Calling all Ocean Students!

Are you a student studying biological sciences, wildlife conservation or for an ocean related degree? Are you studying travel and tourism and have a strong interest in cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises)?

If you answered yes to any of this, then read on!

To celebrate its 4th birthday and World Oceans Day, the WCA is inviting all interested students to tell us in no more than 150 words why you would like to attend the World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit in Durban this June. In return the WCA will offer a selected number of applicants the most incredible opportunity to receive a 4-day TICKET to this event for FREE!

The theme for this years conference is “Towards responsible tourism for cetaceans” and topics will include responsible whale and dolphin watching, best practice for in-water encounters with cetaceans, using whale watch platforms for cetacean research, welfare standards for cetaceans in captivity and the options for sanctuaries and how Whale Heritage Sites could be developed across the African continent and worldwide.

Please send your motivational statement, along with contact details and the course you are studying, to before 14th June 2017.

Your 4 day ticket will give you access on Monday 26th through Thursday 29th June from 8:30am until 5:30pm at the Protea Edward, Durban.

Drinks, accommodation, airfares and transport to and from the conference are not included.

To find out more about the conference, including travel and accommodation offers, please visit our website


Creations for Cetaceans Project – update!

Building a whale from ocean waste is truly inspirational!

Recently Umcebo Design shared Durban school children’s unique reflections on their Creations for Cetaceans project: building whales to go on display during the WCA’s upcoming World Whale Conference.

“We decorated a beautiful wire whale with bottle tops to hang up at the Conference. This will hopefully change stubborn minds about throwing bottle caps away into the deep blue sea”. This inspirational quote from primary school student, Sam Walker shows his enthusiasm for the unique community project about whales in Durban. With the other pupils of Manor Gardens Primary School, Sam is building a whale from waste materials like those polluting the ocean.

Mia Chappe decorating whale
“Me and my class were lucky to be a part of two wonderful projects. There was a whale covered in mesh and we had to cable tie blue, black and white plastic bottle tops on it. This represented all the whales that have been killed from plastic bottle tops. Umcebo made the thing that had been killing the whales into something beautiful”. Mia Chappe
Creations for Cetaceans

Robin Opperman from Umcebo Design has been commissioned by the WCA to undertake this whale project for the upcoming World Whale Conference. It did not take Robin much to convince WCA about the huge potential to involve both the local community, the participants of the World Whale Conference and, hopefully, a huge audience around the world. The project forms a part of “Creations for Cetaceans” and is the WCA’s latest initiative in celebrating cetaceans through art. School children build whales from recycled (waste) materials like the plastics and wire netting that end up killing marine life in our oceans. Whilst participating, they learn more about the impact we have on our oceans and what they can do to recycle more. The finished whales will be exhibited at both the Welcoming of the Whales festival, co-hosted by Sodurba, and the World Whale Conference from the 24th of June.

More sponsors wanted!

Woolworths – Have sponsored one of the whale sculptures

Building these whales is all about helping education and creating more awareness of the need to protect whales. Not only that, is a fun activity to do!
Robin says: “The teachers and I see a tremendous dedication of the school kids in creating something unique while raising awareness among adults, hopefully also outside of South Africa. You could say that here in Durban the young are educating the old”.

Woolworths has already sponsored one whale, could you do the same?

This Creations for Cetaceans project can be really successful if the WCA and Umcebo Design find more generous sponsors who each would adopt one of the five whales. If you are interested in helping this incredible project by sponsoring a whale, please contact WCA at 

Whale Festival confirmed for Durban

Anstey’s Beach chosen as the venue for Welcoming of the Whales Festival

It’s official – Durban is to have its very own annual whale festival aptly named ‘Welcoming of the Whales Festival’. WCA will be supporting local tourism authority Sodurba Community Tourism Organization (Durban South Tourism) in hosting this very first whale celebration event on The Bluff at Anstey’s Beach from 24 -25 June. The 2 day Festival precedes the World Whale Conference which starts on the Monday.

Sodurba: uniting Durban’s local conservation and tourism stakeholders

Initiator Sodurba is the official tourism body for Durban South region. The association has grown a number of initiatives to strengthen local tourism over the past years and is run by a voluntary committee of local stakeholders. It was one of their goals to put the whales central in an annual event and this year WCA is their international partner. After negotiating the licenses and fine tuning the plan with all parties involved, it was decided that the Welcoming of the Whales Festival can see the light this month.

