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Swim with dolphins for your outdoor activity in Mauritius

Written by Fiona

August 29 2019

Mauritius is an island nation situated in the southwest Indian Ocean. Its topography and geography make it a popular destination among many tourists around the world. One of its most exciting tourist attractions include an immersive outdoor experience with the island’s cetacean natives.

First-hand experience with Mauritian dolphins

One of the best ways to see animals in their natural habitat rather than in an artificial den within a zoo. Even though large aquariums can offer you a good close-up view of dolphins, nothing beats swimming with them in the ocean where they rightfully belong.

If you have always been fascinated by these playful marine mammals, Mauritius offers the opportunity to swim with dolphins, if you are lucky enough.

Mauritius enjoys a tropical-temperate climate, making it a great dwelling and breeding place for both dolphins and whales. Dolphins generally live in pods consisting of approximately 20 individuals. They are commonly seen in the early mornings around Tamarin, along the west coast of Mauritius, as they head towards deeper waters near Le Morne Peninsula for feeding.

Tourists will encounter two types of dolphin species on their tours. These are the bottlenose dolphins and the spinner dolphins. These species do not usually like to share spaces so it is highly unlikely that you will ever see them in the same spot, at the same time. For example, if bottlenose dolphins arrive where the spinner dolphins are, the spinners will usually leave the area and head out to the open sea.

Here are some notable differences between the two:

Bottlenose Dolphins: These are the dolphins you will probably see on a tour. They are grey in colour and they are approximately 2m to 4m long. They weigh anywhere from 150kg to a whopping 650kg.

People usually encounter them along the country’s west coast. Their pods typically consist of 15 to 50 dolphins and they usually dwell in waters deeper than 50m.

Spinner Dolphins: These dolphins are darker grey in colour. They typically have dark patches on their body, particularly near the throat, on the back, and around their tails. They may also have a creamy-white patch on their bellies.

Their length ranges from 1.29m to 2.35m, while their weight ranges from 23kg to 78kg. Their fins and beaks are particularly big for their body size. Spinners are generally seen in large pods that have up to 100 individuals.

Dolphins showing off! Credit: Trip and travel blog

Dolphin swimming package tours

There are various tour packages available that can take you to where the dolphins are. The tour details will just differ according to your preferred itinerary, preferred locations and budget.

For example, you can join a group tour or a private tour.

The tour boats usually leave at 8am because that’s when most of the dolphins are heading out to the sea. Most tours last at least two hours and these usually offer breakfast and lunch.

The boat also has swimming gear like life jackets, masks, snorkels and flippers so you can swim with the dolphins up close. The number of participants per boat is also limited, so as not to scare the dolphins away.

Setting expectations: Dolphin sightings are not always guaranteed

Despite being a dolphin sightseeing tour, it is important to consider that there are instances when tourists won’t be able to see any dolphins at all. This is actually a caveat that your guides will tell you right from the start.

Animals in the wild aren’t always predictable, but at the very least, your guides know how to do their best to ensure that you will still be able to make the most out of your island tour.

According to Mauritian tour guides, it’s best to go to Mauritius for dolphin sightseeing from May to September. Hence, if you are thinking of going to Mauritius anytime soon, it’s advisable to go during these months.

Go home with great photos and memories

For those who like taking photos, swimming with dolphins in Mauritius is a dream come true. If you have a waterproof camera, that’s even better. It is definitely the kind of outdoor activity that is one for the bucket list and the kind of memory that you would want to remember and show off for the rest of your life.

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