Dolphin and Whale Spotting in Namibia
Namibia may be synonymous with arid desert landscapes, expansive national parks and towering dunes but did you know that this captivating Southwest African nation is home to a plethora of incredible sea mammals and birds?
Cape Cross, situated on the eerie Skeleton Coast, boasts an astonishing colony of over 200,000 seals and close by you can also visit scores of Pink Flamingos that hop around excitedly in Walvis Bay.
For many, however, spotting dolphins and whales in the wild consistently ranks high on their bucket list. Dolphins and whales have captured the public imagination for centuries and the good news is that you can spot plenty of dolphins and whales on your Namibian safari adventure.
From the fascinating Heaveside dolphin to the majestic Humpback whale, here’s our guide to spotting these friendly, frivolous cetaceans in Namibia.
Dolphin Spotting in Namibia
Namibia is home to a thriving dolphin population that resides in its waters, and visitors to Walvis Bay lagoon can enjoy dolphin cruises throughout most of the year; offering the perfect opportunity to meet and interact with these incredible water-dwelling mammals.
Hop on a boat at Walvis Bay and as you head towards Pelican Point you are likely to spot a variety of different dolphin species, including the Heaveside dolphin, the Dusky Dolphin and the Bottle nose dolphin. Noted for their intelligence, agility and grace, it’s not uncommon for them to snuggle up by the side of you boat as they become curious of their human observers!
In recent years dolphin conservation and treatment has been a much- publicized topic but you can rest assured that these Namibian dolphin species are treated with the upmost care, thanks in large part to the work of the Namibian Dolphin Project.
Working with marine tour operators, The Namibian Dolphin Project is a conservation and research group run by several independent scientists in conjunction with the Namibia Nature Foundation. The organisation strives to establish population estimates and they conduct extensive research into the health of all dolphin species in Namibia. The data and information they collect is used to develop conservation and sustainable management plans.
Whale Spotting in Namibia
Up until around 70 years ago whales in Namibia, particularly in the areas surrounding Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, were hunted in mass numbers, leading to fears that they had been completely eradicated.
However, in recent years these wonderful sea mammals have made a resurgence and today tourists and visitors are able to book excursions with catamarans and boats that offer the chance to see these incredible cetaceans up close.
The best time to spot whales in Namibia is between July and November, during which time they migrate towards the equator to give birth to their young. Several species, including Humpback whales and Southern Right whales, have been spotted off the Skeleton Coast over the last decade, drawn to the region’s plankton-rich waters.
Owing to the impact of climate change, a Grey whale made headlines in 2021 when it appeared off the Namibian coast. The Grey whale is not native to the African coast, and experts speculated that it had travelled a whopping 27,000 km to reach these shores.
Over the next few years, it’s likely that more species could travel to the Walvis Bay area, boasting the tourism industry. In fact, researchers at the Namibian Dolphin Project, who also track the behaviours and movements of whales, believe that population numbers are set to increase rapidly, harking back to the days when Walvis Bay was described as ‘the Bay of Whales’.
Other Marine Life in Namibia
As well as these incredible marine mammals, Namibia boasts a plethora of other majestic sea-dwelling creatures.
Owing mainly to the cold Benguela Current, Namibia’s waters are home to abundance of anchovies, pilchards and other whitefish which draws in thousands of ‘fishing tourists’ each year, particularly in the areas close to Swakopmund.
Leatherback turtles, the largest living turtle species and one of the heaviest in the world, have also been spotted during cruises around Walvis Bay.
Ocean sunfish, which are the heaviest boned fish known to man, are also commonly found off Namibia’s shores. These incredible fish are sometimes called Mola, or to give them their full Latin name, Mola Mola.
For more information about some of the incredible wildlife and animals you can see on a Namibian safari adventure get in touch with Secret Namibia today or check out our private guided safari tour itineraries.