Community Inspired

Our Purpose

Plettenberg Bay’s Whale Heritage Area represents a hub of excellence in ocean tourism, marine research and conservation and community inclusion. Our international accreditation is testament to the collaborative efforts of the town’s marine science community, conservation organisations, tourism destination management, whale boat operators, and tourism sector businesses – all of whom are united by their shared commitment to safeguarding Plettenberg Bay’s precious ocean and coastal ecosystems.

We aim to develop Plettenberg Bay’s reputation as a centre of excellence for marine science, conservation and tourism. By nurturing these connections, we amplify our collective impact on preserving the region’s marine heritage. Our endeavours also extend to fostering a deep-rooted connection between our communities and the surrounding ocean and coastline. We strive to instill a genuine sense of attachment and affection for these natural wonders, inspiring a community-wide dedication to their protection and sustainability.

The accreditation process for Plettenberg Bay to be recognised as one of the world’s ten Whale Heritage Sites involved a comprehensive and rigorous evaluation. A distinguished international panel comprising conservationists, marine scientists, and ecotourism authorities required compelling evidence of the unwavering commitment of various stakeholders in Plettenberg Bay to the preservation of the surrounding ocean and coastal areas.

To meet the stringent criteria, it was imperative to demonstrate that prominent conservation organisations such as CapeNature and Nature’s Valley Trust actively safeguard the ocean and coastal systems around Plettenberg Bay with unwavering dedication. Additionally, the ongoing efforts of local marine scientists who consistently study the marine life in the region played a crucial role in showcasing the area’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

Plett Tourism emerged as a key player in promoting ecologically sensitive tourism practices, aligning with the town’s dedication to sustainable and responsible tourism. Furthermore, local whale boat operators were required to adhere to South Africa’s internationally respected whale-watching regulations, ensuring the well-being of the marine environment and its inhabitants.

An essential aspect of the accreditation process was demonstrating that the benefits derived from the ocean are inclusive across the diverse communities in Plettenberg Bay and that the town celebrates its connection and affection for the ocean through various artistic expressions, underscoring the cultural importance of the marine environment.

In essence, the accreditation process underscored Plettenberg Bay’s holistic approach to marine conservation and sustainable practices, acknowledging the collective efforts of stakeholders in preserving the region’s natural beauty for future generations.

A Not for Profit Organisation (NPO)

The Plettenberg Bay Whale Heritage Area is a unique community-driven initiative established to preserve the town’s ocean and marine systems. It is registered as a Not For Profit company and subscribes to the highest standards of governance.

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Individuals with extensive and successful corporate careers bring not just their expertise, but a genuine love for Plettenberg Bay and a desire to see it thrive in a sustainable, community-centric way.

A steering committee comprised of specialists in marine science, conservation, destination tourism marketing and whale boat watching ensures active collaboration across these important sectors and that Plettenberg Bay ultimately meets the stringent annual standards set by the Whale Cetacean Alliance for ongoing accreditation.

Rob is a retired diplomat and leadership advisor with a deep love for Plettenberg Bay and devoted to preserving its marine and coastal treasures. He believes in finding a balance between thriving ocean tourism, marine conservation and the well-being of local communities.

Brett Ferguson

Brett’s career spanned two decades during which time he invested in fintech startups. His heart lies with wildlife sustainability, and he’s committed to ensuring Plettenberg Bay remains a thriving marine and coastal haven.

Mark is a retired mining executive and has witnessed the evolving impact of Bitou’s growing population on the environment. He’s driven to support initiatives that ensure sustainable growth while safeguarding the natural beauty that makes Plettenberg Bay special.

With a background in marketing and communications, John understands the power of storytelling. He’s passionate about using sustainable tourism to not only boost the local economy but also create a sense of pride and belonging among residents.

Chris thrives on driving change, whether it’s in listed companies or non-profits. He’s eager to contribute to organizations in Plettenberg Bay that have the potential to shape the community positively, foster tourism growth, and champion marine conservation.

The World Cetacean Alliance

“Plettenberg Bay is one of the most beautiful and important cetacean sites in the world. We are delighted to welcome them into the The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) which is the largest global network of partners, working together to address some of the most pressing issues facing whales, dolphins and porpoises and their ocean habitats”. 

Harry Eckman, CEO World Cetacean Alliance

Other World Heritage Areas Globally

Plettenberg Bay South Africa is one of 10 accredited Whale Heritage Areas globally. Visit the others below:

Our Affiliates​