Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more

Marine Big 5 Tour Self Drive


Activity Description

**If you plan to book an infant seat, include this in relation to the number of children booked (considered a child if 11 years and younger), and select the add-on option to INCLUDE Discounted infant seat (0-4 years). Kids under 5 years old are free of charge.

All trips are weather and tide dependent and launch times may vary accordingly from those stated. Your launch time will be confirmed the day before.

We have two custom-designed vessels that have been built for your safety and comfort, and both are perfect for marine wildlife viewing. Dream Catcher is a 14m catamaran that can accommodate 50 passengers and 6 crew. Whale Whisperer is a ll,4m semi-rigid inflatable that can accommodate 24 passengers and 4 crew. Note that during coronavirus related restrictions, our boats are filled to 75% capacity at the maximum. Our boats are spacious with dedicated viewing platforms for photographers, a PA system, on board toilets, and even a hydrophone. We reserve the right to use any one of our vessels based on passenger numbers, but your comfort and safety remain our first priority. Our boats are surveyed annually by the South African Maritime Safety Authority and conform to all specifications. Safety considerations include an onboard first aid kit, life-raft, and radio and cellular communications, with standard operating procedures in place including access to medical care.

Once you have arrived at The Great White House, you will receive a brief introductory talk about the route, safety, and what to look out for. Passengers are fitted with comfortable life-jackets and waterproof jackets.

Marine Big 5 Tour length is between 2 and 2.5 hours, depending on sightings and weather conditions. All cruises depart from Kleinbaai harbour near Gansbaai. Dyer Island is located 8 km from shore and is an access controlled Important Bird Area (IBA) for the conservation of its many resident bird species, including the endangered African penguin. Adjacent to Dyer Island is Geyser Rock, home to a 60,000 strong Cape fur seal colony. These seals are present all year round. We will take you into the channel of water between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock known as the world-famous ‘Shark Alley’. We will then take you to the whale hot-spots in the bay. With over a decade of experience, we know where to expect the best whale sightings. Southern right whale season is between mid-June to mid-November. Around this time our focus will be on spending some time with these incredible whales who are visiting our shores to mate and calve. We can encounter the more reserved resident Bryde’s whale throughout the year. From mid-December to mid-June we actively search for this species during our tours. We may also sight magnificent Humpback whales at the start and end of their migration season. We also have three dolphin species that move through the area – common, bottlenose, and endangered humpback – so if we are lucky, we may see one of those. We also hope to show you a bronze whaler shark or a great white shark. Remember that this is wildlife we are dealing with and sightings aren’t guaranteed, however, our team will do our best to show you as many of our Marine Big 5 as possible.

We pride ourselves on being both fun and educational. Each trip is led by experienced marine biologists and guides who will share their knowledge with you, keeping emphasis on the welfare and conservation of the animal. Responsible tourism is our main objective, so our focus is on research, conservation, education, and the upliftment of our community.

All clients will receive an online check-in link, which needs to be completed and the indemnity signed to be allowed to board the tour.


Duration3 hours
WhenYear-round, seven days a week – weather dependent. **Southern right whale season is generally mid-June to mid-November.
WhereThe Great White House, where you will receive a brief introductory talk about the route, safety, and what to look out for. We then take a 200 metre stroll down to the harbour to board.
WeatherDue to variable weather conditions the trip may not always be possible and is therefore not guaranteed. Time-related itineraries are dependent on tides, weather conditions and the number of tours scheduled for a particular day.
What to WearSunscreen Always bring warm clothing as it is cooler at sea than on land. Comfortable closed shoes are advised. Remember to wear your mask.
Things to BringBinoculars, camera, warm clothing.
Guests or SpectatorsAll passengers on board are charged, except for children under 5 years old. Please use anti-seasick medication well in advance if you are prone to motion sickness. We are not authorised to provide medication on-site. Your temperature will be checked on arrival as per COVID-19 protocols.


Minimum Age0 years
Minimum Height0.0 m
Maximum Height0.0 m
Fitness LevelNo Fitness Requirement
QualificationsNot Applicable
Maximum Weight0.0 kg
CertificationNone Required
Experience LevelNo Experience Requirement

Inclusions and Exclusions


Boat Trip
Tea and coffee with muffins on arrival
Bottled water on board

ExclusionsExtra beverages and snacks.


