Dolphins in South Africa

I was in S Africa in March and wanted to find Heavisides/Havisides Dolphin.

A more complete trip report got swallowed by WordPress, jeez but I hate that site. But want to pass a few notes along.

I asked Birding Africa for a guide to go north, which is the normal range for the Dolphin. They gave me Kim Wright, who is a native of South Africa and a brilliant naturalist and guide. She has been active in dolphin conservation for decades, and she asked a marine biologist friend about it. He said they come closer to shore in the mornings, up until 10 am, and said to try Three Anchor Bay/Green Point/Mouille Point. These are like 1/2 kilometer from downtown CT!

So Kim and I got to that area around 8 am, the sea was dead calm. We stayed with it for an hour because the sea was so calm, and around 9 am we had a pod of 6-8 Havisides Dolphins feeding off shore. “Hot damn”, I said.

I went to De Hoop based on Curtis Hart’s trip report but dipped on the Clawless Otters and Dolphins. A local guy said the best place for Dolphins was between Moselle Bay and George, which turned out to be good advice. About 10 km east of George, mid afternoon, I found a steady stream of Indo-pacific Bottlenose Dolphins moving East. Groups of 6-8 would ride the surf in and when the wave broke they would flip up into the air. They did it over and over again. If I get another life I wanna come back as a dolphin!

Kim’s friend also said that the vast majority of Tursiops off S Africa are aduncus, which makes ID a little less probematic.

1 Comment

  • John Fox

    Oops, the IP Bottlenose Dolphins move East in the morning from Mosselle Bay towards George, and West in the afternoon. FWIW. A couple people saw a large pod moving East near Mosselle Bay in the morning, and speculated that this is the normal movement of them.

    The Havisides’s Dolphins so close to Cape Town remind me of the resident Belugas at Turnagain Arm, 10 miles south of Anchorage. If you know they are there it is pretty easy to go look for them.

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