Southern Right Charters, Hermanus
Observing not disturbing. Setting the standards in boat-based whale watching in South Africa.
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Southern Right Charters at a glance...
We usually encounter southern right whales, seals, penguins, marine birds and often see Bryde’s whales, dolphins and humpback whales on our whale watching trips.
Southern Right Charters is a respected operator which has been in business since 1999.
Southern Right Charters offers boat-based whale watching tours from the New Harbour in Hermanus, the Capital of the Cape Whale Coast, and operates within the local waters of Walker Bay, regarded as one of the best whale watching areas in the world.
The company is progressive and environmentally sensitive and as a licensed permit holder operates under our motto of: Observing NOT Disturbing , the safety and conservation of the whales and marine life is principal. Under this ethos the company believes it is its obligation to ensure the service offered is informative and educational.
Safety is a priority during all whale watching Hermanus tours and the company ensures that the experience is safe and conducted in a professional and responsible manner at all times.
Our permit entitles us to approach the whales up to 50m and then we stop to observe. Being naturally curious, the whales normally approach the boat to observe us! This is an inspirational experience to be treasured.
During the tour our friendly crew is on hand to make sure you have a great experience, from helping you get the perfect photo opportunity to serving your complimentary light refreshments.
Our Whale Specialist guide will interpret the marine life encountered en route and provide insight into the behaviour of the whales while you are watching them in action. Our interpreter guide keeps our European guests informed throughout the tour and our videographer will ensure that the best footage is captured.
Whales To Look Out For
Southern Right Whales
Annually, from roughly June to December, Hermanus is known as a mecca for whale watching, with the Southern Right Whale’s choosing the area as home.
Estimated Population: 12,000.
In season, well in excess of 100 whales are known to frequent the waters around Hermanus.
The Southern Rights migrate to our area to mate and give birth, choosing the sheltered sandy bays to calve.
Behavior and activity to be seen includes breaching; spyhopping; lobtailling; mating & fluking.
Southern Right Whales are Baleen Whales.
Bryde’s whales are resident to the temperate waters of South Africa, but are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. These whales can regularly be spotted in Hermanus waters all year round.
Estimated Population: Up to 100,000 worldwide, although there is insufficient data at this point for specific population trends.
The Bryde’s whale is a Baleen whale, however, is further classified as part of the Rorqual family which includes whales such as the Humpback whale, Blue whale & Fin whale, the rorqual whales are also gulper feeders as opposed to only skimmer feeders such as the Southern Right Whale.
Like the Southern Right, this whale feeds on krill, copepods & amphipods but also feeds on small pelagic fish. (Pilchard, mackerel, herring & anchovy), they will feed on any shoaling prey in the area and are therefore found wherever there is an abundance of fish.
Brydes whales are regularly spotted, but due to the fact that they are continuously hunting, it makes them fairly elusive for ‘up close & personal’ whale watching.
The Bryde’s whale is slender & has a streamlined body in comparison to other whales; they are easily recognized by their small dorsal fin far down their back and their unique longitudinal ridges along their head.
Bryde’s whales can grow up to 15 metres (50ft) with weights that exceed 15 tons.
Between June and August sightings of the Humpback whales in Hermanus are common as they follow their migratory path towards their breeding grounds in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean.
Estimated Population: Excess of 20,000.
Humpback whale is a Baleen whale, however, is further classified as part of the Rorqual family which includes whales such as the Bryde’s whale, Blue whale & Fin whale, the rorqual whales are also gulper feeders as opposed to only skimmer feeders such as theSouthern Right Whale. The humpback displays over 300 baleen plates on either side of its mouth.
Like the Southern Right, this whale feeds on krill, copepods & amphipods but also feeds on small pelagic fish.
Humpback Whales are easily recognizable by their long flippers, humped back with a dorsal fin, and the distinctive white markings on the underside of their flukes (tails).
Of all the whale species the Humpback has the longest flippers, with the length of one third of their total body length.
The white markings on the underside of a Humpback whales fluke (tail) are unique to each whale, much like the callosities, and a humans fingerprint.
The Humpback whale displays a very impressive ‘breach’ Humpback whales can grow up to 16metres (52ft) with weights that exceed 40 tons.
Miroshca provides superior stability ensuring spectacular Whale watching with superior comfort and safety.
Miroshca is licensed to carry 70 passengers and 5 crew members. The catamaran was specifically designed for Whale watching and leisure cruising.
