Where in the world are you treated to whales, penguins, seals, dolphins and bird life on a four-hour cruise?
Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape boasts a plethora of ocean life complete with a Sustainable Seas Trust, Hope Spot.
Algoa Bay in Port Elizabeth is a designated Hot Spot – a conservation area that is critical to health of the ocean. The bay incorporates two island groups and is home to the largest populations of African penguins in the world. It is a protected refuge for calving whales, large pods of bottlenose dolphin and humpback dolphins and visiting orcas are not an uncommon sight.
“This is something pretty amazing for South Africa and it would be great if some of the tour operators could potentially start looking at packaging Hope Spot itineraries through South Africa,” said Doné Louw, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism Co-ordinator – Trade and Destination Pass.
He said it could be something quite unique that was not available anywhere else in the world.
Bradley Brouwer, South African Tourism President: Asia Pacific, recently visited Nelson Mandela Bay and praised the Port Elizabeth ocean safari.
“It has taken the Asian markets and other key markets by storm. The Port Elizabeth ocean safari helps differentiate South Africa’s land safari offerings by adding ocean safaris with lots to offer,” he said.
St Croix, Algoa Bay is home to the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world.
On a recent ocean safari with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, Brouwer said the tour group saw about 400 bottlenose dolphins, thousands of African penguins in their natural habitat, seals, orcas and sea birds diving for fish in the ocean. “All in one trip of four hours. It is incredible!”
He added that this put South Africa in another league as we are now seen as “the safari giants with even greater safari experiences”.
Raggy Charters is the only licensed boat-based whale and dolphin watching permit holder in the Port Elizabeth area.
Lloyd Edwards conservationist, wildlife educator and marine safari specialist offers guided whale watching, dolphin watching and African penguin watching cruises in South Africa.
The wildlife and whale watching boat cruises possibly cover the longest distance of any ocean safari along the South African coast, lasting for 3-4 hours and covering 50km.
There are six Hope Spots in South Africa including Aliwal Shoal in KwaZulu-Natal, Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape and Plett, Knysna and the Cape Whale Coast (Hermanus area) and False Bay in the Western Cape.