Swim with Dolphins
One of the most popular activities on the island is swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat. This experience is both exciting and educational, providing a unique opportunity to interact with these magnificent creatures up close.
Swimming with dolphins in Mauritius is a magical experience. The island is home to a large population of spinner and bottlenose dolphins, which can be found in the waters around the west coast of the island. The best time to spot these playful mammals is early in the morning, between 7 and 9 am, when they are most active and in search of food.
Most dolphin swimming tours depart from the fishing village of Tamarin and offer a range of experiences for visitors. Some tours take place on large boats, while others use smaller speedboats or catamarans. Once out at sea, it's common for the boats to slow down or stop, allowing passengers to enter the water and swim alongside the dolphins.
Swimming with dolphins is a truly unforgettable experience. These intelligent creatures are incredibly friendly and curious, often approaching swimmers to investigate. They are known to swim around the boats and even jump out of the water, performing acrobatic tricks that are sure to delight and amaze.
It's also important to note that swimming with dolphins is a seasonal activity in Mauritius. The best time to visit the island for this experience is between May and September, when the sea is calm and the weather is pleasant. During this time, the water temperature is perfect for swimming, and visibility is excellent, making it easier to spot dolphins.
In addition to swimming with dolphins, many tours also include snorkeling and exploring the coral reefs around the island. This provides a unique opportunity to see a variety of marine life, including colorful fish and coral formations.
There are several species of dolphins that can be found in the waters around Mauritius. The most common species of dolphins that you are likely to encounter on a dolphin watching and swimming tour in Mauritius are:
Spinner Dolphins: These are the most common species of dolphins in Mauritius and are known for their acrobatic displays, which involve spinning and leaping out of the water.
Bottlenose Dolphins: These are another common species of dolphins in Mauritius and are known for their playful and curious nature. They are typically found in shallow, calm waters close to the shore.
It's important to note that while these species of dolphins are commonly found in the waters around Mauritius, there is no guarantee that you will encounter them on a dolphin watching and swimming tour. Dolphins are wild animals and their behavior can be unpredictable, so sightings cannot be guaranteed.
Swimming with dolphins in Mauritius is allowed under certain conditions. The government of Mauritius has established strict guidelines to protect the dolphins and ensure their well-being. For example, you are not allowed to touch, chase, or feed the dolphins, and there are limits on the number of boats and swimmers that can be in the water at any given time.
Swimming with whales, on the other hand, is not permitted in Mauritius. The government has established regulations to protect these large marine mammals, and swimming with them is strictly prohibited. However, visitors can still enjoy whale watching tours from a distance, where they can observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat without interfering with their behavior. It's important to note that these regulations are in place to protect the dolphins and whales and to ensure that they are not disturbed by human activity. Visitors to Mauritius should respect these rules and enjoy these incredible animals while also being mindful of their well-being.
If you would like to see dolphins in Mauritius, you can arrange a tour with a licensed tour operator. These operators have been authorised by local authorities to offer dolphin watching and swimming experiences while adhering to strict guidelines to ensure the safety of the dolphins and yourself.
There are various tour operators in Mauritius offering dolphin watching and swimming experiences, including catamaran cruises, speedboat tours, and even bespoke private tours. Tour operators that offer dolphin watching and swimming experiences in Mauritius are commonly located in coastal areas and tourist hotspots such as Grand Baie, Flic en Flac, Tamarin, Black River, and Trou aux Biches. In general, you can find these tour operators in most coastal areas and tourist hotspots throughout the island. It's important that you do some research and choose a reputable and responsible tour operator that follows the established guidelines and promotes sustainable tourism practices.
Tourism Authority (Dolphin and Whale Watching) Regulations 2012. [PDF]