South Africa is one of the best destinations in the world for whale watching and the winter months provide the perfect opportunity to spot Southern Right Whales, as they migrate from Antarctica to mate and rear their calves in the warmer climates of South Africa from June until November.
TV presenter and whale expert Mark Carwardine, has teamed up with leading optic specialists SWAROVSKI OPTIK, to offer a selection of top tips on the best places to whale watch this season and what viewers can expect to see.
From spotting whales from the comfort of a hotel room to stopping off at viewing sites along the famous Whale Route, a pair of SWAROVSKI OPTIK EL 32 binoculars will enhance any experience. Combining an ample 141-metre field-of-view with an 8x magnification, the EL 8×32 binoculars enables wildlife enthusiasts to view a steady picture in any situation and discover the beauty of nature. The unique ergonomic design and EL wrap-around grip, ensure the binoculars fit perfectly into your hand and are the ideal choice where size and weight are important factors.
Top tips from Mark Carwardine on the best places to spot whales in South Africa and what viewers can expect to see include:
- Head to the whale capital of South Africa: Whales can be spotted from the West Coast of South Africa, around the Cape Peninsula, all the way to the Mozambique border and even from Cape Town itself. However, perhaps the most famous hotspot is Hermanus which holds a Whales Watching Festival every September and even has an official Whale Crier alerting shore-based watchers to the whereabouts of whales by blowing a coded message on a horn made of kelp.
- Whale watching from the comfort of your hotel room: Southern Right Whales can be seen playing, courting and nursing their newborn calves sometime just a few metres from shore so try watching them from the comfort of your hotel bed. Just check-in to a hotel overlooking the sea (such as The Marine, one of South Africa’s most spectacular seaside hotels, or the more affordable The Windsor), push the bed up against the window, order a drink of choice, grab your binoculars and watch whales cavorting in the bay below.
- Drive along the world-famous Whale Route: a meandering scenic road along the South African coastline dotted with whale viewing sites.
- Spotting Southern Right Whales: look for an enormous, rounded, jet-black back (unlike most other whales it doesn’t have a dorsal fin) and a distinctive head covered in callosities which acts like a fingerprint and are used by scientists to tell one whale from another. It also has a tall and unique V-shaped blow or spout.
- What to Pack: Ensure to take a good camera, hat, sun cream and of course a good quality pair of binoculars such as SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s EL 32 ensuring a crystal-clear and outstanding field of view.
- Surface Activity: Southern Right Whales are very active at the surface and it’s quite common to see them breaching (leaping into the air and falling back into the water with a huge splash) and lobtailing (slapping the surface of the sea with their tails)
- Other Wildlife to Spot: Don’t forget to keep an eye out for other species, such as humpbacks, Bryde’s whales, surfing bottlenose dolphins and, on the west coast, rare and exceptionally beautiful Heaviside’s dolphins, as well as a host of other wildlife from African penguins to Cape fur seals.
The world belongs to those who can see beauty.
Experience the moment!
SEE THE UNSEEN.
Image 1: TV Presenter and wildlife expert Mark Carwardine
Image 2: SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s EL 8 x 32 binoculars in sand-brown colour
Image 3: Aerial shot of a mating group of Southern Right Whales on Western Cape in South Africa. Image courtesy of Mark Carwardine.
ABOUT SWAROVSKI OPTIK
SWAROVSKI OPTIK, headquartered in Absam, Tyrol, is part of the Swarovski group of companies. Founded in 1949, the Austrian company specialises in the development and manufacturing of long-range optical instruments of the highest precision in the premium segment of the market. The binoculars, spotting scopes and optronic instruments are products of choice for demanding users. The company’s success is based on its innovative strength, the quality and intrinsic value of its products and their functional and aesthetic design. The appreciation of nature is an essential part of its company philosophy and is reflected commendably in its environmentally-friendly production and its long-term commitment to selected nature conservation projects. The turnover in 2016 was 140 million euro (2015: 132 million euro) and the export ratio is 91%. The company has around 850 employees.
ABOUT MARK CARWARDINE
Mark Carwardine is a zoologist, an outspoken conservationist, an award-winning writer, a TV and radio presenter, a widely-published wildlife photographer, a best-selling author, a wildlife tour operator and leader, and a magazine columnist. Mark is also a renowned whale expert and has written umpteen books on cetaceans over the years – including the handbook Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises (now out of print), which was one of the best-selling natural history books of all time and the recently published Mark Carwardine’s Guide to Whale Watching in Britain and Europe and Mark Carwardine’s Guide to Whale Watching in North America. For further details on Mark Carwardine visit www.markcarwardine.com.
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