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Humpback Whale

Experience Nhatundwe
july to november

Every winter, from June to November, thousands of humpback whales embark on their annual migration from Antarctica to the coast of southeast Africa to mate and give birth, one of the longest migrations in the world. The migration to the warmer climate ensures the safety of the calves from their natural predators, the killer whales, and thus increases their chances of survival. 

From mid-July to mid-September is definitely our favourite season, as our waters fill with whales, and sightings are guaranteed.

Humpback whales are some of the most acrobatic species around, and often give us frontline spectacles, some of them defying gravity by breaching the surface and launching those 30+ tonne bodies into the air with astonishing ease. Time will seem to stand still as you see for the first time a humpback exposing its entire body out of the water. 


9 days/ 8 nights






pick up & transfers


whale specialized guide


5 ocean days




your language


snacks & drinks on boat





Over the last decade we have seen a change in the behaviour of these majestic creatures, and although they still keep a safe and cautious distance from our boats, encounters are becoming more frequent and they seem much more curious, occasionally coming closer to us to inspect. We often see them swimming calmly alongside us, arching over the waves and blowing air out of their nostrils.

We encourage everyone, every nature lover, every diver and non diver, to take part in this experience that leaves us all speechless. To optimise the experience we have created this programme where we recommend a minimum of 5 days at sea, but we can adjust it to your preferences and needs.

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Humpback Whale

On this programme, the daily departures are snorkelling excursions, so the Whale Swimming Experience is suitable for everyone. Entering the water to swim with the whales is not compulsory, so those less daring can also enjoy the show from the safety of the zodiac. 
Entering with scuba diving equipment with the whales is almost impossible as they move quite fast, and keeping up with them is very difficult. 
Even so, on our dive trips, we see them quite often while we are at depth.

For those willing to go in and swim with them, you should have a minimum of snorkelling experience, and have a minimum level of fitness as there is sometimes a lot of swimming involved in these excursions. 

We usually get in the water with whales almost every day, but the idea is to have safe and unforgettable encounters first and foremost. Our aim is to have a couple of quality experiences on each of the trips, where quality means encounters of more than 10 minutes and close to the whales.

Each trip is composed of a maximum of 8 people, and only 4, together with the guide, will go into the water at a time. With this we want to invade the whales' space as little as possible and optimise the encounter with them. 

Humpback Whale breaching

© Tomas Kotouc

Humpback Whale on surface water

Swimming with the whales is not easy, 'it's an art', some experts say, and at Mozambique Experience we have some of the best guides with years of experience between Mozambique and South Africa, and even in French Polynesia. And believe it or not, the difference between an experience and an unforgettable experience is often there.

The encounters require a lot of concentration, a lot of attention, and to strictly follow the instructions of our guides. At Mozambique Experience we have been working all these years on various strategies to achieve the desired results, and we are succeeding, and all our clients take with them magical and unforgettable moments.

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Frequently asked questions about Humpback Whales

humpback n calf

Why are humpback whales known as humpbacks?

The humpback whale has a distinctive body shape, with very long pectoral fins (up to 6 metres have been documented) and a head covered with nodules. It is known as humpback because of its habit of arching its back before diving. 

Why do humpback whales come to Mozambique?

The humpback whale population migrates annually from the Antarctic, where they have been feeding during the polar summer, to tropical and subtropical waters during the polar winter, in search of warmer waters in the Mozambique Channel to give birth to their calves and to mate.

Do they always migrate to the same area?

Yes, humpback whales always migrate between the arctic areas where they feed and the tropical areas where they have their calves. 

How long are they pregnant?

The gestation period of a humpback whale is approximately 11 months. Humpback whales reach sexual maturity between 4 and 10 years of age, and females usually give birth to a calf every 2 to 3 years, although females have been documented to give birth annually. 

What is the size and weight of a humpback whale?

The humpback whale is one of the rorqual whale species, and the only one of the genus Megaptera. It is one of the largest of the fin whales, and adults can measure between 14 and 17 metres (females tend to be the largest), and can weigh up to 40 tonnesCalves at birth can measure between 3.5 and 5 metres, and weigh about 1 tonne

What do humpback whales feed on?

The humpback whale is a species of mysticete cetacean of the family Balaenopteridae, and is distinguished from other families of mysticete whales by the presence of folds in the throat and ventral region that expand enormously when they feed by swallowing water that is filtered through the baleen plates. The species feeds mainly on krill and small fish, and does so exclusively during the polar summer. 

Humpbackwhale half in water and half out
Humpback and calf

Do they feed during migration?

