Cape Town
Marine Life

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Our most recommended Cape Town Marine Life

Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

1. 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.

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Cape Town: Pre-Sunset Champagne Cruise

2. Cape Town: Pre-Sunset Champagne Cruise

A pre-sunset Champagne cruises is an extremely popular cruise, ideal for families with kids who find the regular sunset cruise too late. Whilst out on the water you can watch the sun sink into the horizon and enjoy the “golden hour”, which makes for stunning photos. You'll be presented with fantastic views over the entire city of Cape Town, as well as the always impressive Table Mountain. Aboard your vessel, you will be welcome to enjoy a glass of complimentary sparkling wine which will be accompanied by commentary from the crew whilst on board the boat. This cruise is the second-last of the day, and returns to the V&A Harbour prior to the final sunset Champagne cruise.

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From Cape Town: Full Day Tour to Hermanus

3. From Cape Town: Full Day Tour to Hermanus

Every year, from June to December a magical event takes place. The Southern Right Whales come to bask in the warm waters off the Hermanus coastline. This beautiful gift of nature cannot be missed when you are in Cape Town. This full-day whale watching and sightseeing tour will not only take you the Hermanus coastline, but will guide you along the scenic coast. Led by a registered tour guide the route will take you through the charming seaside towns of Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay. You will also have the chance to visit the famed Harold Porter Botanical Garden, the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, the Eglin region and Sir Lowry’s Pass. Of course, the highlight of this trip will undoubtedly be taking the time to watch the whales frolic in the warm waters. As an added option you are also welcome take a boat to look at them more closely. This tour is the perfect option for those looking to take part in a unique Cape Town experience.

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Cape Peninsula and Penguin Colony Full Day Shared Tour

4. Cape Peninsula and Penguin Colony Full Day Shared Tour

This full-day Peninsula Tour will take you around the entire Cape peninsula and show you the wonders of Cape Town - from the pristine beaches, to the spectacular sight of Cape Point, where the oceans meet. Also be sure not to miss the sensational visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. 1. Clifton & Camps Bay Situated along the Atlantic Seaboard, the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay have been awarded Blue Flag status, offering pristine white beaches and beautiful, clear waters that make these beaches highly popular with locals and visitors alike. (30 minutes) 2. Hout Bay & Seal Island Boat Trip The small fishing village of Hout Bay is often jokingly referred to as the ‘Republic of Hout Bay’ by Cape Town locals, and feels like an entirely separate town. A beautiful beach, delicious fresh seafood, bustling markets, and plenty of restaurants make this suburb a must-visit on any Cape tour. You will also have the option of going to admire the thousands of seals that inhabit the Seal Island at your own cost. (45 minutes) 3. Cape Point Cape Point and the spectacular nature reserve that lies in this area are some of the most famous landmarks in Cape Town, and for good reason. Situated on the very tip of the peninsula, with the Indian Ocean on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the area spans landscapes of rugged cliffs, lush fynbos, and vast open spaces – no Cape Town tour is complete without a visit to Cape Point. (1.5 hours) 4. Simon's Town & Penguin Colony Simon's Town is the seat of the SA Navy, and has a charming coastal town atmosphere and a vibrant history. Here you can find a thriving harbor, a toy museum, navy museum, and plenty of other sights – nearby is also Boulders Beach where you can admire the penguins for an extra fee. (45 minutes) 5. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens offer visitors a haven of peace and serenity at the foot of the Devil's Peak mountain. Let yourself be enchanted and your senses roam free in the sights, smells, and sounds of this luscious forest. (45 minutes)

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Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Cruise and City Tour

5. Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Cruise and City Tour

Immerse yourself in the thriving center of the Mother City and experience a fun combination tour of both the land and the sea. The tour starts with a trip to the waterfront for a 1.5 hour cruise of Table Bay. Marvel at the amazing sea life that lives here including seals, penguins, and dolphin pods, and if you’re lucky enough you might even spot a whale. Enjoy the stunning views of Table Mountain and Robben Island from the water and snap some incredible photos as the wildlife appears before you. After the boat ride, enjoy a stroll along the waterfront indoor food market and taste the flavors of the region with a selection of local delicacies and traditional treats. Once lunch is over, return to your guide in time for the afternoon city tour. The first stop on the tour is the Castle of Good Hope, which stands proudly on the outskirts of the business district and was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company. Today, the Castle is the seat of the military in the Cape, and is open for visitors to explore and learn more about its history. Next, head to the Bo Kaap, tucked under the slopes of Signal Hill. The Bo Kaap is a fascinating and vibrant area that was somehow bypassed in the forced removal policies of the Apartheid. Also called the Malay Quarter, this area is characterized by its multicolored cottages and steep cobbled streets, as well as its exotic Malay culture. No tour in Cape Town would be complete without a visit to the Bo Kaap! Retrace the course of history next with a visit to the South African Museum. Take a look at life throughout the ages in South Africa and learn about the rich history of the region. Many exhibits can be found here, and there is also a Planetarium situated within the building. The museum is situated in the Company Gardens, which holds the Seat of Parliament. Pristine lawns, shady paths, ornate fish ponds, statues of past leaders and plenty of curious squirrels are just a part of the Company Gardens’ charm.

