Durban - Surfing, dancing, the blowing of fog horns from whale watching boats, sand sculptures, poetry and drum majorettes will welcome passing humpback whales at Ansteys Beach on the Bluff at noon today.

It will be the third annual Welcoming of the Whales Festival, said Sodurba Tourism’s Helga du Preez.

The mammals share the coast off KwaZulu-Natal with sardines at this time of year but are on their own mission - heading for warmer, tropical waters to mate and breed, she said.

They are on their north-bound journey from their Antarctic feeding ground and should return to the Antarctic chill with their calves.

Festival goers may park at the Harlequins Sports Club, a shuttle will take them to the beach. An arts and crafts market and educational exhibitions will be in full swing from 9am. Foreshore Drive, between Ansteys Beach and Brighton Beach, will be closed.

“The whale welcoming ceremony on the beach will start at noon and last for about an hour,” said Du Preez. 

The Independent on Saturday