by Saskia Carelse May 21, 2018
We've got GREAT news for you!
The first Southern Right whales of 2018 have been spotted in Gansbaai (Western Cape), which is one of the prime spots to go whale watching either from land or on a boat (view boat-based whale watching tours in Gansbaai HERE). It's an exciting announcement as Southern Rights only visit South Africa's coasts for a limited time annually and it's truly an experience to witness these giants in the bays.
Boat-Based Whale Watching In Gansbaai (Source: https://bit.ly/2rXslfn)
The whales often come right up close so that you can get a good view of them in all their glory! The different types of whales that can be spotted in South Africa include Bryde's whales, Humpback whales, Killer whale (although they're not technically part of the whale species) and the most common of them all, Southern Right whales.
Southern Right Mother & Calf In Gansbaai (Source: https://bit.ly/2KGNaCt)
Gansbaai provides ideal calving conditions, making the bay a hot spot for whales. You can witness these majestic beasts frolicking, mating, rearing their young calves aaand.. having a whale of a time (sorry, I had to)!
The Sad History Of Southern Right Whales In South Africa
Between the years of 1790 and 1825, it is estimated that over 12 000 Southern Right whales were killed by whalers off the South African coast. They are now regarded an endangered species as their numbers have drastically reduced in the last 200 years with about 1500 only coming to southern Africa now.
The reason why the Southern Rights were so targeted was because they have an abundance of baleen (bones) and oil, they move slowly enough through the water for the rowing boats to approach and their carcasses float, making it easy for them to be retrieved. In fact, this species was named the Southern Right due to the fact that they were considered the 'right whale to catch'!
In 1927 there was a great decline in the whale populations and eventually in 1980 the whales became protected in South Africa. The legislation stated that from then onward it was illegal to shoot at or harass the whales, or come into closer proximity than 300 metres with them. The populations have since increased, along with peoples' respect and appreciation for them.
Where To See The Southern Right Whales Now
Southern Rights can be spotted in South Africa's bays between June - November, with their peak calving season being July - August. Keep a look out for these magnificent mammals while driving along the coast, or better yet, book yourself an unforgettable whale watching tour (view all our whale watching tours HERE) where you'll jump aboard a boat and see these gentle giants as closely as possible!
Whale watching has replaced the activity of whaling and people travel from far and wide to witness these magnificent mammals happy in their natural environment. View all whale watching tours HERE and book now while the Southern Right whales are still gracing us with their presence.
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