Marine Safaris

The coastal section of the Addo Elephant National Park can be found in the vibrant Algoa Bay (named ‘Bay of Lagoons’ by early Portugese explorers). The bay is a magnificent stretch of South African coastline where the warm Indian Ocean invites marine mammals, fish and birds to make their home. When you’re marvelling at the magnificence of a breaching whale or the streamlined beauty of a dolphin surfing the bow-wave of a safari boat – don’t forget to breathe. These are the memories that will stay with you: the salty tang of sea spray, the warm Eastern Cape sunshine, the vast blue waters of the bay and the excitement of chance encounters with whales, penguins, seals, dolphins, birds and sharks – a true safari on the ocean, with the chance of completing your African Big Seven Bucket List with sightings of the great white shark and southern right whale.


  • Southern right whale
  • Humpback whale
  • Bryde’s whale
  • Minke whale
  • Common dolphin
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Humpback dolphin
  • Orca
  • Great white shark
  • Hammerhead shark
  • Thresher shark
  • Cape fur seal
  • African penguin
  • Cape gannet
  • Cape cormorant
  • albatross
  • oystercatcher
  • skua
  • kelp gull
  • tern
  • petrel
  • shearwater

Important note:

Marine safaris launch from the Port Elizabeth Harbour in Nelson Mandela Bay, which is 75km from Addo’s main gate. Bookings are essential and subject to change due to weather.


The whale season begins in June (winter in South Africa) when the humpback whales travel up our coastline towards the east coast of Africa and warmer breeding grounds. Sightings in the bay occur from June to early January, with regularity in July and August and again on their return journey in November and December – calves in tow. Southern right whales (one of our African Big Seven) visit the safety of our bay from July to October to give birth and we are fortunate that they are often seen close inshore. From that initial sighting of a blow, through spyhopping, flipper-slapping and rolling, to the iconic, enormous breach – every moment spent on the ocean with whales is a privilege not soon forgotten.


In 2002, the coastline between Sundays River and Bushmans River was incorporated into the Addo Elephant National Park, further enhancing the park’s conservation reach and, in 2019, the Addo Elephant National Park was officially declared a marine protected area incorporating the St Croix and Bird Island groups. These islands are the home to 60% of the world’s African penguin population (22 000 breeding pairs) and 250 000 Cape gannets (the largest breeding colony in the world). South Africa has five major coastal types that need protection: rocky shore, sandy shores, offshore, soft sediment and estuaries. All of these are represented in the Addo Elephant National Park Marine Protected Area.