Plettenberg Bay celebrates World Whale Heritage status ahead of Tourism Month

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The Western Cape Tourism Department has chosen Plettenberg Bay in the Garden Route as the focal point to celebrate and emphasise the role of tourism and hospitality in the province as Tourism Month approaches.

Plettenberg Bay, now a World Whale Heritage Site, is one of only seven such sites worldwide. This designation acknowledges the bay’s significance as a gathering place for the massive and gentle ocean creatures, attracting numerous visitors. The new whale status also provides a significant boost to the local economy.

Located in the picturesque Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay is one of three whale heritage sites globally. The town’s recognition stems from its commitment to supporting rich marine biodiversity and ocean wildlife. Situated between two Marine Protected Areas, Robberg and Tsitsikamma, Plettenberg Bay is ideally positioned for scientific research and various marine tourism activities, including whale and dolphin watching.

Plettenberg Bay’s newfound status as a world whale heritage site has attracted scores of local and international visitors, significantly bolstering the local tourism sector and contributing to economic growth.

Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, recently had the opportunity to witness the majestic whales in action. Wenger expressed her excitement about Plettenberg Bay’s achievement, stating, “It’s a fantastic achievement for Plett to be named as one of the very few world whale heritage sites globally, and this year, in particular, has seen one of the best whale sightings on record. I was fortunate enough to be on the water, and there were about 23 whales in the bay. This is a wonderful way to observe these majestic animals in a sustainable and responsible manner, promoting tourism that is environmentally conscious.”

Every year, various whale species migrate to the warmer waters of Plettenberg Bay to give birth. Humpback Whales, Southern Right Whales, Bryde’s Whales, and Killer Whales have all been spotted in the bay. Patty Butterworth, CEO of Plett Tourism, expressed enthusiasm about the World Whale Heritage Site status, emphasising its alignment with Plettenberg Bay’s tourism goals.

Butterworth explained, “Plett’s whale season typically spans from May to October. We are very excited about this award because it underscores our commitment to maintaining the integrity of brand Plett, as well as our coastline, in a sustainable and responsible manner.”

As the whale season in Plettenberg Bay nears its end, these magnificent creatures will continue nurturing their calves before embarking on their migration back to the icy waters of the Antarctic.

Whale season kicks off on SA’s East and West coast: