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Posted on: Monday, 16 September 2013

Whale Watching with Ocean Odyssey in the Garden Route

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Knysna is one of the most popular destination towns along the esteemed Garden Route of South Africa. It is aesthetically charming, surrounded by magnificent natural landscapes and home to an abundance of attractions and activities. Knysna has a calm lagoon, which leads out to the Indian Ocean through a dramatic passage created by the twin mountain peaks known as The Knysna Heads. Beyond the peaceful lagoon lies a world of exciting exploration on the wild waters of the ocean …


Whale Watching with Ocean Odyssey
Photograph: Boat-based Whale Watching with Ocean Odyssey

Every year, between about July and December, whales skirt the coastline of South Africa as they migrate for the purposes of calving and mating in the warmer waters (a welcome change from their icy Antarctic habitat). Usually, they come very close to the shore, delighting onlookers as they breach, spyhop and lobtail; often peeping out from the sea to catch a glimpse of their human audience. However, because the Knysna coastline is somewhat detached from where the people are (with the lagoon creating a massive distance between the sea and the shore), the Ocean Odyssey Whale Watching power cats are on hand to provide magnificent whale watching opportunities.

There are two power cats, the Ocean Odyssey and the Oyster Catcher, and both are built to hit the ocean and approach the whales safely and unobtrusively, giving the passengers the best possible views while not stressing or endangering the gentle marine giants at all. The passage through the Knysna Heads is a beautiful and exciting one, opening the way for a day spent spotting the playful antics of humpback and southern right whales.


Whale Watching with Ocean Odyssey
Photograph: Heading out to see  the Whales

These boats make daily trips and there are a number of packages from which to choose. Whether your experience comprises a group of friends and family, or you wish to undertake a trip on the waters as an individual, Ocean Odyssey is able to accommodate you with comfort and hospitality.

This is the only service in Knysna that has the licence to conduct whale watching tours of this kind, and they have permission to approach the whales within 50 metres. However, if the whale chooses to approach the boat, they are not obligated to continue to create this distance. So, some fortunate spectators have had the privilege of seeing the animals much closer to the boat. During peak season, the Ocean Odyssey enjoys a 95% success rate of seeing whales.

In addition to whales, passengers frequently see dolphins, sharks, seals and a huge variety of marine birds. The experienced and knowledgeable guides are able to provide interesting insights into these animals, as well as the history of the region, its shipwrecks, and so on. This enriches the tour that much more. These other animals can be seen almost all year round.


Whale Watching with Ocean Odyssey
Photograph: Incredible boat-based Whale Watching with Ocean Odyssey

These eco-friendly boat trips depart from the Thesen Harbour Town jetty on Thesen Island and take about two to 2.5 hours. Sunset cruises are also available, and ultimately romantic.

The town of Knysna is a wonderland of history, shopping and natural beauty, with plenty to see and do before and after viewing the impressive whales. It is a gorgeous honeymoon destination, accommodation in knysna is plentiful, and it’s a prime family vacation hotspot.

Note: All photographs with thanks to and © Ocean Odyssey


Whale Watching with Ocean Odyssey



Telephone: +27(0)82 470 6022
Physical address: Thesen Harbor town commercial jetties
GPS: S 34.02’53 – E 23.02’51


Whale Watching Garden Route

Whale Watching Garden Route

Whale Watching Garden Route


Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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