Dolphins are part of the family of toothed whales that includes pilot whales and orcas. They are highly intelligent marine mammals that are found worldwide, although mainly on the continental shelves.
Experts believe there are 44 species of dolphin in total, including a recently-discovered new species, the Burrunan dolphin, that was first recognised in 2011. Their colouring varies, although they are normally various shades of grey. Community mammals, they can live in groups of varying sizes - some communities numbering several hundred, while others are as small as four or five.
Favourites among wildlife-watchers, many admire their playful behaviour and spell binding agility as they leap out of the water, rising vertically to check out their surroundings and synchronising their movements as they follow boats. Scientists say that following ships by swimming alongside - called bow-riding - conserves the dolphins' energy.
Species in Seychelles
The warm, clear water around Seychelles is a haven for dolphins - and for visitors who wish to take part in excursions to watch these fascinating mammals in their natural habitat. There are several species in the waters around the islands, such as resident pods of the acrobatic Spinner dolphins around Alphonse Island or the small pods of dolphins that can be seen swimming and playing in the sea around Beau Vallon beach.
The Spinners are easily recognisable, thanks to the way the young leap into the air, performing amazing acrobatics and aerial twists. Other species spotted around the islands include bottle-nosed, Risso's and spotted dolphins.
Bird Island is particularly popular for nature-lovers, as dolphins often visit the crystal-clear sea around the island from October to December and from March to May. Sainte Anne National Marine Park is home to the most well-known species, the bottlenose dolphin.
Run by professional tour operators, there are many organised excursions around the islands that invite visitors to watch - and even swim with - dolphins. Although the dolphins may seem easily approachable, there are strict codes of conduct to ensure the safety of both the dolphins and the visitors, especially around feeding or breeding areas – one of the reasons why it's important to go on organised excursions, with tour guides who know and understand the local waters.
Excursions include swimming with dolphins and manta rays around Alphonse Island, followed by an exploration of the reefs with a marine biologist to guide you. Trips to Aldabra are also popular, enabling visitors to search out dolphins and whales, followed by a visit to the atolls for swimming and snorkelling.
Spending time watching - or swimming with - dolphins in their natural habitat is one of the most exhilarating experiences you could ever imagine. Not many people have experienced the pleasure of having direct contact with these intelligent and fascinating mammals in their natural environment, so ticking this off your bucket list is a must.
Check online before your holiday if you wish to book a dolphin-watching excursion in advance or book your holiday with Savoy Resort & Spa and we will be happy to help organise the trip of a lifetime. Come to Seychelles and live the dream!