FAQ'S

HOW MUCH DOES A TOUR COST?

TOUR ADULTS
(July to November 2015)
CHILDREN UNDER 12
(July to November 2015)
Close Encounter Whale Watching R750 R550
Marine Eco-Tour R600 R400
Knysna Heads Rush R350 R200
Stand-up Paddling (SUP) R150 1st hour R100 per subsequent hour

 

Please note:

  • No charge applies to any booking changes made!
  • No booking fee is charged!
  • No credit card transaction fee is charged!
  • No refunds will be given in the event of your failure to notify us of your cancellation before the check-in time!
  • Tour costs can change without notice.

WHAT ARE THE TOUR TIMES?

We have four scheduled daily departures (weather dependent) at:

 

09h30, 12h00, 15h00 & 17h00 (Summer)

10h00, 12h00 & 15h00 (Winter)

HOW DO I MAKE A RESERVATION?

  • Call us on +2744 382 0321 or +2744 382 0421
  • Or +27 82 852 9402
  • By e-mailing Ocean Odyssey at info@oceanodyssey,co.za
  • To make an immediate confirmed booking, click here

DO I NEED TO BOOK IN ADVANCE?

Yes. There is a high demand for our tours. We advise you to book well in advance.

AM I GUARANTEED TO SEE A WHALE?

No. However, the chances are very high. Ocean Odyssey has a 90% success rate in finding whales.

WHAT WILL I SEE?

Every Close Encounter Whale Watching tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. On a typical tour you may encounter the migrating Humpback Whales and Southern Right Whales.  Bryde’s whales are year-round residents. Dolphins species include Long Beaked Common dolphin, Bottlenose dolphin and all year coastal resident, the Humpback Dolphin. We have had sporadic sightings of the world’s largest dolphin – the Orca.  Knysna  also attracts a variety of pelagic birds such as the Cape Gannet, Gulls, African Penguin, Cape Cormorant, White-Breasted Cormorant, Terns, White Chin Petrel, Wandering Albatross, Yellow-Nosed Albatross, Sub-Antarctic Skua, and the Cory shearwater.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SEA AND WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE NOT SUITABLE?

Ocean Odyssey’s tours are always dependent on sea conditions. We constantly monitor the weather and respond professionally to any changes. This may mean a tour is postponed and we will endeavour to accommodate you on a later trip. If trips are cancelled, we will refund your payment.  Passenger comfort and safety is always our priority.

IF MY TOUR IS CANCELLED, WILL I BE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEXT ONE?

No. When a tour is cancelled, we will do our best to accommodate you on another one. However, you need to request this.

HOW LONG ARE YOUR TOURS?

The Close Encounter Whale Watching & Marine Eco-Tours’ actual time on the water is up to 2 hours. Including check-in time & safety briefing you should allow 2.5 hours in total.

 

The Knysna Heads Rush is 45 minutes but please allow an extra 15 minutes for check-in and safety briefing.

 

Stand-Up Paddling (SUP) boards can be hired throughout the day for any duration of your choice, up to eight hours.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR ON MY WHALE WATCH TOUR?

Dress warmly and wear flat shoes.   We will supply you with a weatherproof poncho if their is a chance of light rain.

WHAT IF I SUFFER FROM MOTION-SICKNESS?

If you are susceptible to motion-sickness Ocean Odyssey has Aqua Straps for purchase.  However, it is advisable to contact a medical practitioner if you require medication.

CAN I BUY BATTERIES OR MEMORY CARDS ABOARD OCEAN ODYSSEY VESSELS?

No. So please stock up on these items beforehand.

DO OCEAN ODYSSEY SELL FOOD AND DRINKS ABOARD OCEAN ODYSSEY VESSELS?

No. Food and beverages are available to purchase before or after your tour at various restaurants & café’s in close proximity to our offices. We supply you with a bottle of water for your trip.