Welcoming, protecting and watching Whales

Whales also play a key role in Sodurba’s newly developed  Tourism Urban Route. The trail includes a Whale Watching Route and will be officially launched on World Ocean’s Day,  8 June 2017.
Commenting on the Welcoming of the Whales Festival,  Sodurba’s chairperson, Helga du Preez says: ‘Our vision is to have this event every year to celebrate the arrival of the whales to our coastline. Sodurba welcomes the opportunity to kick start our very first whale festival with the World Whale Conference. We think it is a magnificent opportunity to share the knowledge and information from the conference delegates with our community. We aim to create awareness of our whales, our ocean and beaches and the responsibility we all have to protect our environment. We will also share the Whaling history of the past turning to the present where we rather protect and admire the whales passing on their migration.”

Festival activities 24-25 June

Day one includes both indoor and outdoor activities appealing to all interests and age groups. Activities range from rocky shore walks, whale watching, children’s art activities, song and dance and craft markets to presentations by international speakers and newly released conservation documentaries. The day culminates in a human whale creation on the beach before sunset. Entrance is free. The public is invited to attend the second day of activities with local and international speakers discussing cetacean conservation and tourism in Southern Africa.  The full programme is due to be published shortly, but all interested stakeholders and sponsors are urged to contact Sodurba or WCA.


Potential Whale Heritage Sites in Africa

In the lead up to the Whale Heritage Sites Summit, the World Cetacean Alliance is requesting your help with an important online survey to submit any ‘Areas of Interest’ in the African region that you think could qualify for Whale Heritage Site status in future.


Whale Heritage Sites are land and sea areas where people and cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) live close together, and where respectful and sustainable practices lead to responsible tourism, sustainable development, research and education, and the protection of marine species and habitats.


Western Cape, South Africa
Western Cape, South Africa


The results of this survey will be discussed at the Whale Heritage Sites Summit, Durban, South Africa, on 28-29 June 2017, and will form the basis for further dialogue and efforts to encourage the establishment of Whale Heritage Sites across the region.


The survey is open to any interested person, and includes locations across coastal Africa and adjacent island states in the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.

To complete the survey in just 5 minutes, click here!


To find out more about the Whale Heritage Sites Summit click here.

Please share this survey if you know of interested experts in the region.Western Cape, South Africa

People's weather

People’s Weather – World Whale Conference Media Partner

The World Cetacean Alliance welcomes People’s Weather as the official media partner to support the upcoming World Whale Conference in Durban.

In a statement released last week People’s Weather said “We are proud and honoured to be the media partner for the World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Site Summit 2017, being held in Durban, South Africa. Broadcasting on Africa’s major satellite service – DStv – on channel 180, we are dedicated to planet earth and all of the amazing species which call it home, focusing on weather, climate change, oceans, conservation, the environment and sustainability in all of our programming. We are committed to helping to raise awareness of the plight of cetaceans across the world, both in the wild and in captivity, and dream of a future where no cetacean is either captured or kept captive for human entertainment and greed.”

People’s Weather is Africa’s first and only 24/7 climate, environment and weather channel, on DStv Channel 180. Their mission is to communicate in an entertaining and informative way the weather and effects of the climate and environment on people and the world they live in.

The channel is all about communicating the importance of sustaining nature as well as the culture of the people inhabiting it.

Said Sharyn Taylor, WCA Partner, who initiated the liaison on behalf of the WCA “People’s Weather and the World Cetacean Alliance will work together to promote our World Whale Conference in Durban. Celebrating the environment throughout the month of June, People’s Weather will also share the work of our partners and associates in the lead up to the conference and beyond. Raising much needed awareness and creating interest surrounding the many issues of cetacean protection locally and from around the world. We couldn’t have found a more passionate and fitting media partner than we have in People’s Weather. “


Welcoming Virgin Holidays

WCA welcomes Virgin Holidays as World Whale Conference sponsor

Headline sponsor of the 2017 World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit

The World Cetacean Alliance is proud to announce that Virgin Holidays have been named headline sponsor of the 2017 World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit.

This undertaking forms part of Virgin’s long term vision for a future in which tourism embraces the complex social and physical needs of cetaceans and their habitats.

David Geer, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays said;“At Virgin Holidays we’re committed to being a business for good. We have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that the holidays we provide can create lasting memories without having a negative impact on local populations and the environment.

