Did you know that The Bluff in Durban has been named a World Whale Heritage site? Read more about why this is such a prestigious accolade for Durban.
One of Durban’s most precious assets is undoubtedly its amazing coastline, and our geography has created a bunch of natural bays dotted along the coastline all the way from the Durban Harbour to Ballito and beyond. Our warm Indian ocean attracts migratory marine mammals like whales, and Durban’s Bluff has long been considered a whale watching hotspot.
These sites, of which there are only 2 now worldwide, are recognised for their efforts as ‘responsible’ whale and dolphin watching sites. The World Whale Conference was held in Durban a few years ago and inspired 2 local enthusiasts from Sodurba Community Tourism Association to make application for Durban to be recognised.
This accolade bodes well for The Bluff and Durban as a whole by attracting both local and international interest as well as promoting sustainable tourism. Increasingly, more awareness and action is being taken to interact with our marine life as kindly and sustainably as possible. Just recently, the New Zealand Government has banned tourists swimming with dolphins in Bay of Islands after observing the negative impact that close human interference is having on these animals- just one example of how this outlook is growing globally. Whale Heritage sites are recognised as places where the community and tourists engage with the conservation of the ocean through a variety of formats be it art, music, science or events. Furthermore, these are areas where practices and livelihoods are actively improved to help sustain and uplift the health of cetacean interactions to support a peaceful and productive co-existence which is underpinned by policy, law and public cooperation.
Although Durban’s ocean culture is a big part of tourism, we have to find ways to help preserve and sustain these parts of our natural world in the face of increasing threat to our oceans globally. Whale Heritage Sites are setting a benchmark for responsible whale watching worldwide.