Whale-watching in Madagascar

Madagascar is known for its natural wonders, especially the annual migration of humpback whales in the Indian Ocean. If you are looking for something to do during your stay, whale watching is a must-do. Nosy Be and Sainte Marie are two of the best places to observe these majestic marine creatures, offering travelers from around the world an unforgettable experience.

Where to see the humpback whales :

After spending six months feeding in the icy waters of Antarctica, humpback whales embark on a journey of thousands of miles to the warm tropical waters of Madagascar for their mating season. On arrival, they divide into two groups: one group heads to the west coast of Madagascar, notably the Nosy Be region, while the other group heads to the east coast of the island, in particular Sainte Marie Island and Antongil Bay. The islands of Nosy Be and Sainte Marie are therefore an excellent place to observe them. The whales can be seen from the beach or from a boat dedicated to whale watching. You will be able to witness the incredibly romantic parade of the male for the female: jumping, flapping, rising from the water… If you are lucky, you may have the opportunity to witness the birth of a moving calf, and its first life lessons with its mother.

When to see humpback whales :

Humpback whales arrive gradually at the beginning of the southern winter, around July, and they stay in the waters around Nosy Be and Sainte Marie until November. The peak season for whale watching is generally between August and October, when their numbers are at their highest. However, it is possible to see them as early as June and until the end of December, even if the chances are a bit lower.

How to watch whales :

It is important to respect humpback whales and their environment during your observation. The interministerial decree n°2083/2000 of March 8, 2000 regulates the proper conduct of commercial observation of these cetaceans. It concerns the minimum distance between the whales and the boat, the observation time, the maneuvers of the boats, as well as the behavior towards the animal (launching with the whales is for example prohibited). This charter of good conduct is ensured by the Cetamada association, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism. During each whale season, the association trains eco-volunteers and volunteers as whale watching guides or scientific trainees.

What to see during whale watching :

When whale watching in Nosy Be and Sainte Marie, you can expect to see humpback whales in their natural habitat. Humpback whales are known for their spectacular leaps out of the water, called breaches. Whales can also be seen swimming, feeding or resting. In addition to humpback whale watching, whale season in Madagascar also offers opportunities to experience the local culture. On the island of Sainte-Marie, a festival dedicated to whales is organized every year, offering various animations and excursions. On the program: parades, carnival, concerts, parties, exhibition-fair, film projections, petanque tournament, sea excursions, dugout jousting…

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