About

False Bay

Situated at the the extreme south-west of Africa, False Bay is watched over by towering cliffs. The mouth of the bay is guarded by two grand peaks: Cape Hangklip in the East and Cape Point in the West. Popular myth suggests that this is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. The truth is that False Bay falls firmly within the Atlantic, but is it here that two great ocean currents mix: the cold, nutrient-rich Benguela that flows sluggishly along the West coast & the warm Aghulas to the East. This creates unique conditions where an abundant and diverse variety of marine life thrives.

The bay is animated by a fascinating community of animals that changes with the seasons. All year round, your typical sightings may include Cape fur seals, Brydes whales, 4 species of dolphins (common, bottlenose, dusky & humpback), penguins & other sea birds, sharks, sun fish and other epic surprises…

On a few very rare occasions, the hunters become hunted when killer whales move in to prey on dolphins & even sharks! We have witnessed numerous killer whale predations on dolphins and False Bay has also become a favourite haunt for Port and Starboard, a distinctive pair of shark eating orcas whose grisly attacks have caused large shark species to flee the bay for weeks at a time.

In winter, gentle northerly winds bring cool, clear water and the bay can be so calm, it becomes a lake. This is also the season during which the newly weaned Cape fur seal pups have to leave Seal Island in search of food. Each morning they must risk landing up in the jaws of the great white sharks that hunt in the early light. It’s also when Southern Right & Humpback whales migrate to South Africa’s coast.

These whales are one of the greatest conservation stories of our time. For centuries, the large-scale whaling industry operated in many other parts of the world, including False Bay. This practice almost decimated the global whale population, but fortunately legislation introduced during the 1930’s saved them from extinction and today South Africa’s whales are one of the largest and most successful populations in the world. False Bay is a thriving & secure haven for whales and is now recognised as a premier whale watching destination. They come here to mate and to get away from the icy & stormy Antarctic winters. Females give birth and raise their young in the calm protected shallows and watching their interactions and exuberant displays right next to our boat is a life changing experience.

In summer, the whales have gone South and a whole new variety of migrant animals arrive. Huge super pods of common dolphins charge in, following large shoals of fish that move into the shallows. They are accompanied by massive flocks of Cape gannets, shearwaters, terns & petrels. Bait balls are feasted upon by Brydes whales and Cape fur seals, while sea-birds dive-bomb from above – this often rivals the annual “Sardine Run” that takes place up the east coast of South Africa.

October & November is the main breeding season for Cape fur seals, when the massive bulls come ashore on Seal Island and collect harems of about 20 females. The seal population grows to over 74 000 seals over the mating period, including about 20 000 adorable pups. Uniquely, Cape fur seals mate only 6 days after giving birth & fall pregnant 4 months later – a process known as delayed implantation.

On calm days at Cape Point – a coastal reserve framed by dramatic cliffs, where birds nest in rocky outcrops & crevices – you can look down long kelp fronds all the way to the sea floor and observe the life below. There’s even a family of sea otters we’ve seen occasionally.

It’s impossible to predict all that you will encounter during a boat trip in False Bay, as is the case with land safaris, marine wildlife is dynamic and unpredictable. However, we can guarantee breathtaking scenery of the magnificent mountain ranges that cradle the bay (providing shelter from the open ocean swells & winds) and a wealth of stories shared by our experienced guides.

About

False Bay

Situated at the the extreme south-west of Africa, False Bay is watched over by towering cliffs. The mouth of the bay is guarded by two grand peaks: Cape Hangklip in the East and Cape Point in the West. Popular myth suggests that this is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. The truth is that False Bay falls firmly within the Atlantic, but is it here that two great ocean currents mix: the cold, nutrient-rich Benguela that flows sluggishly along the West coast & the warm Aghulas to the East. This creates unique conditions where an abundant and diverse variety of marine life thrives.

The bay is animated by a fascinating community of animals that changes with the seasons. All year round, your typical sightings may include Cape fur seals, Brydes whales, 4 species of dolphins (common, bottlenose, dusky & humpback), penguins & other sea birds, sharks, sun fish and other epic surprises…

On a few very rare occasions, the hunters become hunted when killer whales move in to prey on dolphins & even sharks! We have witnessed numerous killer whale predations on dolphins and False Bay has also become a favourite haunt for Port and Starboard, a distinctive pair of shark eating orcas whose grisly attacks have caused large shark species to flee the bay for weeks at a time.

In winter, gentle northerly winds bring cool, clear water and the bay can be so calm, it becomes a lake. This is also the season during which the newly weaned Cape fur seal pups have to leave Seal Island in search of food. Each morning they must risk landing up in the jaws of the great white sharks that hunt in the early light. It’s also when Southern Right & Humpback whales migrate to South Africa’s coast.

These whales are one of the greatest conservation stories of our time. For centuries, the large-scale whaling industry operated in many other parts of the world, including False Bay. This practice almost decimated the global whale population, but fortunately legislation introduced during the 1930’s saved them from extinction and today South Africa’s whales are one of the largest and most successful populations in the world. False Bay is a thriving & secure haven for whales and is now recognised as a premier whale watching destination. They come here to mate and to get away from the icy & stormy Antarctic winters. Females give birth and raise their young in the calm protected shallows and watching their interactions and exuberant displays right next to our boat is a life changing experience.

In summer, the whales have gone South and a whole new variety of migrant animals arrive. Huge super pods of common dolphins charge in, following large shoals of fish that move into the shallows. They are accompanied by massive flocks of Cape gannets, shearwaters, terns & petrels. Bait balls are feasted upon by Brydes whales and Cape fur seals, while sea-birds dive-bomb from above – this often rivals the annual “Sardine Run” that takes place up the east coast of South Africa.

October & November is the main breeding season for Cape fur seals, when the massive bulls come ashore on Seal Island and collect harems of about 20 females. The seal population grows to over 74 000 seals over the mating period, including about 20 000 adorable pups. Uniquely, Cape fur seals mate only 6 days after giving birth & fall pregnant 4 months later – a process known as delayed implantation.

On calm days at Cape Point – a coastal reserve framed by dramatic cliffs, where birds nest in rocky outcrops & crevices – you can look down long kelp fronds all the way to the sea floor and observe the life below. There’s even a family of sea otters we’ve seen occasionally.

It’s impossible to predict all that you will encounter during a boat trip in False Bay, as is the case with land safaris, marine wildlife is dynamic and unpredictable. However, we can guarantee breathtaking scenery of the magnificent mountain ranges that cradle the bay (providing shelter from the open ocean swells & winds) and a wealth of stories shared by our experienced guides.