S. African Whales


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Elements Travel News Letter


Migrating Ocean Life – Whales and Sardines


We are heading into whale season again and we’ve already had reports of the first few sightings in Hermanus last month.

The most common whale visitor to our coastline is the Southern Right Whale. These gentle giants are usually 14 to 18 metres in length and they weigh an average of 54 tons. Their lifespan is estimated to be between 90 and 100 years and a mature female usually calves every +-5 years.

These whales migrate north during winter and spring to calve and mate and south during summer as the krill supplies increase.



In June each year, the annual migration of sardines or the “sardine run” occurs and “sardine fever” hits the Wild Coast. They begin life in the waters of the Southern Cape, forming large shoals and move northwards to form “the greatest shoal on earth” (1000 tons). Thousands of dolphins and game fish such as Shad and Garrick, feed on the sardines and sightings of Humpback Whales are common. Approximately 10 000 bottlenose dolphins snake down from the Wild Coast within spitting distance of the rocky shores, feasting on their easiest meal of the year. There are also multitudes of sea birds: species of Albatross – Yellownose, Blackbrowed and Shy Petrels, Cape Gannets, several Tern species and even a penguin or two, not to mention the occasional Fur Seal following the shoal, enjoying this free marine buffet. After several weeks of moving northwards, the sardines swim out to sea and are carried along the inner edge of the Agulhas Current back to the south to spawn.

Over the last two years there have been numerous documentaries on TV (BBC and Discovery) as well as in many forms of print. Now it’s time for you to experience it first-hand! Trips to experience the annual sardine run are available – please contact us for bookings.


website address: www.elements.ws for further information