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Cape Town: V&A Waterfront Harbor Boat Tour

6. Cape Town: V&A Waterfront Harbor Boat Tour

Departing the V&A waterfront harbor by boat, learn more about the massive role that the harbor played in the development of Cape Town as a city. Discover more about the various sites of historic significance from your expert crew. Stop for a perfect photo opportunity of the famous Table Mountain, from the waters of Granger Bay. Also, try to spot some dolphins, whales, penguins, and various fish species who often frolic in the water near the harbor.

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Half Day Trip to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

7. Half Day Trip to Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

The adventure begins with pickup from your hotel in Cape Town and heads to the brightly colored Bo-Kaap district. After a stop for photos, continue on towards the Atlantic Sea passing by some of Africa’s richest suburbs including Bantry Bay, Clifton, and Camps Bay. Later, enjoy a 20 minute stopover at the scenic Hout Bay, a charming town surrounded by mountains and the ocean. Continue the tour south via the majestic Chapman’s Peak Drive, locally known as Chapies. Afterwards, explore the farm village of Noordhoek, boasting a selection of bakeries, cafés, juicers and more. Mingle with the locals and shop for souvenirs before heading back on the road to Simon’s Town, home to Boulder’s Beach. At the beach, walk along the boardwalk and marvel at the penguins in their natural habitat. Spend some time taking photos and learn about these fascinating creatures. From here, drive along the eastern side of the peninsula, passing the quaint towns of Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, and Muizenberg. The final stop of the tour is Muizenberg Beach where you can take photos of the colorful huts that line the shore. The day ends with drop-off back to your accommodation.

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Simon's Town: Seal Island Boat Tour

8. Simon's Town: Seal Island Boat Tour

Go on a boat trip from Simon’s Town to Seal Island. Discover the 60,000-strong population of Cape Fur seals that gives the island its name. At the start of your cruise, you will be able to see African Penguins swimming to or from their feeding grounds and see the Roman Rock Lighthouse before heading off to Seal Island. You will also spy diverse seabirds, whales, dolphins, sunfish, and many other species of marine wildlife. Relax on board a 30-foot catamaran with a walk-around cockpit, allowing for good freedom of movement around the vessel. In the enclosed cabin there is an electric-flush toilet and double bed to make your time at sea as comfortable as possible.

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Cape Town: Shark Diving at Gansbaai Harbor Private Tour

9. Cape Town: Shark Diving at Gansbaai Harbor Private Tour

Enjoy a day of diving in a shark cage and viewing fearsome Great White Sharks in their natural environment. Get picked up from your hotel in Cape Town early in the morning and head to Gansbaai Harbor. Have breakfast and get a safety overview before heading out to see assorted birds, sharks, whales, and seals. Get inside the cage and dive down to get up close with the sea life and get a certificate memorializing your bravery. View a DVD of the day's dives over lunch. Enjoy a day of sea, sunshine, and majestic sea life at one of the few working fishing villages left in the Western Cape.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Cape Town

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What people are saying about Cape Town

Call or WhatsApp the number provided the day before travel. Our email said 6am-7am and we got picked up at 9:15am. Bruce, our guide was very knowledgeable. Weather can change and can be cooler and windy at the cape point so would advise bringing a jacket. Great tour!

I can only recommend it, it was a very successful excursion, seen 4 of the Big 5 and even several times. We were able to observe a whale from the Cape two days beforehand, so we even saw the Big 5 in SA.

This was amazing!We saw many whales, seals, penguins and even sharks! The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. Loved it!

Excellent trip to see the entire cape peninsula! Keeps you moving and on schedule to fit it into one day!

My wife and I had an amazing time, We saw whales and dolphins