Arniston Spa Hotel

The Whales of Hermanus


One of the best places in the world to view whales, is Hermanus! For this reason this otherwise quiet town receives thousands of visitors every year to see the Southern Right and Humpback whales. These wonderful creatures move from the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of the Western Cape to give birth.

Southern Rights can grow to around 15 meters in length and can weigh over 47 tonnes, with the largest of the species being recorded at 18 meters and 80 tonnes. They are most easily recognized by the callosities that cover their heads and blowholes. These unique patches have been used to record the different whales, as each layout is as unique as a fingerprint. According to sources around 4% of these whales are born completely white and carry this into adulthood. Something that not many know is that Southern Rights are extremely susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer and therefore shy away from bright and warm days. The albino whales are even more at risk to this and are therefore rarely seen. It’s because of this that the whales choose to make their way to Hermanus in the winter months, when the sun is weaker and the waters cooler. The Humpback Whale is a species of baleen whale. One of the larger species, adults range in length from 12–16 m and weigh about 36 tonnes. The Humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. The name Humpback describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive.

The Hermanus Kalfiefees…

…is a highly anticipated cultural festival which coincides with the arrival of the Southern Right Whales, which is why the festival was given its name. The event takes place in Onrus from 9-13 August 2017. The Afrikaans-centred festival showcases the local talent – from productions and exhibitions to musical performances and topical discussions. The Hermanus Kalfiefees has been running for 16 years and is considered an offset of the renowned Hermanus Whale Festival. The Hermanus Whale Festival started 26 years ago.  Residents and visitors celebrate the migration of Southern Right Whales and other marine wildlife with ocean-themed activities and exhibitions, emphasizing education and environmentally responsible adventures and activities. This event will take place from 29 September to 1 October 2017.

Sources: www., ,

Marine Field Guide –