kzn whale coast maritime

heritage route

The Route starts at The Whale History Museum, situated at The Maritime Museum. Visitors can stroll through the Maritime Museum exploring the boats as well as experience the Whaling History Exhibition. Giving insight on where our Whale Story started to where we have now come to a Conservation Era where all whales, dolphins and sea life are protected and admired. Opportunity is given to local communities to involve themselves in Whale Eco Tourism.

There are already initiatives in place through the Whale Time project to put the KZN Whale Coast Whale Migration on the local and international map as an amazing conservation and tourism phenomenon.

We have numerous establishments with land based whale viewing opportunities.

Next stop go for a harbour cruise or whale watching and dolphin watching with Isle of Capri Cruises and Whale and Dolphin Tours, our two Legal Permit holders. We urge everyone to only use these permit holders to protect and save our whales and dolphins. Or enjoy a relaxing beverage or meal at one of the vibrant restaurants at Wilson’s Wharf. Or do some browsing/shopping at the many curio shops. Then follow the M4 South to the Bluff, Whale Heritage Site.

Take a drive to the Bluff Beaches – our PROPOSED BLUE FLAG BEACH. Plans are in place to develop this point and add a variety of water and beach activities and offer exciting and adventure activities a place where people can hire equipment for the day: Scuba diving, Paragliding,Canoe, Paddling, Snorkeling, Surfing, Extreme Body boarding, Fishing, etc.

WESSA Treasure Beach

The Treasure Beach Environmental Education Centre on Durban’s Bluff is rich in history and ecological importance. It is also the site of the original radar tracking station for coastal defense during World War 2 and has one of the last remaining patches of coastal grassland. The Centre has been operational since 1985 and Offers a wide diversity of educational experiences to all ages. The roof of the building can be used by our guests as a viewpoint to watch whales and dolphins moving up and down our coast, while enjoying tea & scones. This can be combined with an interpretive stroll in their patch of unique Coastal Grassland (led by a guide). Good Birds, Insect life, photographic opportunities.

World Cetacean Alliance (WCA)

We are officially in partnership with the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA). The World’s largest Partnership working to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises!

The WCA is committed to preventing all cetaceans from being held in captivity except for rehabilitation and release purposes. We are also developing and implementing new concepts for responsible whale and dolphin watching with the potential to inspire and educate millions of people. Finally, we aim to expand the global community of people who care for cetaceans, have a desire to learn about them, and respect them.

Sodurba CTO (Community Tourism Organisation)’s main aim is to Collectively and boldly develop and promote KZN Whale Coast and Sodurba Urban Route as a responsible, exciting, creative and sustainable tourism destination for the benefit of all. To educate and promote the responsible co-existence between human and nature, especially our Cetaceans and Marine Life on our coastline.

Sodurba’s Whale Story gives insight into the past history of Whale Hunting for economic growth and how we have evolved into a Conservation era and Eco Tourism (also for economic growth). We are now a destination where the whales are celebrated, admired and protected.

With Sodurba’s stakeholders and Whale Time Project, we will bring science, conservation, tourism and community together around this iconic species. It aims to contribute to updating scientific knowledge of Humpback whale populations and to engage public in whale sightings and associated monitoring of the distribution, behaviour patterns and habitat use of the whales. The project includes the establishment of an online platform that will allow “citizen scientists” to upload photos of whales, to be identified by marine science experts. It provides a platform to develop a coastal community based “citizen science” movement that will bring benefits not only for conservation of the whales and their ocean environment, but also for coastal communities through training and economic opportunities.

PORT NATAL MARITIME MUSEUM

Backed by a panoramic view of Durban Harbour, the Port Natal Maritime Museum offers an insight into the influence of maritime culture on local life while also reflecting on the rigours and romance of lives lived at sea. Amazing voyages, dramatic tales and old yet inspiring collections form the basis of an unforgettable experience, with attractions including the multi-ton floating vessels.

These exhibits are the steam tug JR More as well as the minesweeper SAS Durban and together with other exhibits like the Ulundi and NCS Challenger offer families and tour groups hours of exploration, fun and education.

CONTACT INFORMATION: 
Address: Bay end of Samora Machel Street, next to BAT Centre. Durban
Tel: 031 322 9598  Times: Monday – Sunday (9am-4.30pm) times may differ on public holidays

WILSON’S WHARF 

Wilson’s Wharf, situated on Durban’s Victoria embankment between the Yacht Mole and the Sugar Terminal, is the City’s trendiest fusion of fun, food, top shows and crafts, all blended with the rustic interface of a boating marina and working slipways.

Durban is the City of fun, and visitors to Wilson’s Wharf can socialize with friends and family, basking in the sunshine during the day or enjoying the cool vibe and taking in the magnificent splendour of the city lights reflecting on the harbour waters at night. The focus is on the great South African outdoors, the marine lifestyle, and the preservation of the natural environment.