Wild whale watching can help support local communities and managed well, can be an amazing experience for holiday makers. That’s why we’re supporting the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) World Whale Conference in South Africa this year. We want to give our customers as much choice as possible and through working with organisations like the WCA we can ensure we’re offering responsible holiday experiences.”

Dylan Walker, CEO of the World Cetacean Alliance said;

“Virgin Holidays and the WCA share a vision for the future of responsible cetacean tourism that seeks a collaborative approach, and identifies mechanisms to solve the many challenges facing whales and dolphins today. We believe in tourism as a huge force for good, with the potential to protect whales and dolphins and their habitats for people to enjoy long into the future.

Virgin Holidays has broken new ground in its attempt to bring about positive change for cetaceans in tourism, and we anticipate that the outputs from this conference will act as a springboard for further positive collaborations with both Virgin Holidays and its suppliers.”

Working together towards responsible tourism for cetaceans

The World Cetacean Alliance and its partners, including the Born Free Foundation, Orca Research Trust, and Free Morgan Foundation, have been working with our counterparts at Virgin Holidays since 2014, when we contributed to a multi-stakeholder process to discuss concerns over the keeping of cetaceans in captivity.

That led to Virgin securing a pledge from the companies with which they work to no longer take whales and dolphins from the wild. It represented a significant step forward in terms of the future for captive whales, dolphins and porpoises.

In March 2017, Virgin Holidays extended its commitment with a five point plan and long-term vision, produced in consultation with the WCA and Born Free Foundation. This commitment included an undertaking to not sign up any new attractions that feature captive whales and dolphins for theatrical shows, support the creation of coastal sanctuaries for whales and dolphins, and offer customers more choice in the regions in which they operate, such as promoting responsible wild whale and dolphin watching and sanctuary-based experiences (when these become available).

Click here to read the full announcement from Virgin Holidays

Said Jean Michael Cousteau, Honorary President of the WCA:

“Virgin Holidays announcement clearly sets out its vision for the future, seeks a collaborative approach, and identifies mechanisms to solve the many challenges facing whales and dolphins in tourism today. Too often this issue has lacked a catalyst for change from within the tourism sector. I believe that all whales and dolphins deserve the chance to feel the ocean, interact in the natural environment, and utilize their extraordinary sense of sound in ways they could never do in captivity. Today’s announcement is a very important milestone in our journey towards that goal.”

School art project

School Art Project Launched

The latest school art project from Creations for Cetaceans,  an art and environmental awareness initiative, is launched by the World Cetacean Alliance in Durban, South Africa.

Brighton, 18 April 2017

The first, highly anticipated, school art project from ‘Creations for Cetaceans,’ facilitated by leading South African art company Umcebo Design, is getting underway in Durban, South Africa in the  run–up to the World Whale Conference in June. Cetacean is the collective name referring to whales, dolphins and porpoises. The project involves the creation of large whale sculptures made from recycled waste materials by local school children.

This collaboration between the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), local art company Umcebo Design, corporate sponsors and local Durban schools aims to create awareness of the threat of pollution to our oceans and its inhabitants. The United Nations estimates that 8 million tons of plastic trash are dumped into the world’s oceans each year. Bottle caps, toothbrushes, bottles and plastic bags are often ingested by marine animals while others can become entangled. According to the International Whaling Commission, recent research suggests that examples of ingestion of marine debris have been found for just over half of cetacean species.

Combining a school art project and cetacean education, the initiative aims to facilitate a creative conversation among young students about the role each of us can play in protecting our environment.

Speaking about the launch of this exciting collaboration, Dylan Walker, CEO of the World Cetacean Alliance, commented on how great it is to arrive at this important milestone. ‘Involving both the arts and local communities is integral to the work of the World Cetacean Alliance, and we are proud to be involved with this project. Art, in its many forms, is an outstanding way to involve people with issues such as marine conservation, and highlight the problem of marine litter to children in a way that is both fun and inspiring.

Community projects like this can be such catalysts for young people, and can often have life-changing impacts. If just one person strives for a career in marine conservation or sustainability as a result of exciting projects like this, then we will have done our job!’

Umcebo Design’s Creative Director, Robin Opperman said ‘Umcebo Design aims to create high end art pieces which highlight the beauty of these creatures and which show the infinite possibilities for creative recycling. We are making a powerful statement by using the very materials that threaten the existence of cetaceans to make examples of them, and to create an awareness of them and their importance to our planet. This is whimsical and yet very powerful at the same time.’

