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Western Cape

Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Our most recommended Western Cape Safaris & Wildlife Activities

Hermanus: Whale and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

1. Hermanus: Whale and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

Discover Hermanus, one of the best destinations for watching marine mammals, on a boat trip with a whale specialist guide. Sail to areas that receive seasonal visits from southern right and humpback whales along with year-round sightings of Bryde’s whales and dolphins. Enjoy refreshments onboard. Sail on a purpose-built catamaran ensures maximum passenger comfort and spectacular viewing opportunities. During the tour, the crew is on hand to make sure everyone has a great experience, from helping get the perfect photo to serving complimentary light refreshments. The guide, a whale specialist, will interpret the marine life encountered en route and provide insight into the behavior of the whales while the action is taking place. The expert videographer will ensure the best footage is captured.

Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

2. Gansbaai: Whale Watching Trip by Boat

Launch from the quaint fishing harbor of Gansbaai and travel along the cliffs of De Kelders. Enter a nature reserve with the highest concentration of whales in South Africa. Look for southern right whales in their natural environment, along with dolphins, Cape fur seals and sharks. Keep an eye out for humpback, minke and Bryde's whales frolicking in the ocean. Catch a glimpse of the beautiful orcas, False killer whales and enchanting African penguins. Return back to the harbor at the end of your boating adventure.

Botlierskop Private Game Reserve: 3-Hour Guided Game Drive

3. Botlierskop Private Game Reserve: 3-Hour Guided Game Drive

Take a 3-hour guided game drive at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, and experience close encounters with rhinos, lions, giraffes, buffaloes and more. Situated in spectacular mountains near Mossel Bay, the reserve boasts a great diversity of habitats and 26 different species of wildlife.  The 4,200 hectare reserve is a paradise for bird watchers, with more than 200 species to be seen. In an open game viewing vehicle, your guide will take you to the best locations to spot lions, zebras, elephants, and other animals. After the game drive, spend some time enjoying the facilities, including a restaurant and an open-air swimming pool.

Knysna: Close Encounter Whale Watching Tour by Boat

4. Knysna: Close Encounter Whale Watching Tour by Boat

Come get up close and personal with the gentle giants of the ocean on this 2-hour whale watching tour! Your trip begins as your captain navigates you through the Knysna Estuary and then you'll head out towards the vast and beautiful Indian Ocean. Every year, both the southern right and humpback whales leave their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica and migrate to mate and calve in the warmer waters of the Southern African coastline - this makes Knysna one of the best whale-watching destinations in the country. The tour will be narrated by an experienced skipper and guide who will share with you fascinating information about the lives of these whales. Your adventure will also be assisted by an experienced whale spotter who is in radio contact with all skippers, so you can be directed to any sightings. Keep your eyes peeled for other marine life as well - you may even spot a dolphin or a penguin or two!

From Cape Town: 2-Day Safari at Garden Route Game Lodge

5. From Cape Town: 2-Day Safari at Garden Route Game Lodge

Get the chance to see lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, and more on a 2-day safari tour from Cape Town. Enjoy 2 game drives and an overnight stay with included dinner and breakfast. On the first day, depart Cape Town and drive along the scenic coastal road to Cape Agulhas via Hermanus, the whale watching capital of the world. Make a stop at the southernmost tip of Africa to admire the beautiful lighthouse. Continue on to Garden Route Game Lodge. Here, embark on a sunset safari in an open-air vehicle. Observe a variety of native animals, including elephants, lions, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, and more. After the safari, settle in for a three-course dinner. Spend the night in one of the beautiful 4-star wooden chalets and admire the clear skies over the lodge. In the morning, head out for another game drive to see some of the animals you might have missed the evening before. After your drive, tuck into breakfast. Make your way back to Cape Town in the evening.

Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

6. Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

Climb aboard and look for marine life in the ecosystem of Table Bay on a 1.5-hour eco-cruise from Cape Town. See species in their natural surroundings, such as humpback and southern right whales, depending on the season. Get the chance to watch pods of dolphins breaching close to the boat and marvel at their acrobatic displays. Be enchanted by Cape fur seals lounging on the jetties and get close to unusual species, such as sunfish. Watch African penguins diving for fish to take back to their breeding colony on Robben Island.  Encounter birdlife, such as terns, gannets, cormorants and mighty black-browed albatross.

