There are many places where whales, dolphins, whale sharks, stingrays etc. can be seen by a guided boat tour, a snorkel trip or even from the costal line.
Many whales and dolphins are year round at the Canary Islands. Best weather from April to October, shoulder season April-June and September-October are less hot and crowded.
Kaikoura is a popular tourist destination and the best in New Zealand for whale and dolphin watching throughout the year. There are resident sperm whales with a 95 % chance of a sighting. Common, Hector, and Dusky Dolphins are also spotted year-round. Usually, there are two seasons for whale watching but exceptions occur, and you watch an unexpected pod of orcas during the winter. Continue reading to figure out details when to spot the different whale types in Kaikoura and what kind of trips are offered.
2 Whale Watching Seasons
- During the colder season from May to October migrating whales are spotted; southern right whales, humpback whales, pilot whales and sometimes even blue whales.
During spring and summer, you may spot pods of orcas and sometimes blue whales as well.
Crowds / Fully Booked Tours
It's a very popular attraction and advisable to book these tours in advance especially during the peak season in summer. Early morning trips are not always fully booked, but from 10 am onwards the boats fill up pretty fast. Either book an early morning whale watching trip or far in advance if you prefer a later tour.
Temps are pleasant from November to March often around 20°C during the day. Nights temps are usually around 10°C. From April to October, the temps are on average above 10°C up to 16 °C. Significant rainfall can happen throughout the year. The wettest months occur from March to August. Due to the forecast tours can get canceled. Often the wind increases in the afternoon, and it's pretty rough on the boat. Be prepared if you struggle from sea-sickness.
Seal Colony in Kaikoura
There are day trips available from Christchurch to Kaikoura and back just for the whale watching trip. This is a pretty strenuous trip with 6 hours shuttle in total plus the boat ride. You would love to stay in Kaikoura for three reasons; First tours can get canceled due to poor weather, second, if there isn't any whale sighting you get 80 % refunded and could book a second trip, third there is so much more to explore in Kaikoura like the fur seal colony. Bookmark the link for the best accommodation deals in Kaikoura and stay here at least for two nights.
The southern right whales migrate to the coast of South Africa from Antartica during winter and spring. They come to the warmer waters for mating, giving birth in protected lagoons, and feeding. They arrive in June and July and stay until November latest December before migrating back to the colder waters of Antartica. These whales can be spotted in De Hoop, Hermanus and along the Garden Route like in Mosselbay.
This coastal walk from Gansbaai is not much frequented rather still off the beaten track. Here you are able to spot these majestic giants close to the shore while hiking. The return hike is roughly 10 km long and may take 3-4 hours from Gansbaai to De Kelders and to the Klipgat Caves. The caves are accessible at low tide only. Check the tide times first: Tide Times Gansbaai
Sea Lion colony, doubles in size in summer, pupping early July, mating a couple of weeks later.
From June to November Southern Right Whales visit the shore, and it is one of the most important nurseries from July to October.
The Algarve is a year-round destination with pleasant temps during the winter and hot temps in summer. Anyhow, there is often a breeze in summer. Dolphin tours are offered from March until late November. Although the best months to spot schools of dolphins are from June to September. In spring and at the end of the summer from September onwards it's cold out on the sea in the morning; bring a warm jacket.
Crowds at the Algarve
The Algarve is a popular destination by the Portuguese. They spend their summer holidays here between the end of June until the beginning of September. It's pretty busy and accommodation prices are at a high level. It's almost the same at Easter and Christmas.
Weather at the Algarve
The summer from June to mid-September is quite hot with temps in the high 20s and above while nights are pleasant below 20°C. In spring and fall, the day-temps are between 20°C-25°C and nights are between 10°C-15°C still comfortable for camping. During winter the temps are still lovely below 20°C, but one digit temps in the night. Most precipitation during winter. Summer is almost dry. Rain can occur from autumn to spring, but usually not much.