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David Birt
Took my family out to see the dolphins. What an excellent choice! Went on the ...Read More

Among all of the attractions available to you on the Rock, dolphin and whale watching in Gibraltar has become one of the most popular, and continues to grow in popularity each year. More than whales, dolphins of the region are prolific and can be seen nearly every day, visiting and feeding in the Bay of Gibraltar. Gibraltar has actually become world famous for its ever present population of 100% wild and free dolphins, and seasonal whales. 

There are mainly three species of dolphin who live here, primarily the Common Dolphin, Bottle-nose Dolphin and the Striped Dolphin. These amazing creatures visit the Bay and Strait of Gibraltar for food, shelter and to breed. 

Taking a guided boat trip specifically aimed at dolphin and whale watching in Gibraltar will give you a 99% chance of seeing these amazing creatures.

Dolphins as a general rule are able to dive to depths of about 300 yards (280m) and can stay under the water for as long as 8 minutes without surfacing to take a breath. Their swimming speeds can exceed thirty-five miles per hour (depending on the type of animal of course) and can live as long as 25 years when they live in the wild, though this can be shortened substantially if they spend their lives in captivity.

Dolphins are very sociable animals, spending almost all of their time in the company of others of their species. The family groups of dolphins can range from two or three, to several hundred, living and working together. Dolphins seem to organize and cooperate in what they do. They will work together to gather food, help each other to sleep, to give birth to new infants or even to assist when another dolphin is ill or injured. Mother dolphins seem particularly fond of bringing in their nursery kids to play here, who will stay quite close to their mums as they rise to the surface to take a breath.

The dolphins of the Gibraltar have been seen to organise as they hunt. Visitors who come to view dolphins and whales in Gibraltar have seen the dolphins corral fish, taking it in turns as they swim into the school of fish to capture and eat them. Another favorite fish of the dolphin are flying fish, which can be quite an amazing sight to watch as they hunt them, snatching them right out of the air.

Interesting Fact

The dolphins find their food in much the same way as a bat would do, using sonar. They will offer high pitched clicks or squeaks and will wait for the echo to come back to them, using the direction and the time that it takes for the return to tell them the distance and the direction of the food source. They not only can tell the distance and the direction but because they have the capacity to vary both the power and the pitch of the sound wave, they gain information about the size of the object before they attempt to pursue it.

Dolphins have a great deal more intellect than most animals. They will play, as humans do, and seem to be having competitions of sorts as they race around and dive below and jump above the water. They are aware of their obligation to family and to other animals, as are whales as well.

The Bay as well as the Strait of Gibraltar appear to be a breeding area for several species of dolphins. The best chance that you will have to see them will be from November to January. Having said that, your chances of seeing dolphins here are actually very good, nearly all year round. Gibraltar is also visited by migratory whales that will include names you may recognise. The Strait of Gibraltar is privileged to see Sperm Whales, Killer Whales, Humpback Whales, Long Fin Pilot whales, and sometimes even Minke Whales. Unlike the dolphins however, whales are unfortunately not as common a sight. 

The Pilot Whales are quite friendly affable guys who will approach curiously and check you out.

The Killer Whales, or Orca, visit the Strait primarily when it’s time for tuna to migrate, which takes place in July and August of each year. The population of the Long-fin Pilot Whale in the Strait is said to number about 250 animals that live in pods, which number between fifteen and twenty. The Pilot Whale lives in the Strait all through the year, and it appears that ships do not disturb them, as their population does not seem to be decreasing in any way. The Pilot Whales are quite friendly affable guys who will approach curiously and check you out. Again, sightings of these whales are generally only noted during March and April. Lastly, however less common, fortunate folks may also see larger whales within these waters. These whales include the Sperm Whale and the Fin Whales, which are remarkably huge in size. 

Taking a guided boat trip specifically aimed at dolphin and whale watching in Gibraltar will not only give you a 99% chance of seeing these amazing creatures up close in the wild, but also provide you with outstanding views of the Rock of Gibraltar, the Spanish coastline and North Africa. Be sure not to miss out on this incredible opportunity on your next visit to Gibraltar.


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Leave a recommendation:
12-03-2019 22:13pm

Took my family out to see the dolphins. What an excellent choice! Went on the Dolphin Adventure boat. The crew was fantastic and we saw a lot of dolphins. Was an incredible experience for my two kids. Seeing the wild dolphins up so close was really amazing. Can definitely recommend dolphin watching in Gibraltar for all those that are up for some outdoor adventure!

20-02-2019 22:03pm

I had such a great time the first time I visited Gibraltar seeing the dolphins, that I did the tour again on this last trip to the Rock. I went with a company called Dolphin Safari on the first trip I was out and then tried Dolphin Adventure on this last trip. Both companies were extremely friendly and had a lot of information to share with us on board. We didn’t get to see any whales, but we ...