Marine 5 – Southern Right Whale

When visiting Africa, the Big Five are on top of everyone’s bucket list. Seeing the Big 5 on safari is often the Number One reason to visit the African Continent- safari. Richard has always maintained that Africa has more surprises and more wildlife than most people can possibly imagine.

Seeking the lesser known but no less majestic – the Marine 5 are becoming more and more popular on a visit to Africa. So brace yourself for the magnificent Marine 5 and the “Serengeti of the Sea”. The Marine 5 includes whales, sharks, seals, penguins and dolphins, ocean creatures particularly popular at the southern tip of Africa.

The bountiful waters of South Africa are home to all five of the Marine 5, and can be viewed when on a safari trip to South Africa. Richard shares some of his favourite facts about each of these iconic species of the ocean, that he personally discovered whilst in Africa. In this post he shares some interesting facts about the largest of the Marine 5 – the Southern Right Whale  – a seasonal visitor to the South African shores.

  • Southern Right whales enter into the shorelines of Cape Town and its surrounds and stay in close proximity between June and November. Humpbacks also migrate into these waters over the same time period.
  • These whales can be seen as far north as Durban, some 1,200 miles away.
  • Southern Right and Humpbacks come to calve, nurse their young and mate. Very little, if any, feeding is done over this period of time.
  • These whales arrive from the Antarctic Ocean where they have spent the prior 6 months feeding on krill.
  • The Southern Right Whale gets its name from the whalers who termed it as the “right” whale to hunt. It was slow moving, float when killed and are rich in baleen and oil.
  • Southern Right Whales measure up to 50 feet in length and can weigh up to 60 tons. Humpbacks measure up to 50 feet and weigh up to 50 tons.
  • A female Southern Right whale gives birth to a 4 ton calf after a 12 month gestation period. A humpback gives birth to a 10 – 15 foot calf after an 11 month gestation period.
  • The best waters from which to enjoy land based Southern Right whale watching are in and around Walker Bay, about 90 miles east of Cape Town. The sea cliffs offer excellent perches to often watch whales but a few yards below.
  • Southern Right whales are thought to live up to 100 years and perhaps even 150 years in ideal living conditions. Humpbacks can also be thought to live up to 100 years but the average is about 50 – 60 years.
  • The average Southern Right whale will consume up to 900 pounds of krill a day when feeding. Humpbacks can consume up to 5,000 pounds of krill a day.

Richard has more than 12 years of personal travel in Africa, in addition to guiding and planning trips and itineraries for his clients. He has seen and experienced most of Southern and East Africa and is continuously staying up to date and researching the latest news, lodges, accommodation and travel logistics. If you need advice or a chat….. just ASK RICHARD!

Check out this video of a curious Southern Right Whale on a whale watching boat trip.

Southern Sky Adventures
Specializing in guided and self-drive trips through Southern and East Africa & the Indian Ocean Islands
721 Woodward Way, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 USA
404.300.9630 office – 770.324.0068 cell

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