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Knysna Whale Watching - Close Encounter (June - Nov)


Activity Description

Ocean Odyssey is Knysna’s only official whale watching permit holder, allowing the us to approach whales to within 50m; if the whale chooses to come closer, we don’t have to move away. With a maximum of 25 passengers on board, personal service is guaranteed.

During the tour, stops are made to watch whales, dolphins, sharks and seals, as well as any seabirds that may be encountered. Other interesting features pointed out to clients include cultural facts, shipwrecks, geology, bird colonies and anecdotal information.

Inshore we’re always on the lookout for Humpback dolphins and Bottlenose dolphins. We see dolphins on 80% of cruises year around.

In the deep water we’re in search of common dolphins and Bryde’s whales. The Bryde’s whale is resident in Knysna, and sighted on approximately 70% of cruises year around. Common dolphins are known for their large group sizes, in Knysna the largest group we’ve seen during a cruise, was approximately 10,000 individuals.

During whale season, we have regular sightings of Southern Right whales and Humpback whales. Both species travel to South African waters for their breeding season. During peak whale season we spot whales on 95% of cruises.


Duration2 hours
WhenFrom June to November
WherePlease arrive 15minutes before your booking start time. Start Location: Company: Ocean Odyssey Charters & retail shop TH 44, Long street Thesen Harbour Town Knysna Directions to our offices for check-in on Thesen Isle, From George direction drive into Knysna on N2. Turn right at the traffic lights onto Waterfront drive. Follow the road until the second set of traffic lights, turn right onto Long Street, head all the way down the road till the roundabout, follow the roundabout to the right, find us on the right opposite “Big Blue the whale sculpture”. From Plettenberg Bay direction: Drive into Knysna on N2 at third set of traffic lights keep Left onto Waterfront Drive, first set of traffic lights turn left onto Long Street. head all the way down the road till the roundabout follow the roundabout to the right, find us on the right opposite “Big Blue the whale sculpture”.
WeatherAll trips through the Knysna Heads and out to sea are dependent on weather and sea conditions. Only the skipper is able to make a decision whether the cruise can depart. This decision is made according to wind direction and speed, sea swell and tide. This decision can only be made on the day of the cruise.
What to WearWind breaker or jumper
Things to BringCamera
Guests or SpectatorsOnly paid guests on board


Minimum Age3 years
Minimum Height0.0 m
Maximum Height0.0 m
Fitness LevelNo Fitness Requirement
QualificationsNot Applicable
Maximum Weight0.0 kg
CertificationNone Required
Experience LevelNo Experience Requirement

Inclusions and Exclusions

InclusionsBottle of water
ExclusionsFood is not allowed on this tour.


Minimum of 4 guests required to run this trip.
Trip duration is 1½ – 2 hours, depending on conditions.
Children welcome, no experience necessary

Customer Reviews

My wife Lynda, daughter Becky and I had a wonderful experience, with the close encounter tour on the 5th August. We saw a large amount of Whales, jumping and what seemed like "Playing" in the water. it was truly and exception experience and I would recommend to anyone. Water was a bit choppy especially on the return trip, but were asked the day before to change from the 3.00 pm to 12 pm, which we were able to do, and therefore not miss out on the incredible experience (advise light meal and travel tablets (Both my daughter and wife normally suffer from sea sickness, not this time, partly due to reading the advise on the website The Captain was fantastic, and helped my wife who has a back injury, and he was checking constantly that she was okay and the waves were not hurting her back 5 star service - Christopher Reed

It was a fantastic experience!!. We appreciated a lot Johannes (our guide). Thanks! - Eva María Carrasco Carrascal

Spectacular, life-changing, jaw-dropping! As always! xxx - Louise Huisamen - Madison Manor

This was our second visit and again really enjoyed the experience.the skipper was very knowledgeable and informative.the sea was very rough and he expertly manoeuvred the boat.All staff involved were very helpful.I am pleased that the option not to go out was given too as two of our party decided not to go as they would not have enjoyed it.i hope we'll be back.I will upload a photo from my camera later.thankyou. - elaine booked for guests - Family Taylor to pay on checkin

Fantastic. A perfect last day to our holiday ,had originally booked for the Sunday which was unfortunately cancelled due to sea conditions. Rebooked for the Tuesday on their advise. Went out And first saw the seals then saw a family of humpback whales,one calf with its parents. On the way back in we saw dolphins. A wonderful experience made better by the knowledge and wit of the skipper and his mate. Would recommend it to anyone. - MR JOHN MCDOWALL

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