Whale Watching in St. Lucia South Africa, an Unforgettable Experience

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Whale watching in St. Lucia South Africa was a new experience. I learned that you should never start off a whale-watching trip by saying I never get seasick.

High waves right before we went whale watching in St Lucia, South Africa

Despite looking at the high seas, I pressed my luck and said it anyway. I think you can imagine how the rest of the trip went. Yes, predictably I did get sick, as did half of the other people on our boat. But despite getting sick, the whale-watching trip I did in St. Lucia South Africa was one of the best whale-watching trips I’ve ever done! 

Whale Watching in St. Lucia South Africa

Why you may ask?  Well for one, we actually saw whales.  You might think that’s a given on a whale-watching trip, but not from my experience.  Not only did we see whales, but a small pod of migrating humpbacks stopped long enough to put on a show –  just meters from our boat, leaping out of the water and diving back in, their tails waving a temporary goodbye.

Humpback whale sightings offer the most incredible cure for seasickness.

Within minutes of seeing them, I forgot I was sick. I continued to be amazed for a good 45 minutes.

Whale spray, the actual whale missed by seconds while taking photos on a whale watching excursion in St. Lucia, South Africa

I snapped photos like crazy, but quickly learned that a recovering stomach, rocky boat, and big waves are not exactly ideal shooting conditions, as photo after photo turned out like this:

Always a second or two too late – although I must say my splash-capturing skills are excellent 🙂

So I did the unthinkable for a travel blogger…..I put the camera away.  Instead of focusing on trying to get the perfect shot, I focused on the incredible whales that were just meters from me.

I’m so glad I did.

If you can’t give all your attention to one of the largest mammals on earth what will hold your attention?

Humpback whale tail seen while whale watching in St. Lucia, South Africa
Humpback Whale watching in St. Lucia, South Africa

REALLY experiencing the whales was so much more rewarding than experiencing them from behind a camera. The only actual shot I got  to show that there really were humpbacks was this one:

But I’m happy to share this one with you courtesy of Heritage Tours and Safaris:

A Few Fun Facts About Humpback Whales

The primary reason that Humpback whales migrate is for breeding purposes. They usually leave southern waters when winter starts to set in, in search of warmer waters in northern waters.

South Africa is a perfect place for watching whales and you are guaranteed a sighting almost every season. The migration is long and difficult and considering that some countries such as Japan still take part in whaling, it is also dangerous. 

Humpback whales breach (lift out of the water) for several reasons. To eliminate parasites, to communicate, and just for fun.

They can live up to 50 years and one of the longest migrations ever recorded was 18 840km. That is spectacular considering their size and weight. They really are beautiful and gentle giants that are fascinating to watch. 

Know Before You Go Whale Watching in St Lucia/iSimangaliso Wetland Park:

  • Heritage Tours and Safaris offers 2-hour whale-watching excursions from June – November when humpbacks are migrating.
  • Whale sightings are virtually guaranteed during this time.
  • All whale watching excursions are weather dependent.  If the seas are too rough, your trip may be canceled.
  • Eat a light breakfast (I learned from experience).
  • Be sure to check out the Hippo and Croc Tour, iSimangaliso Eastern Shores Tour, and Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve all located in or near iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • I recommend staying at Umlilo Lodge in St. Lucia.
  • Whales are not the only reason to brave the waves of St. Lucia, it is also possible to spot dolphins and whale sharks. It is also a popular area for fly fishing. 

Whale watching in St. Lucia South Africa did not disappoint in any way and I highly recommend it. Where have you been whale watching? 

This post has been updated and republished.