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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in South Africa

Spot dolphins on an eco-marine tour of Plettenberg Bay

Thousands of common dolphins can surround the boat, playing and leaping through the waves …

By Cameron Reeder
Tour Guide for Ocean Blue Adventures, Alfred&'s partner in South Africa

Spot dolphins and marine life on this eco-friendly boat trip in Plettenberg Bay, which is a protected marine reserve. The trip lasts around an hour and a half and begins with an exciting beach launch, which passengers often say is a highlight. The boat gets dragged along by a tractor and launched off a trailer – it’s a thrilling, James Bond style experience.

The geography of Plettenberg Bay is very special, we have Robberg peninsula that sticks out into the ocean, creating a half-moon shaped bay that stops a lot of open-water swells, so we have calm seas throughout the year. We’re blessed to have two marine protected areas which promote the growth of smaller fish species that attract whales, dolphins, seals and sharks. Also, the view from the ocean is unreal, you have the Tsitsikamma Mountain range in the background covered with indigenous forest.

We cruise alongside Keurbooms beach towards Arch Rock. This is where we usually spot humpback dolphins, which are a very endangered species, there’s only about 500 left in South Africa – I’ve been lucky enough to see pods of up to 20 at a time here. We normally see bottlenose dolphins too and an offshore species called the common dolphin. They live in huge groups, so thousands can surround the boat. They’re the fastest type of dolphin too, the way they propel themselves through the water is just amazing.

I can also guarantee that you’ll see plenty of seabirds, including Cape gannets diving into the water after fish. We always sail past the cliffs of Robberg too, where there’s a colony of 7,000 Cape fur seals. Since the water is usually crystal clear, we often see great white sharks who come here to hunt. Sometimes, there’s a big bait ball in the water – a bunch of fish eating other fish – which causes a feeding frenzy. Birds will be diving into the ball while there’s a whale on the left, seals and dolphins on the right.

At Ocean Blue, we’re all passionate about marine conservation, which shines through for our guests. Thanks to our ethical approach, we’ve had a whale-watching permit for many years now, which allows us to carefully approach whales up to a distance of 50 metres, for a limited amount of time. We also give a certain amount of our profits to the Orca Foundation for conservation work and research. Overall, guests tell us that they just love being out on the ocean, learning about marine life and taking in the scenery.

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  • Adventure
  • Scenery
  • Trips to take
  • Wildlife

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Alfred & Cameron Reeder

Cameron Reeder grew up on the coast and developed a deep love of the ocean. A keen surfer, he worked as a lifeguard before completing his guiding qualification and joining Ocean Blue Adventures in 2017. Cameron is now an experienced marine guide and skipper who loves sharing his passion for nature, the ocean and conservation with guests. One of his career highlights was studying great white shark hunting behaviour in Plettenberg with the ORCA Foundation.
Cameron Reeder, Plettenberg bay marine and Robberg hike guide

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Andy, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656