All trips are weather and tide-dependent and launch times may vary accordingly from those stated. Your launch time will be confirmed the day before.
Please allow enough time for transport from Cape Town (3 hours) and Hermanus (1 hour) when traveling to Gansbaai. Please be aware that there are road works en route and waiting times are included in the above traveling times.

It is our duty of care to ensure your safety is a priority and respond to any concerns during these ever-changing times. We pride ourselves on our attention to cleanliness and all our diving equipment is cleaned daily. For more information, please view our COVID-19 Protocols on our website.
We have the following precautions in place:
Alcohol-based antibacterial hand sanitizer for all guests onsite
Frequent cleaning and sanitization of all surfaces
On-call medical practitioners
Restrooms are checked & cleaned on a regular basis and replenished
Trained crew and team

Wear your mask
Wash and sanitize your hands regularly
Cover your face with the bend of your elbow or with a tissue if you cough or sneeze
Tissues will be available onsite as well as closed bins to dispose of them
Remember to cut the strings of your masks before disposal
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
Avoid shaking of hands
Fill out your details correctly when registering! Should we need to contact you about anything, we need to have the right information to get in touch with you

Our standard cancellation policy stands; however, we are always willing to review on a case by case basis for extenuating circumstances. We have implemented a free date change policy – so if a client wishes to postpone their trip, we are happy to change the departure date to later in 2021 or 2022 at no charge. Please note that if the client moves the date to 2023, the 2023 prices will come into effect.

Customer Reviews

when booking the Marine Big 5 Tour we were aware that the chances of seeing whales were slim. However, we were very lucky to see the first Southern Rights of the season. What a spectacle. Besides the whales there was plenty of action and wildlife. The trip was over in no time. The whole crew was very professional, from booking the trip to the end. The spotter just incredible. As a landlubber one just sees Ocean... no idea how they spot these animals.... All in all a great experience. - Stephan Boesch

it was absolutely perfect! Thanks again. Your college made a video of the trip. Is there a possibility to get it? Thx Best regards Markus - Markus Engelbrecht

We had a pleasant few hours out at sea looking for the Marine Big 5 - we visited outside of "the season" so we were not expecting to see any whales (and indeed did not!) but we were lucky to see the (rare) humpback dolphin, lots of seals at Seal Island and quite a few birds .... no sharks either but hey you see what is around at the time !! Well organised, safe, knowledgeable guides on board, good coffee and soup and all in all a nice trip - easy to book too which is always nice ! - Stephen Smith

general, from the date of booking to the tour, the flow of information was very good. Timely and comprehensive. Check-in and the collection of participant data, could be a little easier. Data that were requested at the time of reservation, have been requested again at the time of confirmation. This process can be optimized. Reception, coffee and muffin were good and could be enjoyed outside thanks to the weather. Briefing was short and clear, thank you. The tour was great and we could see 3 of the Big Five. Since with the sharks and the whales was already clear before that this probably does not work. Good information on board made the trip very pleasant. The soup served at the end of the trip was a welcome plus after the windy ride. We can recommend the tour 100%, but you have to be aware that it is nature and you have no guarantee for sighting. Translated with (free version) - Marino Zenettini

Hi All, It was amazing! My post on Instagram : We went on the Marine Dynamics @marinebig5 Big 5 cruise. From the moment we arrived to coffee and muffins, safety brief cruise, and the post-cruise soup with homemade bread to the goodbyes... The Team on and off the vessel was just lovely, friendly, and helpful. I watched them with all the different clients and everyone was looked after in such an individual way. The vessel and the crew onboard kept the flag flying high, checking in on clients on board, offering towels for the sea spray, pointing out marine life etc.. The Marine biologist on board (her name fails me I will find out and update this) was Incredibly knowledgeable as the sharks, sunfish, dolphins, penguins, seals and marine bird life were pointed out interesting facts were presented. She also had patients of a Saint to answer the same question a few times, as well as kiddo asking a pointing and asking lol The entire excursion was absolutely wonderful and Gabriel was overjoyed seeing all the things he loves and more. Thank you for the work you guys do around the conservation of our marine life and for educating us all on how to be better humans and help keep our oceans and its occupants alive and healthy for years to come #gaansbaai #marinedynamics #travel #shark #pengiuns #seals #dolphins #oceanbig5 #pengiunsanctuary #conservation You welcome to see my reel and share. - Maureen Lima

© 2022 Tornado Tour Systems (Pty) Ltd ta Activitar.

Help & Support