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Travelling with a baby

7 best places to spot, swim or dive with dolphins

My first encounter with wild dolphins when diving was in Kenya, few kilometres away Kenyan Coast at Shimoni. 10 years ago Shimoni was totally undeveloped and authentic and what was bad infrastructure wise was totally compensated by the warmth and curiosity of the locals.

Diving equipment and boat were also basic but safe and Kisite Marine Park was a treat in terms of reef colours, 250 fish species, 70 resident dolphins, sea turtles and occassionally whales. We spent 5 wonderful nights with Diani Reef and Spa – the trip to Shimoni would take an just over an hour.

Nothing prepared me for the magical moment at the end of my dive me on the way up equalising when a dolphin mum and her baby hanged out with me for 5 minutes – curious, playful and just out of this world.

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Closer to Europe, The Red Sea is a snorkeler and diver paradise. Egypt is a wonderful eclectic mix for any explorer, history, Cairo pyramids, cruise on Nile, Karnak and Luxor temples and just superb sealife by the sea.

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We dove in Hurghada even in February, 8mm suits and amazing underwater colours to keep me distracted from the water which was barely 18C degrees. Dolphins joined on 2 occasions our fishing and diving boat and we would be all elated and ecstatic – they are a good omen and loved by locals.

Still Red Sea but neighbouring shores, Eilat offers snorkelling and diving with dolphins at Eilat dolphin reef. No dolphin shows (as a diver and animal lover) I seriously question zoos and aquariums – but gentle spontaneous interactions.

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We dove with Eilat dolphins and loved it; not much experience is required given that the depths is relatively shallow.

Eilat dolphin reef also offers therapy sessions for disabled or autistic and the track record is very good.

For warmer temperatures and still a splash or spotting the dolphins, the Caribbeans are a good place and amidst our favourites are the Grenadines.

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We’ve been to St Vincent 2 years ago, with a 2 years old and me 5 months pregnant – snorkelling opportunities by Buccament beach and sunset cruises with dolphins coming by were such a treat.

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By far my favourite swim though with dolphins has happened in Kangaroo island, Australia. Remote and wild, a 30 minutes flight from Adelaide, Kangaroo island is paradise for wildlife lovers. I spent 2 weeks volunteering at Hanson Bay and aside my crush with the kangaroos, the swim with the wild dolphins was the most magical encounter.

4 months pregnant at the time with my first but the swim and snorkel over an hour compared to nothing – pure joy, playfulness and delight. The dolphins hanged out with us almost 2 hours and I counted over 100 – babies and mums included.

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Relatively close geographically to Kangaroo island and Australia was Fiji. We ventured on a day out sailing Fijian watermelon perfumed and crystal clear waters. Colours and fragrances aside, we also had dolphins joining us for the ride.

Last but not least, the wonderful Indian Ocean. Maldives are any divers paradise and on few of our trips we spotted dolphins playing along our boats.

We are so excited we will be back to Maldives this December including for a collaboration with Banyan Tree Angsana Velavaru.

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In terms of wildlife Angsana specialises in turtle and marine life conservation, has extensive diving facilities and great childcare so that the parents could hopefully go on a couple of trips.

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68 comments on “7 best places to spot, swim or dive with dolphins

  1. Zen Babytravel
    November 9, 2017
    Suitcases and Sandcastles
  2. Zen Babytravel
    November 9, 2017
    ethannevelyn.com

    …

  3. Marni
    November 10, 2017

    Wow this is amazing! I want to swim with dolphins, they seem like the sweetest creatures. I will definitely keep this on my list of things to do whenever I’m travelling to these places.

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 10, 2017

      Very sweet, playful and curious indeed! Hope you get to travel & swim with them soon and thanks for stopping by Marni!

  4. Laura (@dearbearandbean)
    November 10, 2017

    I swam with dolphins in the sea at Mexico many years ago! It was an amazing experience!

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 10, 2017

      Mexico is another great place for dolphins and even whales in Baja and Cancun! Thanks for stopping by Laura!

  5. Our bucket list Lives
    November 10, 2017

    ah wow! You are so lucky. I can’t wait to do this, it’s been my ultimate dream for so long now. Hopefully next year in Florida it will become reality. Lovely photos and what great experiences

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 10, 2017

      Thank you, we know, very lucky! And yes Florida is great for dolphins and manatees as well! Keep us posted please 😉

  6. Laura Dove
    November 10, 2017

    Swimming with dolphins is on my list of things I most want to do! I’d love to get the opportunity at some point!

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 10, 2017

      I hope you’ll get to soon Laura! We have been very spoilt as divers and extensive travellers – we admit 😉 thank you for stopping by!

  7. Dean B
    November 10, 2017

    This looks absolutely amazing! One for the bucket list 🙂

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 10, 2017

      Thank you Dean, I hope you get to try soon and thanks for stopping by!