SAFETY & MEDICAL INFORMATION

All our vessels are subject to strict regulations and are properly licenced and sea-worthy.  They are regularly inspected by the local marine authority, SAMSA. Our skipper guides have been trained in all aspects of First Aid, Fire and Emergency procedures.

 

It can be bumpy out at sea and our trips are not recommended for people suffering with back, neck or hip injuries.

TIPPING INFORMATION

Tips for staff members are always welcome but not expected.

WHERE IS THE BEST POSITION ON THE BOAT?

Our vessels are 9m Butt Cats with 12 seats in a cinema style configuration. This ensures that all passengers have a prime spot when viewing the marine life and coastline.  We do recommend that people with back, neck or hip complaints sit towards the rear of the vessel for their safety and comfort.  Children are to be seated between adults and supervised at all times.

WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS?

Our tours can continue in light rain and we will provide you with a waterproof poncho prior to departure if we suspect that it may start raining.  If you you would prefer not go on a tour in the rain, please ask about availability on another day.  It is not guaranteed that we can accommodate you on a later date.  We will refund you in the case of a complete cancellation.

IS THE MORNING OR AFTERNOON BETTER?

It really depends on the day; sometimes the wind is blowing in the morning but drops off in the afternoon and vise versa. The whales don’t seem to be more or less active as the day progresses

ARE THERE TOILET FACILITIES ON BOARD?

There are no toilets on board our vessels so guests are recommended to make use of toilet facilities prior to departure.

ARE YOUR TOURS WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY?

No! Unfortunately our vessels have not been designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

CAN TOUR COSTS CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE?

Yes.  Our vessels use large quantities of fuel and as such we are at the mercy of fuel increases and the Rand/Dollar exchange rate.  We do plan our rates well in advance and absorb such costs as much as possible.  However, we may need to increase costs from time to time.

CAN SOME BOATS GET CLOSER TO WHALES THAN OTHERS?

No, only whale watching permit holders are allowed to approach the whales as close as 50m.  All other vessels, including recreational vessels, have to stay 300m from the whales.  No vessels, commercial or recreational, may approach a Southern Right mother and calf as they are protected.

 

If someone is promising to get closer than this they will be breaking the law.  However, whales are curious by nature and sometime approach the vessel to have a closer look.  In that case we have to stop our engines and let the whales pass.

CAN I TOUCH THE WHALES?

Touching, tagging and swimming with whales and dolphins is prohibited under the the Section 13 of MARINE LIVING RESCOURCES ACT OF 1998. As a responsible whale watching permit holder our skippers strictly adhere to all the permit conditions.

SAFETY

Our crew is first and foremost concerned with the safety & comfort of our passengers and are trained in safety, emergency procedures, and customer service.  Passengers are provided with a safety briefing prior to departure covering all aspects of the trip and what to expect when out on the ocean. We take great pride in our vessels and crew but also in maintaining the highest level of service.

 

Each guest is fitted with a Laliza self-inflating life-jacket which conforms with SAMSA’s regulations.

 

All vessels have the required fire and safety equipment to ensure a safe journey.

 

Passengers must remember that the boat is a moving platform, an experience that will be new for some. While on board, all passengers must observe the following policies:

  1. While onboard all passengers must adhere to all safety announcements.
  2. Must keep both feet on deck at all times.
  3. Standing on seats or benches is prohibited.
  4. Sitting on seat backs or railings is prohibited.
  5. Passengers moving around the vessel must keep one hand on the vessel at all times.
  6. Passengers assume all risk incidental to all cruises.

WILL I GET A REFUND IF I CANT MAKE THE TRIP

There will be no refund if you do not arrive for your tour and have not notified us of your cancellation at least 7 days in advance.  We will also not refund you if you miss your departure.  We will try to accommodate you on a later departure time but it is not guaranteed.   We will only issue a full refund in the case of a weather cancellation and you are unable to re-schedule for another day. We will only refund via the same method of payment received for your booking i.e. if you paid with a specific credit card, we can only refund back into that credit card.

TRIP DURATION

Close Encounter Whale Watching & Marine Eco-Tours are 1½ to 2 hours in length.

