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HomeCourse CategoriesHospitality and Tourism01: Accredited Whale Watching Course (BBWW & LBWW)

ET~101: - Whale Watching Course

Duration: ±80 notional hrs (10 - 14 days) | Course Code: ET~101: | Cost From: R2,750 per person + R1,500 pp (plus any travel and accommodation - see below) for SETA Accreditation Credits (if required)

This Course is Accredited by CATHSSETA and complies with Unit Standard: 335816 "Conduct a guided adventure experience (whale watching)" NQF Level 4: 8 Credits
{Accreditation Number: 613/P/000285/2015}

This is not a Tour Guide Course. (However the modules are part of our Tourist Guide Level 2 Course, and will be credited accordingly)

Any Tour activity requires the presence of at least a qualified Level 2 Site Guide, and should have completed a specialized accordingly - see our Marine Nature Site Guide Course.

This course was initially approved by DEA during the earlier days of BBWW Permit issue, but is no longer a Permit requirement!

It is a comprehensive course and covers the Geography and Metrology of the South African marine and coastal areas, Weather Conditions, some common Species of animal, fish and reptiles that are likely to be encountered in different areas during normal whale watching excursions along the coastline, community involvements and much more.

Tourists go whale and dolphin watching for a mostly holistic experience - they want to know more about the marine and coastal environment, other species and local area information, in addition to being able to see whales or dolphins. Thus crew members as well as the on-board Guide need to be familiar with these aspects in their area, and be able to impart their knowledge in a credible and interesting way to the inquisitive tourist. It also helps to be able to direct tourists' attention to other species and points of interest while searching for cetaceans that may on may not be encountered.

Basking Shark

The Course attempts to give the learner an extensive overall knowledge of the ecosystems in which they will be working. The mandatory Approach Regulations and Permit Conditions for Boat-Based Whale Watching are also included for BBWW Operators with Permits for BBWW.

The entire course consists of 12 Modules, all of which have to be completed successfully in order to obtain accreditation. A 13th Module applies specifically to Boat Based Whale Watching - Permit Conditions and Best Practice.

To obtain the Accreditation Credits and SAQA recognition (NQF4:8 credits), learners must in addition, be assessed as competent by an accredited Assessor. This can be arranged at additional cost, dependent on the area.


  • To enable the enhancement of services provided to clients during the general conducting of a Whale Watching experience for local and international tourists.
  • To ensure the whale watching experience is carried out in a professional and sustainable manner, with minimal impact on the cetaceans and environment.

Target Audience

Those individuals who are involved in the field of Whale Watching, either Land Based or Boat Based, whether under the authority of a Permit or not. This includes the tour guide, crew members, skippers and any other individuals who interact with tourists during a tour where whales and dolphins (cetaceans) are encountered.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit standard, the learner will understand and be able to:

  • Prepare to conduct a whale watching experience
  • Conduct a whale watching experience
  • Conclude and review a whale watching experience
  • Provide the tourist with accurate environmental information to make it a memorable experience.

There is no strict duration or time specified to take this course and complete it. It is a long course however, and minimum time to complete is ± 80 notional hours.

Scope & Requirements

Learners should already be competent in:

  • Communication literacy English 
  • Numeracy/Mathematical Literacy
  • Skills in guiding or dealing with local and foreign tourists

  • This is an e-learning course. Learners need access to the Internet to enrol in and complete the course. Learners should also be located in an area suitable for whale watching, or employed by a Permit Holder for Boat Based Whale Watching.


R 2,750 per person

This excludes the cost of the final assessment to be submitted to Cathsseta for Credits ( Add extra costs of travel and accommodation for Assessor as necessary and depending on area). Alternative arrangements may be made for video assessment.

The Practical Approach module (if required) can be arranged on request. There may be additional costs for this.


All Material is subject to Copyright. A COMET Certificate of Completion will be sent to those who complete the course, and SETA Credits to those who requested it (see above) - US 335816 NQF Level 04 and 8 Credits.

Duration: ±80 notional hrs (10 - 14 days)
Course Code: ET~101:

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About Comet Training

Comet Training is a trading name for The Penny Ferry (Pty) Ltd, a limited liability company established in 1996. The Penny Ferry has been involved in hands-on training and e-learning for many years, specializing in the Marine, Environmental, Tourism, Industrial, Health and Technical markets. Through close associations with other organizations, Comet Training was established to better promote a suite of e-learning applications to the global markets.