Cape Town: Gansbaai Eco-Friendly Shark Cage Diving Cruise

7. Cape Town: Gansbaai Eco-Friendly Shark Cage Diving Cruise

Discover the thrill of diving with sharks in the safety of a cage with this tour from Cape Town. Enjoy a hearty breakfast and head to Dyer Island to hop in the water with sharks. Have snacks and drinks onboard and end your experience with soup access to the African penguin and seabird sanctuary. If the transfer option is selected, your adventure will start pickup from your hotel in Cape Town. Take a drive along a scenic route to get to your destination – the Great White House. Once there, enjoy a breakfast or lunch before a safety briefing about what to expect. Then, stroll to the harbor to board a dedicated shark-diving vessel. Journey to Dyer Island and drop anchor where the sharks reside. Your boat will have all the amenities, along with drinks and snacks for your comfort. Collect your waterproof bag containing your dive kit and then get up close to these magnificent animals in their natural environment, protected of course by a cage. You'll be completely safe, but your adrenaline will be pumping like crazy. This is sure to be an experience you will never forget. Travel through shark alley if conditions permit before returning to land for a debriefing and a warm bowl of soup. Then, enjoy free entry to the African penguin and seabird sanctuary on your way back to Cape Town (if option is selected).

Aquila Private Game Reserve: Sunset Safari with Entry Fee

8. Aquila Private Game Reserve: Sunset Safari with Entry Fee

Experience African hospitality at its best at the Aquila Private Game Reserve with a sunset safari accompanied by a game ranger. Get tickets to the park, sip on a welcome drink, savor refreshments, and relax by the pool. Upgrade to spa treatments on site. Arrive at Aquila Private Game Reserve by 3:00 PM. On arrival, a welcome drink will be served followed by a selection of teas, coffee, and snacks. At 3:15, you will start your 2-3 hour game drive. After a hot day in the African bush, the animals are just starting to stir, moving towards the watering holes and coming out of the shade. The safari is led by an experienced guide who will share exciting inside stories and facts about your surroundings, easily rousing your inner wild side. While at the reserve you can enjoy a number of complementary activities. You can relax poolside, browse the curio shop, visit the Aquila labyrinth or play a game of giant chess. Join this tour to witness wild animals and enjoy a magical sunset experience. 

Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

9. Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

Visit the Dyer Island eco-system and have the opportunity to spot the Marine Big 5: whales, sharks, seals, dolphins and penguins. Every year from June to December, the southern right whales arrive to mate and calve. Witness mating displays, breaching, tail slapping, spy-hopping and more. You may also see Bryde’s whales, humpback whales, the elusive humpback dolphin and the common dolphin. An incredible array of seabirds and a sighting of the almost 60,000-strong Cape fur seal colony on Geyser Rock is guaranteed as the boat cruises down the famous Shark Alley. An on-board marine biologist will be on hand to teach you more about the amazing animals that visit these shores. On the day of your trip, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cape Town or Hermanus, if you have selected an option with transfers included. Upon arrival in Gansbaai, enjoy coffee/tea and muffins while listening to a dedicated safety briefing. After you're fitted with inflatable life jackets and wet-weather gear, take a 200 meter stroll down to the harbor to board the whale-watching vessel. Time spent on sea on average is two hours depending on sea conditions and marine life activity.  Upon return to land, receive an informative debrief while enjoying warm soup and bread. Professional trip footage is also available to purchase after the trip, so that you can have a permanent memory of your sightings. If you have chosen the option with transfers from Cape Town, a visit to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary is also included on your way back. You'll see the important efforts being made to rehabilitate injured and sick animals.

Cape Town: Penguin Watching at Boulders Beach Half Day Tour

10. Cape Town: Penguin Watching at Boulders Beach Half Day Tour

The tour departs Cape Town and heads to the first stop of the day, Maidens Cove. From here, admire stunning views across the Atlantic seaboard as well as marveling at the imposing Twelve Apostles Mountain range. The tour continues along Chapmans Peak Drive, rated one of the best mountain drives in the world. Along the way, stop at a selection of lookouts that provide unspoiled views of Noordhoek beach. Arrive at Boulders Beach and learn about the friendly African Jackass Penguins that call the beach their home. Although the penguins roam freely on the beach and are comfortable being near humans, they are protected animals and visitors are not permitted to touch or feed them. Admire the penguins from a designated viewing point, and observe these creatures as they go about their day. Enjoy some free time to relax on the beach, take a swim in the refreshing waters, or explore the surrounding landscpaes. The tour ends with a visit to Boyes Drive, a spectacular mountain road overlooking the stunning view of False Bay coast.

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What people are saying about Western Cape

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 835 reviews

Best naturalist and gamedrive ever in the name is Selas. Very knowledgeable, respectful and good mannerd. He was spoiling us with good coffee and hot chocolate. Treated us with warm water bottle and ponjo. Very good value for money and saw 4 if the big 5.

It was a very good thing to do however just be aware that it is a all day event including a 2 hour ride there and a two hr ride back. The crew and staff were wonderful and friendly and knowledgeable as well. We enjoyed it thoroughly.

We had an amazing tour with our skipper Francois. He was so knowledgeable and told us lots of information about the animals. We managed to see penguins, dolphins, seals and a whale! We had the best couple of hours out on the water!

Brilliant day and truly humbling to see the whales close up. Everyone at Ivanhoe was great and their passion rubbed off on us all.

Nice and punctual. We saw 2 whales, a seal and dolphins.