The Cape Times reported that geological survey company CCG Veritas intended firing high-level, low frequency sound waves down to the sea bed, which would result in a two-dimensional image of geological formations.
This image could then be interpreted to pinpoint the presence of oil or gas.
The Petroleum Agency of South Africa had accepted its application for a permit, subject to the approval of an environmental management plan.
According to a background information document, the seismic survey could have "a very low to low" effect on dolphins, whales, turtles, sea birds and the fishing industry.
It proposed that the survey go ahead between next March and late May to avoid whale migration, peak turtle migration and nesting season.
According to the report, an independent marine observer could be placed onboard to monitor the reaction of sea creatures during firing.
Firing should stop if there were obvious behaviour changes or if a creature was injured or killed. – Sapa