10 June 2019

Celebrating The Whales Festival

This year marine tour operators, conservation projects, private companies, educational institutions and NGOs will be hosting the Celebrating the Whales Festival on Sunday 16th June 2019 from 9am at the Pine Lodge Resort, Algoa Bay. The aim of the festival is to bring the people of Port Elizabeth together and educate them about these magnificent animals and the importance of them to our oceans as well as to the economy of the Eastern Cape. Last year the event proved to be a great success, despite the inclement weather.


9am to 10am.


Mr. Anele Qaba: Executive Director for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture

He will talk about the value of the marine biodiversity we have in Algoa Bay and the importance of active citizenship in order to contribute to making Port Elizabeth the Metro we enjoy living in. Port Elizabeth also needs to be further developed as a “Green City”.

For the last two years, NMBT has been putting Algoa Bay on the map as a marine tourism destination, as a result of the marine wildlife that can be seen in the bay. This has contributed to a significant increase in tourism in the Metro, especially from the Asian market. NMBT was instrumental in the setting up of Algoa Bay as “The Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World”.


Ms. Ronelle Friend

The emphasis of this year’s whale celebration is to create awareness for marine plastic pollution. What is required globally is a drastic shift towards Zero Plastic Waste generation. This will mean the redesigning of plastic products to ensure sustainable lifecycles, the creation of a value chain for plastic products and a long awaited end to single-use plastic products.


Mr. Lloyd Edwards: Baywatch Marine Conservation Project and owner of Raggy Charters

He will discuss the migration of the Humpback whales past Algoa Bay. It will track their incredible journey from their feeding grounds in the Southern Oceans to the East African Coastline. An estimated 7000 individuals pass Cape Recife from the 1st June. These animals have recovered from near extinction in the 1960’s to 95% of their pre exploitation numbers. Come and learn why! He will present award-winning pictures that he has been taking for the past 22 years aboard Raggy Charters cruises.

10am to 11am

 We will screen a brilliant video on the migration of the Humpbacks and them giving birth in Mozambique.

The video will be repeated at 12pm.

Coffee/tea - Lunch

There will be a shop on the premises to serve coffee and pastries. There will be special whale festival meals available for lunch at The Island Restaurant.


There will be tours running from Pine Lodge to the Second World War fort overlooking Cape Recife, an ideal vantage point to observe the Northern migration of the whales. There will be whale guides on hand to provide information and spot whales. Permits will be issued free of charge at Pine Lodge to enter the reserve, thanks to the Metro Beach Office. Participants will be met at the bottom of the road to the fort by members of the Dendrological (Tree) Society of the Eastern Cape. They will be escorted to the fort and taught a few indigenous trees en route.


This is an initiative by the SANDF to raise marine and anti-plastic pollution awareness on Youth Day. The three whale floats built by children from Motherwell High, Walmer High and Cigani High Schools will arrive at Pine Lodge at lunch time. Thanks to strong support from the three principals, preparations for the building of these floats have been ongoing at the schools since the 5th April 2019.  This included marine conservation lectures, beach clean ups and the collection of recyclable plastic waste. On 10th June three military vehicle trucks will be delivered to the schools for the learners to commence building the floats until the 15th June. The floats will be paraded along the beachfront on the 16th, all the way to Pine Lodge. On arrival they will be judged and the winner announced. The recyclable material will later be sold to raise funds for the schools.


At Pine Lodge there will also be ongoing whale theme displays.

Bayworld will show off some whale parts from their stores and the history of whaling. It will be a manned stall with someone there to explain the items on display. Hopefully Dr. Greg Hofmeyr will be able to find a cetacean to be dissected on the day. 

The Institute of Coastal and Marine Research at the Nelson Mandela University in conjunction with Natures Valley Trust will be on hand to give an input on the latest cetacean and marine research in and around Algoa Bay and Plettenberg Bay.  Dr. Gwen Penry will show some of the methods used to track Bryde’s whales along our coast. Danielle Conry will display photo identification methods used to estimate the population size of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. It is hoped to be able demonstrate the use of a Theodolite on the beach, which is used to pinpoint the exact position of cetaceans.  The Institute will also provide students to carry out intertidal guided walks at Cape Recife. Spring low tide is at 9:14am so the timing is perfect!