  8. Talida
    November 10, 2017

    I swom with dolphins in Tenerife and it was amazing:) i can hardly wait for you to tell me how is Maldive with kids as without i know is heaven ! Xxx

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 10, 2017

      Tenerife sounds very good, we have to go back then for the dolphins! & Stay tuned for Maldives, there will be a couple of articles 😉 xo

  9. Helen
    November 10, 2017

    Aww wow what beautiful photos! I’ve not been swimming with dolphins, but did go scuba diving in Ibiza which was incredible 🙂

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 10, 2017

      Wow! We regularly go to Ibiza but this is the first time I heard about diving with dolphins in there! Where about please Helen?

  10. Ana De-Jesus
    November 10, 2017

    Wow I think Dolphins are such smart and beautiful creatures so it is amazing that you were able to swim with them! That is incredible x

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 11, 2017

      I also think they are super smart and beautiful, and indeed Ana feeling so lucky they hanged out with me on so many occasions 🙂 thanks fir stopping by! X

  11. Zen Babytravel
    November 11, 2017

    Country Kids

  12. Kara
    November 11, 2017

    Swimming with dolphins is one of my top dreams. I love watching them play in the wild too

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 11, 2017

      Yes Kara, they are pretty much amazing! My 4 years old even loves to watch the documentaries with them 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  13. I’ve never been swimming with dolphins but what a magical experience it must be. All of these places sound like wonderful places to visit whether you get to swim with the dolphins or not. #countrykids

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 11, 2017

      Indeed Louise, magical is the word! I hope you and your girls would get to try soon, afterall Egypt and Eilat are not as long flight wise! Or perhaps Tenerife even closer? Thanks for stopping by and best of luck for the next 2 weeks!

  14. Swimming with Dolphins sounds like such a fab activity, I bet it’s an amazing experience for kids to enjoy.

    Thanks for sharing on #CountryKids.

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 11, 2017

      Pleasure to link in as usual Fiona! So far the kids involved just in the spotting, I reckon mine need actually a year or two for the actual swimming 😉 Have a lovely Saturday!

  15. MummyTravels
    November 11, 2017

    Wow this has helped me make a whole new wishlist – we’ve seen them a couple of times (Florida and Oman, both in the wild) but I would love to add some of these. I didn’t have quite such luck at Hurghada, but Eilat might be on the cards before too long, although the Maldives and Kangaroo Island would be amazing!

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 11, 2017

      Oh yes Eilat is great for diving, dolphins included and Israel is such a fascinating country! The flight to Tel Aviv is easy and convenient, Tel Aviv is fun and Mediterranean, Jerusalem is within an hour drive and absolutely amazing, then there’s the Red Sea and El Gedi – food is delish, renting the car and crossing the country a joy. We even made it to Bethlehem and Palestina (all this before kids). I reckon our boys need another 2 years to fully appreciate; but with them going to a COE school they love baby Jesus and bible stories, so defo on our list to go back 😉 Thanks for the inspiration Cathy in wrapping up this article!

  16. Zen Babytravel
    November 11, 2017
    Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
  17. The Mummy Bubble
    November 12, 2017

    What a beautiful post, I would so love to do this one day. #kcacols

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 12, 2017

      Thank you! I hope you get to soon! X

  18. Mummy Lauretta
    November 12, 2017

    You are so lucky, swimming with or even just spotting dolphins is one of those things I have always wanted to do but never had the chance to. #KCACOLS

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 12, 2017

      Indeed and I almost forgot how lucky I am after so many years of extensive travelling, diving and snorkelling. It took a fb conversation with Cathy at Mummytravels to prompt me wrap up an article on the topic! Thanks a lot Lauretta for stopping by, I hope you’ll get to see dolphins in the wild soon, perhaps Ireland, Scottish isles or Tenerife – the closest I could think about?

  19. Emma
    November 13, 2017

    Swimming with dolphins would be such an experience. They are such beautiful and majestic creatures.

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 13, 2017

      Indeed Emma, very smart, athletic and social as well!

  20. Kira
    November 13, 2017

    Oh wow my two eldest daughters would love this . Our swim with Dolphins got cancelled whilst in Turkey and this is on their wish list 🙂

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 13, 2017

      Can understand why! Our 4 years old is already totally into dolphins, we were watching documentaries the other day together ! We already snorkelled together in Menorca back in August so have high hopes for Maldives next month with him – v likely though dolphins will be just from the boat. Hope you get to swim with dolphins and daughters soon and thanks for stopping by!

  21. Clare Thomson
    November 13, 2017

    Swimming with dolphins is definitely on my bucket list. I’ve swum with sharks (both accidentally and on purpose) but I’d love to swim with dolphins. Such a great list. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 13, 2017

      Haha Clare, there will be an article soon coming with our top spots for sharks as well. Curious to hear your impressions – I have to admit I prefer diving with sharks rather than swimming 😉 Pleasure to link in as usual!

  22. Sarah Stockley
    November 13, 2017

    Oh wow. I’m so jealous I absolutely love dolphins and would love to see them in the wild. Sarah #explorerKids

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 13, 2017

      I hope you get to soon Sarah!