 

Knysna Heads Rush tours are 45 minutes.

 

Stand Up Paddling boards can be hired by the hour.

THINGS TO BRING

Camera or Camcorder
Make sure your batteries are fully charged or you have a spare set to ensure you don’t miss the “money shot”. And don’t forget you memory card.

 

Binoculars
Usually the whales are close enough to see better without binoculars. They may, however, be useful for spotting some beautiful pelagic bird species.

 

Rubber-soled shoes
A moving vessel is not usually the best place for high heels. Sneakers/takkies have much better traction as sometimes the decks get wet and slippery even though we have non-slip rubberising on our vessels.

 

Warm clothes
Ideally you should wear a nice warm jacket or hoodie as it can get really chilly out on the ocean. We will supply you with a blanket if the day is colder than normal.

 

Sunscreen and Sunglasses
On sunny days you can get quite a sunburn and sunglasses will help protect your eyes from glare off the water as you scan the horizon looking for whales and dolphins.

PHOTO TIPS

Zoom zoom
It is difficult to take pictures without a zoom as you usually get a photograph with mostly ocean and very little whale. If you’re lucky, the whale will swim in close allowing you to get that shot you will remember for a lifetime. On a very sunny day a polarised lens will help reduce sun glare and will allow you to see the whale’s body below the surface of the water. You can get some amazing shots.

 

The perfect shot
After a whale dives, do not concentrate on the exact area it went down. They rarely come back up in this spot. Look out for the footprint which will help give you an idea which direction the whale is travelling in. The skipper will help by keeping parallel to the whales. Be ready to snap your shot. But remember the perfect shot is pure luck. You must look in the right place at the right time and snapping the shot at the precise moment.

OUR TOURS

Whale Watching & Marine Eco Tours cruises are generally 1 ½ to 2 hours long. Trips are led and narrated by our experienced skipper guides. Once aboard, find seats and get yourself comfortable. Passengers with back, hip or neck injuries are requested to sit in the rear seat as it is less bumpy than the front of the vessel.  Children must be seated between adults towards the rear of the vessel.

 

The trip begins as the boat navigates through the Knysna Estuary heading out toward the Indian Ocean .  Please listen carefully to the skippers welcome and safety briefing.  Have your cameras ready! As we leave the harbour, we will pick up speed so be careful with your hat. Make sure that your belongings are secure in the storage compartment below the seat in front of you.

 

Once out in the Ocean, we have a whale spotter that assists us in finding wildlife who is in radio contact with all skippers and will direct them to any sightings.  Half the fun of the trip is looking out for whales and dolphins and being the first to say “I see one!”  Start by carefully scanning back and forth over the water to the horizon. Look for things that don’t belong. Watch for blows, backs, dorsal fins, or tails at the surface. Splashing in the distance often indicates active whales. Also, watch for groups of seabirds who may be feeding above the whales or dolphins. Once the wildlife has been located, the boat slows down and gets in position to watch the whale/s. It is important to note that we operate under strict whale watching guidelines set out by The Department of Environmental Affairs and SABBWWA to keep the whales safe!

 

The whales we hope to encounter are wild animals. They migrate to our coastline from about June to November to mate and give birth  prior to their return to their homes in Antartica.

 

They are baleen whales who feed on plankton, schooling fish and other small animals. The whale behaviors cannot be predicted, but are often spectacular. The numbers and species of whales always vary from trip to trip. Your skipper will give you information on the behaviors of the species you encounter.

MAP & CONTACT DETAILS

Ocean Odyssey, Knysna

24B Saffron Lane
Thesen Harbour Town
Knysna

+27(44) 382 0321
+27(44) 382 0421
+27(82) 852 9402
info@oceanodyssey.co.za

REGIONAL WEATHER FORECAST

13°C
Wind: 9km/h WNW
Fog
Humidity: 100%
KNYSNA WEATHER
Tue
17°C
Wed
17°C
Thu
12°C

CONTACT US



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