The WCA aims to increase local participation and engagement with responsible whale tourism and recycling projects through fun and creative projects such as this.

Giant Tourism Booster for Durban

An article by FRED KOCKOTT AND ZAMO PHUNGULA published by The Tribune, Durban’s popular Sunday paper, says that the World Whale Conference will help to promote whale tourism in Kwazulu-Natal.

WITH THE 4th World Whale Congress being hosted in Durban in June, whale-based tourism in Kwazulu-natal is likely to get a giant boost.

At the top of the agenda is the creation of Whale Heritage Sites (WHS) – an initiative launched by World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) in April last year.

The initiative aims to connect and promote sustainable, responsible whale watching enterprises globally.

So far, six world renowned whale watching destinations have applied for WHS status. They are North Vancouver Island (Canada), Hervey Bay and Port Stephens (Australia), Peninsula Valdes (Argentina), Nantucket (US) and Azores (Portugal).

The upcoming World Whale Congress could inspire Durban to follow suit.

Besides serving as a gateway to whale and dolphin watching in KZN, local tourism operators and conservation agencies believe the city’s whaling past could be developed into a signature eco-tourism enterprise.

Durban once had the biggest land-based whaling station in the world. By the late 1980s, several species of whales had been hunted to the brink of local extinction.

At Port Natal Maritime Museum a growing archive of artefacts, photos, and associated documentation from the old whaling station on the Bluff have already become the mainstay of Whaletime tours, operated by five young tourism guides from Umlazi.

They hope to extend Whaletime tours to the old whaling station on the Bluff, but the historic site is currently used by the military.

“Our challenge is to turn this into a conservation success story.

“Durban is ideally positioned to promote ethical whale-based tourism enterprises, and to use the presence of this iconic species to create awareness about ocean conservation issues,” said Nikki Chapman of the ocean expedition agency, Sea Quests, which helped train Whaletime guides.

Dr Jean Harris, head of Ezemvelo’s scientific services division, agreed.

“The recovery of humpback whale populations that migrate close inshore along our coast is a story that brings eco-tourism opportunities that could create more jobs than whaling did,” said Harris.

WCA chief executive Dylan Walker said the hosting of the World Whale Congress in Durban would help galvanise efforts and unite national, regional and global stakeholders from whale conservation and welfare backgrounds, the whale watching industry, as well as travel and tourism companies.

“It’s for everybody interested in marine conservation and eco-tourism, particularly our African colleagues,” said Walker. “We have been hugely impressed with Kwazulunatal, its friendly people and its focus on conservation and sustainability.”

The conference is scheduled to take place at Durban’s Protea Edward Hotel from June 24-29 and is expected to attract 200 international delegates. The conference shall culminate with Whale Heritage Site candidates showcasing their destinations and exploring the development of new sites in Africa.

Original article by Roving Reporters:



Tsogo Sun offers discounted hotel rates

Exclusive offer to all World Whale Conference 2017 delegates

The Tsogo Sun hotel group has made an exclusive offer of discounted overnight accomodation, including breakfast,  to delegates attending the World Whale Conference 2017. Tsogo Sun hotels and resorts are renowned for comfort, service excellence, and their characteristic African warmth.

The Garden Court Marine Parade is wonderfully situated on Durban’s Golden Mile. This newly refurbished hotel is meters from the beach and close to key tourist attractions. With all 346 rooms sea-facing, Garden Court Marine Parade has a heated roof-top swimming pool with panoramic views over the Indian Ocean. Fresh, contemporary styling induces a sense of relaxation. After a busy day at the conference, guests can enjoy these panoramic views as they cool down in the hotel’s sparkling heated rooftop pool. The covered pool area provides protection from less than perfect weather so even on the rare days when it’s raining or too windy to go to the beach, the pool can still be enjoyed anytime of the day or night. With the comfortable deck chairs and views of the Indian Ocean and Durban’s Golden Mile, this roof-top oasis is a firm favourite with all guests..

The Garden Court South Beach is situated a little further away from the conference venue and within easy reach of Durban’s popular South Beach. It provides an ideal springboard from which to explore Durban and its surrounds. Guests needing a bit of relaxation can take advantage of the sparkling outdoor pool.

To take advantage of this offer when booking for the World Whale Conference 2017, please make your reservation directly through Sinethemba Nzimande, quoting the WCA World Whale Conference. Bookings can be made via email at: or by telephone on:   +27 (0)31 492 4001. This offer is valid for the first 50 delegates.