Portal cover

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

Hi. The Ocean Odyssey Whale Watching Team were all superb. I met a few of the admin staff when I went to the office to book our trip, all went well and they followed up nearer the time with a phone call reminder. All was ready and happy when our group of 10 arrived. The boat staff knew their jobs and did them well. No improvements required anywhere !! Regards Gill Thomas, Sedgefield - Gill Thomas

What an amazing experience. The service was excellent, and the boat trip was amazing, the Skipper, Johannes, was very nice and gave a lovely tour. - Sherilee Steenkamp

Me and my guests were once again blown away! To be able to come this close to nature, but also showing respect for the majestic creature that they are, was a truly humbling experience. Skipper Stefan showed his exceptional skills taking us through a 'washing machine' at the Heads, but made it a fun experience. Can't wait for my next trip! - Louise Huisamen

Fantastic experience... thank you to the skilled, competent, enthusiastic and friendly staff of Ocean Odyssey. We felt safe and at ease on the great open ocean, knowing that they were in charge. We came very close to a beautiful breaching whale. It was an extraordinary, memorable and breathtaking sight which was made possible by them. Highly recommended... - Marina Greeff

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

© 2019 Tornado Tour Systems (Pty) Ltd ta Activitar.

Help and Support