Enclosed areas for protection from sea spray and weather conditions.
Retractable, transparent blinds to give the option of open-air freshness in good sea conditions.
Surround- sound public address system for optimum communication by the specialist guide on board.
Comfortable indoor and outdoor seating throughout.
Refreshments bar on board – No alcohol is permitted on whale watching trips as per permit regulations; however the bar is licensed and fully stocked for scenic and private cruises out of whale season.
Modern ladies and gents toilets on board.
We pride ourselves on the safety and comfort of our passengers.
Our whale watching boat not only complies but is equipped above the SAMSA regulations ensuring the safety of our passengers. Southern Right Charters Management and Crew are committed to achieving and maintaining a high standard of health and safety both on land and at sea. We will always strive to set the standards of a safe boat-based operation, going beyond our legal obligations to manage any potential risks effectively and provide a safe environment for all involved.
The vessel doubles up on all state of the art safety measures & fully complies with SA Marine Safety Association. The boat is equipped with SAMSA approved life rafts and our vessel rating requires that only children under 12 years of age must wear a life vest whilst on board.
However there are life-vests on board should anyone require one.
The crew is well versed and trained in all aspects of safety at sea.
Safety qualifications and knowledge of crew:
Qualified marine engineer
Marine Fire Fighting
Proficiency in Survival Craft
First Aid at Sea
Southern Right Charters and its crew take pride in its regular involvement in local community initiatives and social events.
Environmental Programmes & Conservation Awareness
The education of our crew, the local community and guests on board is one of the prime functions of Southern Right Charters with the aim of creating awareness for local and international conservation of marine life. Visitors have access to a display of brochures and reading material on marine conservation issues.
Currently Southern Right Charters works closely with the Whale Coast Conservation ‘Eco School’projects and other local schools in offering complimentary whale watching trips to conduct field studies.
Southern Right Charters operates under the ethos of Observing Not Disturbing, the safety and conservation of the whales and marine life is principal. Under this ethos the company believes it is its obligation to ensure the service offered is informative and educational.
During our whale watching tours we endeavor to collect any potential dangers to the marine life and boats in our area. Collection of ‘flotsam’ during the season includes: hundreds of metres of binding tape, rope, buoys and plastic containers.
We also regularly work alongside MCM in the event of Marine Mammal or sea bird injury or death by designating a crew to record, photograph and measure or assist where possible the stricken mammal or bird.
Southern Right Charters Supports:
Southern Right Charters is a long-time supporter of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to raise awareness for large marine mammals.
Southern Right Charters works closely with the Cliff Path Management Group (CPMG) to keep thecliffs and shoreline clean.
Where possible we assist conservation programmes through the donation of funds, such as theStop Rhino Poaching initiative and the SANCOBB adopt a penguin outreach programme.
Southern Right Charters strives to keep its environmental impact at the lowest possible point.
Minimizing waste, energy saving devices & recycling initiatives are implemented and practiced in our operation, including:
Recycling station on land for recyclable materials.
Off-site recycling of non-recyclable & hazardous material.
Implemented plan on reduced consumption of energy and effective waste removal.
Southern Right Charters actively supports a wide range of community projects and initiatives
Some ongoing & previous community development initiative efforts include:
Sponsorship of local events and fundraising.
Donations to charitable organizations, educational institutions & underprivileged youth.
Sponsoring local sport team’s uniforms.
Full sponsorship of educational tours for local schools & organizations.
Funding of community projects & events.
Interest free financing and skills training for small business development.
Business initiatives for the under privileged.
Working with and appointing local suppliers.
Crafters given space & business skills training for sale of handcraft at the Whale Shack.
Provide guests with information regarding local initiatives, activities & community initiatives.
Trip duration is from 1h30 – 3hrs, duration depends on the time spent travelling to the whales.
All trips are weather permitting; cancellation can occur with little prior notice if necessary. Notification of any cancellations will be made telephonically on the day of the booked trip.
Should the trip not take place due to sea conditions, no payment is required.
At the discretion of the skipper, if the tour is unsatisfactory due to no whale sightings the guests may be offered a 50% refund or the option of joining another trip based on availability.
Confirmed Bookings will be released if you/guests have not arrived 15 minutes prior to departure, unless you have called to notify us.
Cancellation terms apply.
In the event of unforeseeable circumstances policies can be amended at the discretion of Southern Right Charters.
Cancellations or amendments to confirmed booking received less than 24hrs before time of trip, 100% cancellation fee will be charged.
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