Dolphins and Whales in Mauritius
June 18 2019
June 18 2019
Mesmerising powder-fine beaches that unravel as far as the eye can see, tropical jungles that come alive with the sounds of rare birds and animals, vivid green sugar cane files that dance in the sunlight, undulating volcanic landscapes and water so pristine you can see right through it - you would be forgiven for thinking Mauritius was heaven on earth.
A highly coveted destination among discerning world travellers, Mauritius is a magical wonderland, where the kind of island holiday you have been dreaming of can become a reality. Gourmets can feast on sublime local dishes, adventurous souls can navigate the jungle-like interiors, sun worshippers can soak up some vitamin D along the world-class beaches, while water babies can make the most of the azure tropical lagoons.
From adventure parks and hikes to sightseeing excursions, shopping trips, luxury spa treatments, beachside activities and more, there really is so much to do in Mauritius, the options are practically endless - which can sometimes get a bit overwhelming. If you are looking for one absolute must-do activity while on holiday in Mauritius, then definitely opt for a day trip that will take you swimming with dolphins and looking for whales in Mauritius - there’s nothing quite like seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat as they glide through the waves.
If this sounds like the right activity for you, then this is what you need to know about seeking out dolphins and whales in Mauritius:
It’s one of those bucket list activities
The term “bucket list” is touted around often these days and the idea is great -finding once-in-a-lifetime activities that you would like to do in your lifetime. If you are heading to Mauritius and enjoy wildlife, then this is definitely one for your bucket list. There's something incredibly awe-inspiring about being able to witness these amazing creatures in their natural habitat (not in pools or tanks, but actual wild dolphins in the ocean), and, if the conditions are right, even get to swim with the dolphins. Surrounded by crystal-clear waters and incredible creatures, it’s bound to be one of those hard-to-explain moments that will stay with you forever.
There are many different tours to choose from
Opting to go on a trip to find dolphins and whales in Mauritius is a hugely popular activity, which is why there is an array of service providers that offer different options. Many set off in the morning and include a continental breakfast, others cover more of the day and might involve lunch or snacks and refreshments while others might also include a tour to other parts of the island or one of the islands nearby. Almost all of them centre on small groups that get taken out on speedboats, but there are those that include a trip on a catamaran. Do your research and find one that appeals the most to you for a truly memorable experience. Many of these tours take off from the west coast and if you are staying in certain areas, you may be eligible for complimentary transfers to and from your hotel.
You don’t need to bring any equipment
The good news when you book a trip to go see dolphins and whales in Mauritius is that you don’t need to bring any of your own equipment, it’s all already included (such as life jackets, flippers, snorkels and goggles). If while you are out searching for dolphins, you find some (and if the conditions are right), then you will be able to kit up with all the gear given to you by the tour operators and dive into the azure waters to enjoy the chance to witness dolphins underwater.
Typically, these tours start with the dolphin portion, and once guests have had a moment to swim with them, everyone gets back on board and further out to sea in order to try and spot the whales. The sea conditions can play a big part in whether or not you actually land up finding whales, but so much of this excursion is about the experience as a whole.
Remember that because these are wild animals, the tour operators can’t guarantee any dolphin or whale sightings (which can be anything from seeing them under the water to watching them breaching), and it all depends on conditions and a touch of luck. Make the most of your time out there and see what else you can spot in the water.
The trip is sure to be educational as well as memorable
As with every boating adventure, there’s a thorough safety briefing as part of the tour. But it’s not all rules and procedures, they also explain what types of dolphins and whales you can see in Mauritius and what some of the habits of dolphins and whales are. They also outline some guidelines for sustainable dolphin and whale interactions - remember, it’s important to approach this experience with the best interests of the animals and their environment in mind; you will be entering their space, so make sure you do so respectfully.
There are two few different types of dolphins in Mauritius
Part of the excitement of heading out on a dolphin- and whale-searching adventure is not knowing first of all, if you will be lucky enough to see them, and secondly, not knowing what types you may see!
Playful and bursting with energy, the dolphins that are found in Mauritius are the Bottlenose Dolphins and Spinner Dolphins. The picture of grace and intelligence, these creatures can be often be found riding the waves off the west coast of Mauritius in the morning and heading towards deeper waters off the Le Morne peninsula in pods of 20 upwards. The west coast of Mauritius is where they tend to sleep and rest and off the southern tip, in the deeper waters, they fish.
The Bottlenose Dolphins are the more common dolphins of the two types found in Mauritius and interestingly, you definitely won’t find these two different types of dolphins together. The Bottlenose Dolphins are a light grey in colour, live and move in pods (but the size of the pods differ, and it’s not entirely uncommon to see solitary dolphins or pods over 1 000 strong). These dolphins mainly feed on small fish.
The Spinner Dolphins are said by some to be the more playful of the two species found predominantly in the Tamarin, Black River and Point Moyenne areas in Mauritius. They are a darker grey than the Bottlenose Dolphins and have even darker spots towards the tail, on the back and by the throat, often with light patches on the belly.
They are also distinctive in that their beaks and fins, which are beautifully long, and they are known to glide acrobatically through the water. Unlike the Bottlenose Dolphins, the Spinner Dolphins move in pods which get up to a maximum of around 100 dolphins.
At the right time of year, you can enjoy amazing whale sightings
Various whale species are found in Mauritius. Some of the most commonly found include Pilot Whales, Dwarf Sperm Whales, Gray's Beaked Whales, Humpback Whales, Blainville's Beaked Whales and the Sperm Whale, which is perhaps the most famous whale in Mauritius.
Sperm Whales are the biggest toothed whales in the ocean and can grow up to 18 metres and weight 70 tonnes. They tend to dive for their food (fish, sharks and squid) and have small lower jaws as opposed to the bigger upper jaws and paddle-like flippers.
Whales typically head to the tropical waters of Mauritius during the Southern Hemisphere's austral winter to give birth and to mate before returning to the Antarctic Ocean. The prime months for whale sightings tend to be between July and November.
Would you like to experience this wondrous adventure alongside these incredible cetaceans in paradise? Then book a stay at one of our Sun Resorts, where we do our best to ensure you have the holiday of a lifetime.