This is a much publicised excursion for visitors to Zanzibar, and some people choose a holiday to Zanzibar with the expectation of having a rewarding experience of “swimming with dolphins”.

However, people need to be aware, and beware – to many this is anything but a rewarding excursion.

From personal experience, from the experience of people we have booked a holiday (and then booked this excursion locally) – it is far from rewarding. On a popular review site, twice as many people rated the excursion as “Terrible” rather than “Excellent”.

So, what to be aware of:

• The dolphins off Zanzibar are extremely shy – unlike those in some other parts of the world, which are “tame” and enjoy human company.

• The boatmen do not respect the dolphins, chasing them and when close enough, encouraging people to jump off the boat next to them. This is a big “no, no”.

• With many boats chasing the dolphins, it is not uncommon for baby dolphins to get separated from their mothers.

• People get no briefing prior to setting out on the excursion.

• Many of the boats do not have life jackets.

• Many boatmen are inexperienced and some find it difficult to handle the waters, which can get quite rough.

• The boat owners have no form of insurance.

So, some tips:

• Do not book a dolphin excursion with touts in Stone Town or beach locations. If you want to do a dolphin excursion, book through your hotel or with a reputable tour company. We have heard that Eco & Culture Tours are reputable, but have not used them. Before booking with your hotel or tour company, get full facts about safety, experience of boatmen, life jackets and respect for dolphins.

• Better still, book a day long dhow safari which includes lunch and snorkelling, and invariably dolphin siting with Safari Blue.

Thank you Zanzibar Travel for providing us with this insight. Click holidays to Zanzibar to find out more information on current inclusive deals available.

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