Prof. Jean Greyling from Nelson Mandela University will provide students and an app called “Boats” which teachers children about plastics in the ocean.

The World Cetacean Alliance will have a display on the plight and conservation of cetaceans around the world. They will also send out a strong message against the keeping of any cetaceans in captivity, except for rehabilitation purposes.

There will be a display and sale of whale art and pottery. Only locally made art will be accepted and it must have whales as a theme. It will be coordinated by Michele’s Pottery and Mosaic Studio.

Nelson Mandela University Fine art students will create a whale artwork on the day. The students have done this at many events in Port Elizabeth. Last year at the festival proved extremely popular. It is nice to engage the people and let them watch the artwork develop throughout the event.

Raggy Charters will set up a photographic display of photos of whales and dolphins from Algoa Bay. Katz Camera World will be on site to take any orders.

Raggy Charters staff will also be playing different whale songs and festival goers can win nice prizes for correct answers.

The Sustainable Seas Trust will man a stall and also provide their scientists to do a guided inter tidal walk for festival goers.

Local TV, radio stations and press will advertise and cover the festival. NMBT will be hosting the event on their website and assisting in advertising. Raggy Charters will sponsor Pole Ads and a Billboard (Designed by the Printing Company) at localities throughout the Metro.

The Missing Link has agreed to assist exhibitors and Magnetic Storm will supply a good PA system and technician.

SANCCOB will man a stall to promote their work and encourage people to visit the rehabilitation centre on the way back from viewing the whales.

The World Cetacean Alliance’s broader plan with these kinds of festivals is to link the entire Humpback whale East African migration route, quite an amazing project! This year where towns are not having a whale festival, there will be a public lecture given on the humpback whale migration. Besides educating the community about this, it will hopefully inspire people to have their own festival in 2020.

At present the following centers will also have Celebrating the Arrival of the Whale Presentations or festivals.

6th June; Knysna, Russel Hotel, 17:30, Loren Sampson, 0834635922, loren@islandvibe.co.za

12th June, Cape St Francis Resort, 17:30, Anita Lennox, 0824943755, seals@iafrica.com

16th June, Port Elizabeth, Pine Lodge, 09:00, Lloyd Edwards, 0845522277, Lloyd@raggycharters.co.za

19th June, Port Alfred, Royal Golf Club, 17:30, Joao Felizardo, 0718928333, info@kowiebunga.com

26th June, East London Museum, 17:30, Kevin Cole, 0823022555, kcole@elmuseum.za.org

27th June, Trennery’s Hotel, Transkei, 17:30, Leigh Rohroff, 0832283982, leigh@jhgroup.co.za

28th June, Mazeppa Bay Hotel, Transkei, 12:00, Vanessa, 0815677646, mazeppabayhotel@sainet.co.za

28th June, Kob Inn, Transkei, 17:30, Daan Van Zyl, 0825659098, daanvz@mweb.co.za

29th June, Coffee Bay, Ocean View Hotel, Russel Kruger, 0825589740, russel@oceanview.co.za

29th June, Durban, Anstey’s Square, 09:00, Helga du Preez, 0833213792, Helga@sodurba.co.za

30th June, Port St Johns, Outspan Inn, 17:30, Kathryn Costello, 0829236278, outspan@wildcoast.co.za

2nd July, St Lucia Town Hall, 17:30, Riette Bennett, 0828764104, info@advantagetours.co.za

3rd July, Sodwana Bay Lodge, 17:30, Richard Scott, 0825757797, sodwanabay@mweb.co.za

5th July, Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique, 17:30, Angie Gullan, 00258843303859, angie@dolphincare.org

7th July, Tofu, Mozambique, 17:30, Juliane Zeidler, 00258840117529, j.zeidler@iecn-namibia.com

Mid July, Ilha de Mozambique, Gail Woods, 00258843872168, gail@ilhablue.com

End July, Watamu, Kenya, Jane Spilsbury, 00254720781782, janespilsbury@watamu.biz