Whale-watching from a Khoisan cave, Western Cape
Did you know?
Mossel Bay cave excavations reveal a 160 000-year-old human history.
When you go whale-watching from a Khoisan cave you’ll be following in the footsteps of ancient humans and the early Portuguese navigators who first visited these shores.
Mossel Bay has long been regarded as the capital of South Africa’s famed Garden Route because of its history, dating back to 1488 when Bartholomew Dias first anchored in the Bay of St Blaize (you can visit a fascinating life-size replica of his caravel in Mossel Bay’s Maritime Museum).
But nature was here first and her southern right whales have been cruising, calving, breaching and blowing along the Garden Route for aeons, making their way from the cold sub-Antarctic climes to this Indian Ocean coast where, every year from May to December, they mate, calve and rear their young.
Start your whale-watching experience in Cecil Shepherd Road, and follow the St Blaize Trail. You’ll be rewarded with simply stunning views of the sea, as well as fynbos and birdlife, as you stroll along this easy 15km trail that follows the contours of the coastline between Dana Bay and Mossel Bay.
But it’s the whales you've come to see, and after 30 minutes or so you’ll reach the St Blaize cave, a Khoisan Iron Age midden. This is a superb vantage point for whale-watching and you’ll be amazed at the delightful and varied behaviour of the southern right whales.
Watch for their massive flippers waving above the surface, and then count as they breach between five and fifteen times in quick succession. Sometimes they stand on their heads and wave their flukes in the air; at other times they glide along the surface using their flukes as sails. You may even see them swimming with their huge mouths wide open displaying their baleen or whalebone.
However, if you’re feeling lazy, then chill out on your sea-facing balcony at the iconic Point Hotel in Mossel Bay, and do your whale-watching from a comfy chair.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
The Point Hotel
Tel: + 27 (0)44 691 3512
How to get here
Take the N2 east from Cape Town or west from Port Elizabeth and follow the signs to Mossel Bay. From Cape Town it's a four- hour drive; from Port Elizabeth about six hours. Alternatively, fly to George and drive from there (about one hour).
Best time to visit
May to December is whale-watching season.
Around the area
The Dias Museum Complex is a must. Water sports rule in Mossel Bay. Try shark cage diving, shipwreck diving, snorkelling, deep-sea fishing or power boating. For the Big Five and spectacular scenery visit Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.
Length of stay
Plan to stay a few nights in Mossel Bay as there is much to see and do.
What to pack
Binoculars, camera, sunscreen, a water bottle, hat and comfortable walking shoes.
Where to stay
The Point Hotel in Mossel Bay has 52 sea-facing rooms and a great restaurant
What to eat
Mossel Bay mussels are said to be among the best in the world.
The Mossel Bay Summer Sun Festival annually every Christmas and New Year.