If you wish to combine your holiday in Mauritius with a once-in-a-lifetime outdoors experience, you should take a trip to the deep Indian Ocean waters for an unforgettable whale watching tour. Mauritius may not be the most popular destination in the world for whale watching, but it offers a great chance to get up close to the giant mammals throughout the year. Are you ready for a unique marine adventure, off the west coast of Mauritius?
Choose an eco-friendly whale watching tour operator
When booking a whale watching tour, you should bear in mind that you are about to invade the natural habitat of whales. According to scientific research and evidence, human presence in the wild affects the whales' behaviour, increases their stress levels, and may even be putting their existence at risk. Therefore, do thorough research before choosing a whale watching tour operator, and only select eco-friendly businesses. In practice, a conscious tour follows the whales by staying within the recommended speed limit and keeping the minimum distance between the boat and the whales.
Things to consider before embarking on a speedboat
Whale watching tours in Mauritius are done on speedboats, which sail in the open ocean for at least three hours. Depending on the weather conditions, the ride can be anything from smooth to bumpy. Thus, it is highly advisable for pregnant women and children below the age of seven to stay on shore. Once on the boat, expect to hear safety instructions and be given a life jacket. Whereas you are there to spot whales, keep your eyes open for other fascinating creatures such as dolphins and sea turtles.
Type of whales residing in or migrating to Mauritius
Whales can travel further than any other animal in search of temperate waters to reproduce and of giant squid and krill to eat. However, different species prefer different parts of the world to live in or migrate to seasonally. Sperm whales reside all-year-round off the west and south-west coast of Mauritius, but humpback whales are there only from July to November to mate and give birth before heading back to the Antarctic Ocean. Besides seeing the whales’ beautiful dances on the surface, you can also hear their mesmerising songs.
Tips for an unforgettable whale watching tour
Unfortunately, in Mauritius, it is not 100% guaranteed that you will spot whales during a whale watching tour. To avoid disappointment and devastation, keep in mind that there’s a slight possibility not to encounter the beautiful animals during your tour. But sailing outside the lagoon and enjoying the stunning views of Tamarin Bay from far out is a notable experience in itself. Breath in the fresh ocean air, remember to apply high protection sunscreen, and for the best shots of marine wildlife, it is recommended to carry a zoom lens. Also, pack a rain jacket (better to be safe than sorry), water, and some snacks because lunchtime may feel more distant than you think.
Whale watching with children
Whale watching is a thrilling activity, and while it’s not recommended for young children, it’s a privilege for older children to participate in such an experience. Before booking your children in a whale watching tour, be realistic about the hours of sailing and waiting in the sea to spot the whales. Whale watching requires patience and standing under the sun, which can be physically draining for young adventurers. Also, take into account the drive to and from Tamarin, especially if you reside in the North of Mauritius. Last but not least, take into account the risks involved in whale watching, as whales are wild animals, meaning they are also unpredictable.
Written by Maria Iotova, a freelance journalist and former expat in Mauritius.
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