ENCOUNTOUR OPTIONS

Please read the frequently asked questions below and check out our boat. 

Encountours includes a pre-launch presentation with an introduction to our local dolphins, our longterm monitoring efforts, the DolphinCare code of conduct, boat & ocean safety. Gear use  on the day (mask, snorkel, fins), snorkel tax and video of your encountour on-line. Depending on group dynamics and sea state two launches can be combined to make a long  launch.

Please note: During peak season (major S.African and International Holidays) marine mammal operators follow a one pod and one drop policy in order to reduce the impact caused from this activity to resident dolphins.

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3L FULL DOLPHIN ENCOUNTOUR

Our signature tour has been specially created to accommodate the myriad of different wild dolphin behaviours that can be encountered, each offering a unique insight into the way of the wilds...Full tours are for those who seek to spend a bit more time in the company of our dolphins. Humpback whale viewing is incorporated July to November. Depending on group dynamics and sea state two launches can be combined to make a longer launch. We suggest a min of a 4 night stay in the area.

3 Sunrise launches (1,5Hr)

Dolphin Snorkel Course

Pre-launch boat & ocean safety. DolphinCare Code of conduct & Introiduction to our Dophins of Ponta.

Snorkel tax & Gear use (mask, snorkel, fins)

Snorkelling over our beautiful reefs

Dolphin Diary video & images of your tour [online]

Dolphin Tribe Tee-Shirt


R2 000 p/person

Minimum 4 adults

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2L MINI DOLPHIN ENCOUNTOUR

No frills option of two launches to visit our local dolphins and whales in season. Depending on group dynamics and sea state two launches can be combined to make a longer launch.

2 launches (1,5Hr)

Pre-launch boat & ocean safety. DolphinCare Code of conduct & intro to our dolphins and work.

Snorkelling over our beautiful reefs

Snorkel tax & Gear use

Video Clip on-line


R1050 p/person pre-booked 7 days in advance

4750Mtn on-site booking

Minimum 4 adults or funds thereof.

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1L CASUAL ENCOUNTOUR

Once off Ocean Surfari to look for dolphins & whales in season & depending on time, snorkel over some shallow reef.


Please note there are no dolphin guarantees on once off launches.

1 launch (1,5Hr)

Pre-launch boat & ocean safety. DolphinCare Code of conduct.

Introduction to marine mammals in the reserve.

Research & conservation efforts.

Reef snorkel or whale viewing (depending on season)

Snorkel tax & Gear use

Video on-line

R550 pre-booked 7 days in advance

2450Mtn on-site booking min 5

Please check with us to see if we have existing bookings over your dates to accommodate bookings less than 5.

Min charter fee R2 750 / 12 350Mtn

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3HR WHALE ENCOUNTOUR

Dedicated whale viewing is available between the months of July and October. Join our team for some boat based whale viewing as we head off into the deep - humpback whale country.

On board we listen in with our special microphone to hear the migrating whale's who communicate down below and  gather data and fluke images to track individuals through the Happy Whale forum.

1 launch (3hr)

Pre-launch boat & ocean safety. DolphinCare Code of conduct.

Introduction to marine mammals in the reserve.

Research & conservation efforts.

Snorkel tax & Gear use

Video/Photo on-line

R1050 pre-booked 7 days in advance

4725Mtn on-site bookings

Minimum 5 adults or funds thereof*

 

PLEASE
NOTE

IMPORTANT

  • We encourage a minimum of a two launch package. The more time you are on the water, the better your chances of having a bout of conscious interaction with the Dolphins of Ponta! 

  • Peak season sees DERC follow a 1 drop, 1 pod per launch policy.

  • We follow a strict NO touch, dive down, feed and chase policy.

  • Quality of encountours drop off in poor sea state and during high season when there is additional traffic.

  • We operate an 8m semi rigid dive boat in sometimes strenuous conditions. Not for the fragile and frail, children under 5 or pregnant ladies without special arrangement.

