Humpback whale season: Where to find them and how to whale-watch responsibly

Published on 2022-09-08 at 13:47
It is that time of the year again, humpback whales are back in Mauritian waters and putting on a show for enthusiasts. gives you an overview of where to find them and how to be respectful of their presence.

If you've been on social media recently, chances are you have come across photos and videos of humpback whales gallivanting along the Mauritian coast. Indeed, May to September is the humpback whale's mating season and they choose the warmer waters to get all loved up. For us, residents of the island, it is the perfect time for days out at sea looking for playful humpback whales. However, it is important to be as respectful of their environment as possible and to disturb the whales as little as possible during this critical time in their lives.

What are humpback whales?

Humpback whales, known in French as the baleines à bosse, live for most of the year around polar areas. Adult male humpback whales can be up to 15 m long and weigh up to 50 tons and adult females are usually a little larger than their male counterparts. While humpback whales usually feed in the polar areas, they will look for warmer waters to breed. They can travel up to 25,000km to come closer to our shores. Humpback whales are also known for their songs, a variety of moans, groans and songs that are some of the most complex in the animal world. It is believed that male humpback whales sing to attract female humpback whales.

Where would you find them in Mauritius?

Humpback whales will mostly be observed on the West coast, off Flic-en-Flac, Tamarin or Albion. While mothers and their calves can wander inside the lagoon, male humpback whales can be observed in the open sea. 

How can you observe humpback whales in Mauritius?

It is possible to observe humpback whales from the shore. The perfect place to observe humpback whales from the shore is Albion, either on the cliffs behind the Club Med hotel or from the cliffs surrounding the Albion lighthouse. Several members of the public have been able to enjoy a beautiful whale show from Albion, especially in the early morning. However, it may take a lot of patience and your efforts could be in vain.

Another option is to go whale watching on a boat. There are a few options available and a quick internet search will yield several whale watching tours that are suitable for all budgets and all preferences. This option will significantly increase your chances of having an encounter with whales but it is important to make sure that you and the tour operators are very respectful of the animals and their environment.

How can you make sure your whale watching experience is safe and responsible?

While the risks of physically injuring whales is quite low in the Mauritian waters, the noise can greatly disrupt their activities. It is important, therefore, that whale watching tours are carried out in the most respectful way possible. An encounter with a speedboat is unlikely to greatly disturb whales but several speedboats hovering around them all day long will disturb their activities. What are some tips to make sure you are able to enjoy watching the whales while being respectful of their lives and activities and that of other wildlife.

  • Try and research tour operators beforehand and go for the ones who have whale safety at heart.
  • Ask your tour operator what measures they take to ensure their trips are ethical and safe for the wildlife. Watch out for their speed limit and whether they are wary of limiting noise pollution.
  • Make sure the operator to avoid crowds surrounding and hovering above and around the whales
  • Make sure the operator keeps a safe distance from the whales. Let the animals approach the boat if they want to but do not violate their physical boundaries.
  • Respect the whales' boundaries. If the whales are elusive and trying to escape, ask your operator not to chase them and instead move on to finding another pod.