Africa is well known as THE location to catch a glimpse of the Big 5 safari animals, but these are of course land-based animals; South Africa has a growing reputation as the place to go to see the Marine 5. Whales, sharks, seals, penguins and dolphins; spectacular coastline and a chance to see these amazing ocean creatures in their natural habitat, tells you all you need to know about just why it’s so popular.
One of the optimum locations for sightings can be found just a 2-hour drive from Cape Town, here the rustic coastline of Gansbaai and Dyer Island awaits. Gansbaai is a unique, unspoilt natural setting on the Western Cape’s “Whale Coast”, perfect for the marine enthusiast and nature lover. Located off the coast of Gansbaai, Dyer Island is famous for its colony of African penguins; the island is a varied and beautiful wildlife marine biome that has been recognised as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
For fabulous tours in this area, the award-winning Dyer Island Cruises is based near Hermanus and Cape Town and offers amazing whale watching and other eco boat-tours around Dyer Island to view whales, dolphins, seals and marine birds. One of the highlights of their tours is the fantastic new custom-built boat, the Dream Catcher; comfortable, safe and with a fantastic observation deck, it’s got to be the best way to view whales. The company’s motto is ‘Discover and Protect’ and this is exactly how they operate; they have been a Fair Trade certified company since 2008 and also proudly bear the Blue Flag boat accreditation. The crew is a major part of your experience on a boat cruise and with Dyer Island Cruises you can relax knowing that you are in great hands; their unparalleled expert knowledge and passion about conservation shines through.
If being off the boat and in the water rather gets your adrenaline pumping, then sister company of Dyer Island Cruises, Marine Dynamics, specialises in Great White Shark diving excursions. The fascinating and educational tours show you how to distinguish between a male and female shark as well as how to identify the specific shark using its unique dorsal fin and scars. The tours involve a short boat trip onboard their custom-designed luxury boat, Slashfin, to the dive site then let the excitement commence with the cage diving! Marine Dynamics were winners of the African Responsible Tourism Award 2015 and the Lilizela Award for Best Marine Experience in South Africa so you’re in very safe hands.
There’s a range of tours that you can take with Dyer Island Cruises and Marine Dynamics:
- The Marine Big 5 trip is a boat-based whale watching tour giving you the chance to spot as many of the big 5 as you can. It’s educational too, an onboard marine biologist will be on hand to teach you all about these fascinating creatures
- For a much closer encounter, the Shark Cage Diving and Viewing Trip has got to be the one! As well as the chance to view the sharks up close and personally in the cage, you learn a great deal about the legendary great white shark and the conservation work that goes into protecting this spectacular species
- For a wonderful birding experience and the opportunity to photograph albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters at close range, Dyer Island Cruises run a Pelagic Encounters boat tour
- How about an entirely different viewpoint? The company also offers a plane based wildlife viewing tour where you take to the skies and gain a unique view of the breathtaking coastline
From however you actually choose to view these magnificent marine animals, the experience is sure to be magical, memorable and humbling and you can be confident that you’re in great hands with Dyer Island Cruises and Marine Dynamics.
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