  • We do not hire out wet suits.

  • Block booking discount available 10+ and one payment only.

  • On-site rates are charged in Mozambican currency and will differ with the exchange rate.

 

  • We are able to accommodate most dates providing your party size in more than 5.

  • Individual bookings are to check with connect@dolphinencountours.org to see if there are any bookings over your existing date.

  • We are able to tailor make an encountour to suit your needs.

 

SUMMER VS WINTER

Each season holds it's own special unique appeal....

Encountours are guided by Angie & Sabrina & skippered by partner Mitch who has over 25yrs experience surf launching in the area. 

We are the Original Dolphin Center in Ponta do Ouro.

Pioneers in African wild dolphin swim programs.

Edu-Tourism that funds research & conservation efforts.

MEDIA & PUBLICATION Featured on Carte Blanche, 50/50. Kyknet, Brains before Beauty and Dancing with Dolphins.​​

 

SUMMER ENCOUNTOURS

DOLPHINS AND REEF

NOVEMBER TO JUNE

The summer months offer up a gentler sea and cleaner waters that lends itself to free-diving on some of the shallower reefs in the area. For those wanting to practice mermaiding, the reefs range anything from 5 to 15m in depth.

WINTER ENCOUNTOURS

DOLPHINS AND WHALES

JULY TO OCTOBER

Between the months of July and November the waters of our Reserve come alive with humpback whales as they migrate along our coastline. Boat based viewing is spectacular as whales can be seen breaching...

 

OUR BOAT AVALON

Due to sometimes exciting surf-launching we operate an 8m semi rigid dive boat who is named after our founders daughter Avalon. She has been specially designed with both comfort and the dolphins in mind. Participants sit on the pontoons with their feet in the foot-straps and hold onto the ropes behind. There are 2 storage hatches for your dry items that run down the middle. We endeavour to be as green as possible. Our boat Avalon is powered by Suzuki 4 strokes that are less invasive on our environment, with cleaner technology, lower emissions and quietness. In order to minimise both the impact and fossil fuel used we try and and fill our boats so as not to run with half loads. This creates less impact in the dolphins home-range through minimizing boat traffic.

  • Avalon takes a maximum of 12 participants and 4 crew. 

  • The surf launch is not recommended for very fragile and unfit peeps. 

  • Avalon can be booked for film / photo shoots, private tours and functions (renewing of vows, scattering of ashes & small dolphin weddings)

 

WILDLIFE & WEATHER

The mere thought of swimming with dolphins for many, conjures up images of calm indigo blue seas filled with the buzz and energy of wild, friendly dolphins. This however is not always the case as you cannot expect or predict the dolphins nor the weather... The ‘flipper syndrome’ finds a misconception within humanity that perceives dolphins as always friendly, playful and touchable; a false impression created by tv shows and the captivity industry. This has resulted in humans automatically thinking that dolphins are ‘play things’. The Dolphins of Ponta are a wild population of inshore bottlenose dolphins that have been habituated to man over two decades through a longterm, nurturing relationship. They are however still wild and at times avoid human encounters.

 
  • All tours are subject to weather conditions were visibility, wind, rain, sea state and current influence your encountour.

  • Whilst at sea you are the responsibility of the Captain and Crew. As such DERC holds the right to cancel trips in poor sea conditions in which case they will  be re-scheduled or refunded as per DERCS terms,

  • Although every attempt is be made to  ensure we encounter our dolfriends it is important to understand that they govern the encountours.  We are visitors in their world and sometimes they are just busy being dolphins and don't have time to stick around.

There has been a change in the industry over the last couple of years. People are arriving from far and wide, staying for one night in hopes of having a dolphin encounter. Often one-nighters are disappointed. Rather plan your trip properly to avoid putting pressure on operators and dolphins to fulfil your need.


