Tourists are trooping to Langebaan in the hope to see an Orca
Killer whales are seen from time to time in the waters around the Cape. It is incredibly rare to see these mammals along Southern African shorelines in comparison to sightings throughout the rest of the continents of the world because Orcas flourish most abundantly in colder waters, including Antarctica, the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They also do occur, though at lower densities, in tropical, subtropical, and offshore waters such as the warmer waters of the eastern South African shoreline. One might argue that, in Orca terms, warmer waters also include the colder western South African shoreline which has comaparibly much higher temperatures of ‘cold’ South African Cape coast line waters versus the temperatures found in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans .
The Discovery Channel has shot some spectacular footage from places like Gansbaai, False Bay and Simon’s Town in a show called Mega Hunt: Killer Whales of the Cape. This is the first time that Orcas have been spotted in the Langebaan Lagoon! The noted Discovery documentary shot scenes along the Cape coast over a period of a few years. Many of the footage was taken in False Bay and off Simon’s Town, showing killer whales hunting large pods of dolphins that travel along the shores of the Cape Peninsula.
This is a rare occasion and many enthusiasts are currently flocking to the Langebaan Lagoon at the hope that they will be able to spot these magnificent creatures playing in the water. One has to wonder what a huge surprise such a find might be to a kite- or windsurfer.
Some information on the Killer whales of South Africa visiting us in Langebaan
The distribution of Orcas within the Southern African region is widespread, occurring both in coastal and offshore waters
Off South Africa, group sizes generally include less than 13 animals, with an average group size of 4 individuals. They are however most frequently seen in pairs. The largest group size recorded was 20 animals.
It has been suggested that Southern African orcas have a seasonal reproduction and give birth from May-August. They feed on both mammals and fish, however stomach content examinations revealed that most of the individuals stranded along the South African coastline contained the remains of whales, seals or dolphins.
There are three known species of Killer Whales. At present, Southern African orcas are classified as data deficient because of the limited amount of available data on them.