This popular activity has grown during the past years and now many companies are offering various outings, most from the South-West coast in Tamarin and Black River, others from the South of the island, Bel Ombre and some in the North (Grand Baie or Pereybère).
First of all, it is important to understand that dolphins are in their natural environment, whether in the open sea or in the lagoon (most often in the South-West), and that many boat are present on site with groups of 2 to 10 people who wish to make their dream of swimming with dolphins come true !
It is therefore important to choose the provider carefully, beacause unfortunately not most of them respect the basic rules which are the safety on the boat and in the water (you will be swimming between speed boats) and the respect of the dolphins.
They are often disturbed by the boats which are invading their territory (of rest or hunting) and intruding into their life. In addition, some of the tour operators organise a kind of ‘hunt’ and are harrassing the dolphins which is really annoying for them. It is important to learn about the tour operator before choosing the one you will be sailing with.
If you wish to try the experience and make your dream come true in the best conditions, here are some instructions to be respected :
– If you jump loudly in the sea, you will probably scare the dolphins and make them
flee ! So be calm even if you feel excited and please respect their place of living.
While watching dolphins, the boats’s engine must be in the neutral position and it must not prevent the dolphins from arriving in front or behind them.
It is probalbly one of the most important rules. If a dolphin or a group of dolphin is interested in you, he or they will come to watch you, do some rounds around you. Do not take advantage of it to try to caress them. It is possible that they even initiate a contact, but in any case, do not take the lead. Especially since, under circumstances, this can lead to unwanted reactions from them. These are animals known for their kindness towards humans, but don’t forget that they are primarily wild animals.
Swim gently, keep your arms around your body, try not to beet feet or fins out of the surface of the water (very noisy). In case a dolphin comes to watch you, try to turn with him as a kind of aquatic ballet. Easier for them than for us !
If you have the chance to see one or many dolphins come to meet you, try to make eye contact with him. Those experienced i twill tell you, there is a lot going on with these exchanges. This contact will show you that these animals are indeed of an extraordinary intelligence and sensibility.
As some of the dolphin swim operators may explain, it’s up to you to entertain them. As they live in a world of sound, the easiest way is to produce ‘interesting’ sounds yourself when underwater, such as singing or making funny noises, while remaining soft and calm. Above all, avoid shouting, throwing objects or feeding them, these practices are prohibited.
In the South of the island, off Le Morne, many boats offer outings to admire or swim with the dolphins, that can be seen very often. These excursions are usually combined with other excursions such as the visit of Crystal Rock and lunch on Benitiers island or snorkelling on the reefs and during winter, whale wathching. Departure is early in the morning, around 7am ususally, the trip lasts about 2 hours or all day long depending on the package chosen.
Once you are arrived on site, you will be briefed on the boat regarding all safety measure and dolphin respect, before getting into the water.
Tour operators we recommend :
JPH Charters : firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel : (+230)57 29 09 01
Our clients alos recommend :
Dolswim : email@example.com – Tel : (+230)54 22 92 81
If you are renting a villa in the North or East coast of the island, it is better to plan one hour drive by car to reach Tamarin if the appointment is early (before 7.30am), and 1h30 mins if the appointment is later in the morning.