There are many operators in Mozambique that offer ocean safari's that could possibly see you jumping over board in hope of you getting a look. Ensure you entrust your dolphin encounter to an operation that has experience & proper training in working with the wilds and guides who are able to read and interpret their many behaviours.​​

Dolphins should never be chased or herded in order for you to get a closer look, they should come to you our of their own free will, this is what swimming with dolphins is all about. This is what we call 'conscious interaction'. Angie Gullan 

FAQ

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED

What is the Booking Procedure?

Once you have decided head to the forms page, click the relevant form, complete as per your requirements. Once we have received this we send it off to your accommodation preference and once we have confirmation from them via invoice you will be invoiced. You will then be required to pay 50% of the invoice within 48hrs so we can confirm with deposit for accommodation. The balance is due 30 days prior to arrival.

What is the difference between a private dolphin encountour charter & a minimum launch fee?

A PDEC is for guests that prefer to go at their time, out of our scheduled encountour times 1-8 guests. A minimum launch fee is when we are not able to fill a scheduled encountour. If minimum numbers are not met on the day and if this is a bucket list, one has the option of paying the min launch fee {currently R2350} less deposit paid.

Why do you have a no dive down policy?

By floating on the surface, a clear passage is made for dolphins. Diving down often results in disruption of natural behaviour and causes addition stress.

What type of boat do you use?

We operate an 8m semi rigid dive boat. Avalon takes a maximum of 12 participants and 4 crew. The surf launch is not recommended for fragile and unfit peeps or children under 5.

Why do you launch at first light & not in bad weather?

Encountours take place at first light to avoid winds that often pick up during the course of the day. Choppy sea state makes it difficult to spot dolphins & in-water observations become less in high seas due to large swell close to the coastline. Your safety & comfort is our responsibility when at sea. Every effort will be made to double up a launch on one day, use spare days or do an extended launch if in the event we do not launch.


Why are encountours kept to 10/2 participants?

This is the amount of people we take due to comfortability and regulations. You are joined by a crew of 4 as well as visiting interns/volunteers.


If I have a big group, can you launch 2 boats?

No, we have one boat and follow a one boat policy. Only one boat may approach a pod of dolphins at any given time. 

Will equipment (mask, snorkel, fins) be available?

Yes you can hire a set of gear {mark, snorkel & fins R250} on arrival and hold onto them while you are in Ponta alternativly borrow on the launch. Lost gear will be charged for.

When is the best time to see whales?

Between July and October, sightings peak Sept & Oct. 


What about sharks?

Since the establishment of the program we have never had any problems with sharks.


Do we need wetsuits?

During summer wetsuits are not required however skin or lycra suits are great to keep stingers at bay. Wetsuits are good for winter as water temperature and wind chill drops. We do not hire out wet suits. A cost effective alternative is a rash vest and lycra leggings. 


How do we get to the launch area?
Participants are collected /dropped off at the center after briefing.


Do you cater for non-swimmers?

Yes, non-swimmers however are NOT permitted into the water and experience the dolphins and whales from the boat. A fair level of swimming is required.


Why can you NOT guarantee a dolphin swim?

We work with a population of wild dolphins who have a large home range. Although dolphins are seen on most launches there are days that they are not around and not sociable.


Why are there scheduled dates and minimum numbers? 

In order for us to meet our minimum costs we require a minimum number of participants. If group size is four or more on Full Dolphin Encountour we can accommodate most dates.

DOLPHIN OPERATING HOURS

- when the wind's not blowing -

Mid Summer Encountours 5am

Mid Winter Encountours 7am

-pre-booking required - 

OFFICE HOURS

Mon - Sat: 8:30am - 16:00

Sunday: 8:30am - 13:00

- Closed -

Tuesday & Other Occasional Days 

 

Operations: Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique

T/WApp: +258 84 330 3859

©2018 BY DOLPHIN ENCOUNTOURS RESEARCH CENTER