pay for was a whale watching tour. I don’t know why, but we have never spent money to go on a crowded boat in the hopes of catching a glimpse of a breaching whale. Cape Town was no different.
As it turns out, the money we spent to dive with Great Whites also got us a “free” whale watching adventure from the shoreline near Hermanus, South Africa. We were stoked to see these huge creatures, and even more happy to see them from the beauty of South Africa’s shoreline without getting seasick on a boat.
As the story goes, we finished “oohing” and “ahhing” at the Great Whites and loaded into the van back to our hotel in Kalk Bay. Our driver pulled off the main road on two occasions, each time to stunning views and whales!
The first stop was scenic, but no whales. It was the icing on the cake after a once in a lifetime day swimming with sharks. I was all smiles.
If stop number one was the icing, stop number 2 was the cherry and sprinkles and candles on top of the cake! Whales, whales and more whales! Whales spouting, breaching, swimming and rolling. We saw it all from the shoreline near Hermanus and for “free.” I use quotations there because diving with sharks was a pretty penny, and I understand that nothing in life is free.
After seeing these whales in the ocean I realize why people pay for a chance to glimpse these creatures. And I’m not talking about Sea World. I mean whales in the wild. Free to swim and interact with each other as they are meant to. But, the frugal part of me now knows that since I have seen them from the shoreline near Hermanus, we will likely never pay to see them on a boat.
Hermanus is about a 2 hour drive from Cape Town, so even if you are not cage diving with sharks, it is a very easy day trip from Cape Town. There are tons of restaurants and shops in the seaside town to keep you busy and miles and miles and miles or scenic cliffs that offer a great vantage point for on shore viewing. A good hint is to follow the masses. While I typically try to help you avoid crowds, a lot of onlookers is a good thing in this case. Lots of people usually mean they are watching something, like whales.