The wharf is host to a variety of musical and theatrical festivals throughout the year, showcasing international performers and promoting local talent. Wilson’s Wharf is a “must see” for all who live in or visit the city and offers the ideal destination to take a break, enjoy the buzz, relax and unwind on the deck and watch the ships sail by.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Address: 14-18 Boatmans Road
Tel: 031 305 3099 |  Times: Monday – Sunday (9am-5pm) cruises weather permitting

VIEW POINTS OF SODURBA

Airlie Road lookout point forms part of our KZN Whale Heritage Route Experience which starts at the Maritime Museum:

At The Whale History Museum, situated at the Maritime Museum visitors can stroll through the Maritime Museum exploring the boats as well as experience the Whaling History Exhibition, giving insight on where our Whale Story started to where we have now come to a Conservation Era where all whales, dolphins and sea life are protected and admired. Opportunity is given to local communities to involve themselves in Whale Eco Tourism.

Wilsons Wharf – Whale Watching: Wilson’s Wharf is where you can enjoy a Cruise through the harbour, go Whale Watching up close or enjoy a relaxing beverage or meal at one of the vibey Restaurants.

Bluff View Points: First stop is Airlie Road. The Ethekwini municipality is currently in progress with Netford Road and the other future lookout points are: Treasure Beach; WESSA; Ansteys Beach; Brighton Beach; Garvies Beach; and Finnemore Place – 364 Stairs to the forgotten Beach and a scenic view of the Old Whaling Station – Accessible by foot only.

WESSA: WESSA Treasure Beach – The Treasure Beach Environmental Education Centre on Durban’s Bluff is rich in history and ecological importance. It is also the site of the original radar tracking station for coastal defence during World War 2. The roof of the building is a viewpoint to watch Whales and Dolphins moving up and down our coast.

Whaling History:  Our vision for the Old Whaling Station is to have it declared a Museum – A museum for our Whaling Heritage; our Military and Multi-Cultural History. To create an International Tourism Attraction.

Marine Tourism: The Wildlands Whale Time Project’s goal is to bring Science, Conservation, Tourism and Community together around this iconic species.

Whale watching legal permit holders

Sodurba’s Members are the two legal permit holders within KwaZulu-Natal.

The WCA Responsible Whale Watching Certification is awarded to whale and dolphin watching companies that operate to the highest standards of care for local wildlife, sustainability, and customer experience. Based on the WCA Global Guidelines for Responsible Whale and Dolphin Watching, this certification is the only international label for whale watching companies developed by the industry, for the industry.

Humpback whales are a migratory species found in all the major oceans worldwide. These whales can be spotted In KZN waters during June/July, travelling northward to warmer tropical waters to breed and calve, as well as in October/November, travelling southward returning to their feeding grounds in Antarctica with their newborn calves.

Humpback whales are easy to identify as they have a few key distinguishing features, both as a species and as individuals (the colouration of the tail fluke is used to identify individuals). The identification of individuals generates a population catalogue. An adult Humpback whale can be up to 15m in length (females are larger than males) and can weigh up to 40 tonnes (that’s roughly equivalent to 20 adult White Rhino). The name of this whale species comes from the humping of the back as the animal arches before it dives.

TREASURE BEACH CENTRE

Treasure Beach Centre on Durban’s Bluff is rich in history and ecological importance. It is the site of the original radar tracking station for coastal defense during World War 2 and has one of the last remaining patches of coastal grassland. The Centre has been operating since 1985 and offers a wide diversity of educational experiences to all ages.

Treasure Beach Centre is one of the four Environmental Education centers run by WESSA KZN. We focus on working with local and international school groups, ranging from grade R to 12, as well as university students and trainee teachers and community members.

Their courses are conducted as a ‘hands on’ outdoor classroom experience, with interactive activities and workshops. These encourage a practical understanding of ecology, and the individual’s role in caring for the environment and preserving our National

 

Address: 835 Marine Drive, Bluff, 4052
Tel: 031 467 8507 |  Cell: 084 444 8474
Times: Monday – Friday (5am – 4pm)

Whaling Station 

Explore another side of Durban’s fascinating history on a whaling tour. The whaling history of Durban started in 1907 when the Norwegian Consol in Durban raised money to start an operation. The operation began with a few steam driven whalers hunting migrating whales off the Natal coast and it went on to become the largest land based whaling operation in the world.

Part of the old Kings Battery on the Bluff, looking south, note the elaborate concrete camouflage built into all the coastal batteries on the Bluff.

Tours take place in the old whaling station on the Bluff Headlands as well as one of the largest collections of pictures, memorabilia, newspaper clippings and old footage of the whaling days.

A whale eardrum is one of several interesting artifacts on display at the new whaling museum opened by Bluff local, Dave Nielsen, who has decided to share the memorabilia he has kept from his father’s heyday as a whaler. The museum displays a vast range of pieces from whale teeth, whale ribs, a harpoon gun casing, old photos, newspaper clippings, a flensing knife and an old compass from a whaling boat.

The connection between Durban and whaling is a huge topic starting in 1909 and ending in 1975. Not only did it have an influence on Norwegian settlers, but also on the residents of the Bluff and Durban and on the maritime industry.  Many of the younger people living in Durban won’t know that it was once a busy centre of the whaling industry. Thousands of migrating whales were caught in the seas nearby and towed back here to be processed into a number of products which were highly prized by consumers, both local and overseas.