Every year from July to November whales can be seen along the southern coast of South African shores, travelling thousands of miles to mate and calve in the safe and warm waters of protected bays. The 'heart of the Whale Coast' is Hermanus, renowned as the best whale-watching area in the country, where Southern Right whales can be seen in Walker Bay, often within 33 feet (10m) from shore. Walker Bay is recognised by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the top 12 whale viewing destinations in the world. The steep cliffs and many viewing points of Hermanus provide the perfect vantage point for whale watching. In general, the whale route stretches from the Western Cape up the east coast, including places along the Garden Route such as Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay (especially Keurbooms River and the Robberg Peninsula), and the Tsitsikamma National Park coastline. The De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve is also popular during the whale season for its relatively new Whale Trail, a five-day hiking trail that offers fantastic whale viewing opportunities along its coastal stretch. Numerous whale-watching boat excursions are offered in the Western Cape and seeing these gentle giants close-up is an incredible experience.