WATCHING WHALES SINCE 1997 ..............
Ocean Safaris has come a long way from its humble beginnings back in 1997 when sunbathers would be invited off of the beach for a trip on a small inflatable to go look for whales, dolphins and whatever other marine life they could find. In 1999 Ocean Safaris was formerly established as the first Permitted (legal) Whale Watching Company in Plettenberg Bay and the Garden Route. At this point Ocean Safaris started to use twin-hulled ski-boats launched off the beach, allowing for more passengers to be accommodated in greater safety.
Ocean Safaris has a long standing relationship with the South African Boat-Based Whale-Watching Association (SABBWWA), which was started in 1998 in an effort to ensure the responsible and sustainable growth of this new eco-activity in the country. As such, Ocean Safaris has played a pivotal role in establishing the guidelines under which all activities of its type are conducted in South Africa. Some of the regulations to which we adhere include;
Not approaching whales to distances of less than 50 metres. Once at this aproximate distance, we allow the whales to determine the nature and proximity of the encounter. Whales are very curious and tend to swim up to and around the boat.
Not spending more than 20 minutes with a whale, or group of whales, at a time.
No close encounters with mother/calf pairs. This is an extremely sensitive time for both mother and calf and should we find ourselves in close proximity, will move away immediately.
While every appropriate effort is made to ensure a most memorable encounter with the animals, we trust passengers will understand that the welfare of the animals we encounter is at all times of utmost importance. We also ask prospective passengers to take note that we use no technology, such as sonar or satellite transponders to locate the animals we seek. Using our combined local knowledge and eyes, we endeavour to give passengers as varied a perspective of the bays’ marine life, but cannot guarantee any specific sightings or behaviours.
The safety of our passengers is also of great importance to us. Our Skippers are all trained and accredited by the South African Maritime Safety Association and have completed the required SABBWWA modules, qualifying them to perform their respective tasks aboard. While we don’t employ qualified marine biologists, our crew are selected for their passion for the environment and a willingness to share their knowledge and experience with the public.