Plett declared a whale heritage site

(source Plett Tourism)

The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) is delighted to announce that Plettenberg Bay has been awarded Whale Heritage Site status. Plettenberg Bay joins The Bluff and Algoa Bay as the third Whale Heritage Site in South Africa, and one of only seven fully accredited Whale Heritage Sites worldwide.

The Whale Heritage Site programme is an initiative created by the WCA and supported by World Animal Protection, which recognises destinations around the world where coastal communities work together to protect, respect and celebrate cetaceans and their habitats.

Common Dolphins in Plettenberg Bay © Dr Gwen Penry
Common Dolphins in Plettenberg Bay © Dr Gwen Penry

Plettenberg Bay is situated on the Garden Route between two Marine Protected Areas (Tsitsikamma and Robberg) and supports a wide diversity of ocean wildlife, including iconic species like Humpback Whales, Southern Right Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Killer Whales (Orcas) and Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins. The area is well known for its terrestrial and marine diversity surrounded by the Tsitsikamma Mountains, Indian Ocean coastline, indigenous forests and endemic fynbos vegetation.

The annual Plett Ocean Festival inspires the local community and visitors alike to appreciate and preserve this precious marine system, while research projects based in Plettenberg Bay carry out valuable conservation work year-round, such as monitoring the endangered Humpback Dolphin population and tackling threats such as the entanglement of Bryde’s Whales in fishing gear.

Bahia Formosa - Rob Smith
Bahia Formosa – Rob Smith

As a result of these conservation initiatives, as well as measures to reduce carbon emissions and other types of pollution, Plettenberg Bay has also been the recipient of multiple sustainable tourism awards.

The WCA would like to congratulate the steering committee and community of Plettenberg Bay on their achievements and continuing efforts to protect cetaceans and the marine environment.

Very few places have been granted full Whale Heritage Site status, demonstrating the importance of destinations such as Plettenberg Bay where tourists can support local conservation and see whales and dolphins responsibly in their natural habitat.