  23. Cathy Glynn
    November 13, 2017

    We went swimming with dolphins in Mexico, such an amazing experience. Fab photos x

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 13, 2017

      Thank you Cathy! Mexico and dolphins sound magic, despite spending 2 weeks in Tulum and Playa we only managed cenote diving, partying, lots of good food, beach bars & friends and beautiful ruins 😉 x

  24. steph_baybee
    November 13, 2017

    Wow what great experiences, I would love to see some Dolphins up close like this.

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 21, 2017

      I hope you get to soon!

  25. ethannevelyn.com
    November 13, 2017

    Wow! I’d love to have a chance to swim to dolphins. This is so awesome! Thank you very much for the list. You’ve been around haven’t you?! This is so Amazing! I never knew there are so many places you can spot them.

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids.

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 13, 2017

      Hi Su, indeed pretty much my whole life I suffered from very itchy feet..;) The list is actually not exhaustive, great to gather so many comments with wonderful experiences in Tenerife, Mexico, Turkey and so! Pleasure to link in as usual!

  26. Four Acorns
    November 14, 2017

    Your sun-filled pics make me wish for summer already!
    #CountryKids

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 14, 2017

      I know Anette, me too I am soo ready for sun & balmier temperatures! Thanks for stopping by!

  27. Sailing beside dolphins close to the Gambian coast will always remain one of my stand out moments, looks like you’ve had loads to enjoy #CountryKids

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 14, 2017

      Wow Mary, Gambian coast! That’s one place I have not been! Do you have a post on that by any chance?

  28. Sarah | A Few Favourite Things
    November 14, 2017

    Swimming with dolphins is on so many people’s bucket lists, this is a great resource.

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 14, 2017

      Great to hear Sarah and thanks for stopping by!

  29. Emma Me and B Make Tea
    November 15, 2017

    I’m so pleased these are all natural experiences. After watching the Cove and understanding where a lot of the aquariums and swim with dolphin “experiences” get their dolphins, it’s a heart breaking industry. #KCACOLS

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 15, 2017

      I know! As divers for years we are very aware of the bad practices and would never endorse delphinariums ! In all fairness in my article there’s one which is an enclosure – Eilat Reef in Israel. However, Eilat’s reef huge size, no dolphin shows but spontaneos interractions, therapy sessions offered to disabled kids and educational angles rehabilitate quite a bit in my view the actual captivity …Thank you for stopping by!

  30. You cab see dolphins all the time up where my mum and dad liv in Scotland – wouldn’t want to swim there for long though – the water is super cold! #kcacols

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 18, 2017

      Ah wow, where about please? We’ve been isles of Mull and Iona before kids and felt in love, planning to go back with kiddies I guess in a year or 2! We have seen basking sharks ( amazing, will write abiut it soon), puffins and seals but not dolphins…Pls do not laugh but after 2 beers I also managed to swim 😉

  31. Mainy - myrealfairy
    November 19, 2017

    This is certainly something that I would love to do one day. What a magical experience it is. Great photos and wonderful to find out more about where to swim and see these lovely animals.
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time
    Mainy

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 19, 2017

      Pleasure to link in Mainy! Hope you get to see dolphins in the wild soon and great to hear you liked the pics !

  32. Zen Babytravel
    November 20, 2017
    Mini Travellers
  33. Annabel
    November 20, 2017

    You’ve been on some fabulous trips! What I wouldn’t do to be in the Maldives on this grey Monday! #Mondayescapes

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 20, 2017

      I know Annabel, this weather is quite something…Luckily with the pile of work and projects, barely noticing 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  34. beatravelling
    November 20, 2017

    Swimming with dolphins has always sounded appealing to me, but recently I’ve become more sceptic in regards to how much the animals are affected by it, in a bad way. But I guess that only pertains to “caged” animals, not wild ones.

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 21, 2017

      I know, likewise, seriously questioning swimming with trapped animals but when they choose you as a spontaneous play partner out of the blue and wild – it is really magic! Thanks for stopping by!

  35. queerlittlefamily
    November 21, 2017

    Your needs to be optimised foe.mobile use. Amazing pictures but Dolphins are jerks lol. #kcacols

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 21, 2017

      Haha, fair point, dolphins could be funny and less funny indeed! But who are us humans to judge? They can indeed be cruel and play with food i.e. fish or baby sharks and can indeed be very keen on mating. But again, are we really well placed to call them jerks? 😉 Thanks for stopping by and making me smile !

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 21, 2017

      Oh and working on optimising mobile use! If you have any easy tips, pretty please email me 😉 thanks a million!

  36. Gorgeousgsmama
    November 21, 2017

    Such magical and amazing experiences. Thanks for linking up to #KCACOLS. You have a wonderful life.

  37. Life as Mum
    November 22, 2017

    oh wow what an amazing experience. I would absolutely love to do this! #KCACOLS

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