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THE WHALE TRAIL OF SOUTH AFRICA (article first published : 2008-08-15)

The South African Whale Route stretches from Paternoster/Saldanha Bay on the West Coast (Atlantic), south around the Cape of Good Hope, and some 2,500 kilometres northeast to Kosi Bay in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (St. Lucia), a World Heritage Site, just south of the Mozambican border on the Indian Ocean.

Southern right whales leave Antarctica in May/June, and swim thousands of kilometres to mate, calve and entertain whale-watchers along the coast. When they leave, the humpback whales arrive with their calves. Enthusiasts have the option of land-based viewing - with excellent opportunities in the Cape’s Stillbaai, Witsand, Hermanus (the self-proclaimed whale-watching capital of the world, with its own whale crier!), De Kelders near Gansbaai, as well as along the breathtakingly scenic Garden Route at Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay - and northeast up through the Wild Coast and finally to the Dolphin Coast of northern Zululand. Boat-based expeditions are also growing in popularity and offer whale-watchers a chance to get up-close and personal with these wondrous denizens of the deep.

The Whale Trail of South Africa by Allan Davie offers visitors and enthusiasts all they need to know to plan a whale-watching trip - and will teach you the meaning of blowing, breaching, lobtailing, spy-hopping and grunting!

For Allan Davie, it all began with a fascination with dinosaurs at a young age and names like Stegosaurus and Dimetrodon featured large in his vocabulary, leading to degrees in geology from the Natal, Rhodes and Leeds universities. He has an enduring interest in the natural world, the evolution of life and Earth history, rivalled by an almost equal passion for travel, having wandered widely on all the continents except Antarctica, which is still an aspiration. He is a contributor of earth-science articles for the Natal Witness, publishes a blog titled Romancing the Stone and runs Old Canvas’s earth-science workshops for those who might be interested. When he isn’t expounding on some aspect of our natural world he enjoys the Natal Midlands life, cold weather and hitting the open road in his trusty old Land Rover.

The Whale Trail of South Africa is easy to use, entertaining and “packed with cool stuff”, promise the promoters! It also focuses on a specific and growing area of eco-tourism and highlights one of South Africa’s foremost, but endangered, natural resources.

The Whale Trail of South Africa: a Southbound Pocket Guide is published in paperback and retails at R79.95. ISBN 9781920143244.




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