Luxury Whale Watching Getaways in Plettenberg Bay

10 July 2023

— by Clare Van Rensburg —

See Whales in the Wild: Celebrate Marine Diversity at the Plettenberg Hotel.

Every year between June and December, hundreds of Southern Right Whales return to the pristine waters of the southernmost tip of Africa. Their arrival represents a unique opportunity to observe these jaw-dropping creatures in the wild. To witness these gigantic creatures launching their 50 tonne bodies into the air is an utterly unforgettable spectacle.

Southern Right Whales travel from their icy subantarctic feeding grounds to the warmer Garden Route coastline, where they mate and calf their young. The coastal town of Plettenberg Bay has become a true whale watching hotspot. The local shores are home to a huge diversity of marine life in the cooler months, including iconic species such as Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Killer Whales, and Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins.

Photo Credit: Experience Days

The town has earned the prestigious title ‘Whale Heritage Site’. This accolade, established by the World Cetacean Alliance, recognizes unique destinations across the globe where coastal communities collaborate to safeguard, honour, and celebrate cetaceans and their habitats.

Overlooking this remarkable whale mecca is The Plettenberg Hotel, a five-star luxury boutique hotel, with 35 beautifully appointed rooms and two family-style villas. Guests are treated to an experience beyond expectation: luxury accommodation, culinary excellence, and breathtaking vistas. The Plettenberg is one of only three “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” in South Africa. Stay in one of the Luxury Double Rooms which offer glorious sea views. Emphasis is placed on absolute comfort and each room is equipped with a spacious sitting area, walk-in shower, and air-conditioning. Guests can enjoy the gorgeous hues of sunset from the comfort of their room, with occasional views of whales or dolphins joyfully frolicking in the bay.


Guests who wish to get a little closer to these gentle giants can take advantage of the town’s many marine based activities. Take a stroll along the scenic clifftops and sandy beaches where you may also catch sight of our local Cape Fur Seal Colony and numerous shark species. Plett has six premier “Blue Flag” status beaches to explore, including Robberg 5, Lookout Beach, Keurboomstrand, The Dunes, The Singing Kettle and Nature’s Valley. Beachcombers can search for ocean treasures such as rare pansy shells and shark egg cases.

Take an adrenaline pumping boat ride with Ocean Blue Adventures. Launch from the beach through the surf in a 400-horsepower speedboat. Knowledgeable guides and skippers at this pioneering eco-tour agency treat guests to close encounters with some of the visiting whales. Ocean Blue Adventures is one of only two permitted whale watching companies in the Plettenberg Bay area and may approach whales up to 50 metres. Learn about the phenomenal abilities of the local dolphin species and take a closer look at a vast seal colony at the Robberg Marine Protected Area.

Take to the skies to appreciate a bird’s eye view of marine diversity. Helicopters Plett offers scenic tours of the bay. Book a thrilling flight in a private helicopter and enjoy the breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and pristine beaches. A helicopter flip provides a unique vantage point for observing whales as they migrate, mate and nurse their calves. The Southern Right Whales can often be seen breaching, spouting, spy-hopping, and swimming in the azure waters below.

After a memorable day of eco-touring, retire to the tranquillity of the Plettenberg Hotel. Indulge in a pampering treatment at the Fresh Wellness Spa. Select from a range of relaxing full body massages including Aromatherapy, Hot Stone, or Swedish massage techniques. Linger over a signature mixed cocktail at the Sandbar, as you watch the horizon. Savour the bounty of the ocean with a gourmet meal at The Restaurant while admiring mesmerising sunset vistas. Browse the sustainable seafood offerings on the á la carte menu including the fragrant mussel pot, crispy calamari, and local line fish, served with black garlic risotto. What’s left to do but raise a glass, and salute the amazing sights, sounds and memories of Plettenberg Bay?


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