No, during the polar winter, as they migrate to warmer areas, they fast during that time, basically subsisting on their fat reserves. 

And how do the calves feed during the first months?

The humpback whale calf feeds on its mother's milk for the first half year of its life. According to experts, the mother, when nursing, flaps her wings with less propulsion to align herself with the calf, which has positioned itself above the mother, and to whom she spurts a rich, thick milk directly into her mouth.The calf is thought to gain between 45 kg and 60 kg per day, feeding on around 500 litres of mother's milk daily. 

What predators do humpback calves have?

Mostly killer whales and large sharks, such as white, bull and tiger sharks. It is believed that if the calf manages to survive its first migration en route to Antarctica, once there it will feed during the polar summer, it will increase in size to about 9 metres within the first year, and its chance of survival will be much higher. 

What is the humpback whale mating ritual like?

We usually see the males (identified by the fighting wounds) following and competing with each other as they follow a female. They blow bubbles at each other to show aggression and excitement. They head-butt each other to show their size and strength. It is not well known what criteria the female uses to choose the male to mate with, but it is well known that the humpback whale is not monogamous, meaning that when the male fertilises the female internally and once the mating is over, there is no longer a close bond between them, and during each season they will have different partners.During foreplay, the male blows bubbles from below and they will go to the female's genitals. 

Did you know that humpback whales sing?

The male emits long, loud and complex "songs" for which the species is famous, consisting of verses with whistles, chirps and sonorous calls. Each humpback whale population has its own unique songs and they are passed down from generation to generation.The humpback whale has no vocal cords, and emits sounds by forcing air through its huge nasal cavities!

Why does the humpback whale sing?

Scientists believe it is mainly to communicate with each other, to find each other, and in polar areas to find food. During migration it is understood that the male uses song to attract females. He can sing continuously for more than 24 hours. These low-frequency songs can extend over long distances and communicate with each other over thousands of kilometres.

Humpback on surface very close to diver with camera
Humpback WHale breaching on surface

Do we hear whales sing?

Without a doubt! Just by sticking our heads under the surface of the water, we can hear them! That song will never be forgotten!!!!We even carry a hydrophone in the zodiac and listen to them too!!!!

How many humpback whales are there approximately?

Like other large whales, the humpback whale was targeted by the whaling industry, and hunted by man for years to the brink of extinction (its population was reduced to around 5,000 in the 1960s). Although the species has now partially recovered to around 135,000 animals worldwide, entanglements in fishing nets, collisions with ships and noise pollution continue to affect the species.

What do we most expect to see on the surface?

• Lobtailing, where the whale lies vertically in the water with its head down.
• Sailing with the head down and only the tail sticking out.
• Pectoral fin slapping, where the whale surfaces on its back and slams its pectoral fins noisily into the water.
• Heads sticking out, where the whale sticks its head out of the water as if it is not peeping.
 •Acrobatics and jumps, where the whale exposes itself completely out of the water.

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Day 1


Arrival at Inhambane Airport (Mozambique), where we will be waiting for you.  Transfer by road to Praia do Tofo (20 min). 
On arrival we will check in at the activity centre and accommodation. 
Free afternoon to visit the fishing village of Tofo and the neighbouring Praia da Barra. 
Dinner, which is not included, can be arranged at the accommodation or at a restaurant in the village.

Humpback Whale

Day 2 to day 6


Daily breakfasts at the accommodation. 
Transfers to the activity centre, when necessary. 
Preparation of the necessary equipment for the excursion.
Daily 6 hour outings to spot humpback whales and try to swim with them. 
We will also look for other marine fauna such as whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, turtles... 
Lunches and dinners are not included, and will be at the accommodation or in the restaurants of the village.

Whale tail on surface

Day 7


Breakfast at the accommodation. 
Relaxation day or optional extra activities: excursion to the Inhambane estuary to look for flamingos and snorkel with seahorses, kayaking, sailing or catamaran trip, visit to the islands in the bay, surfing, kitesurfing and stand-up paddle, quad biking, visits to local villages, guided cultural excursion, massages and relaxation...

Humpback Whale with calf on surface

Day 8


Breakfast at the accommodation. 
Morning at leisure. 
Transfer by road to Inhambane Airport (20 min). 
Flight with LAM from Inhambane to Maputo (not included). 
Pick up at Maputo Airport and transfer to accommodation. 
Dinner, which is not included, can be arranged at the accommodation or at a restaurant in Maputo City.

Humpback Whale jumping on surface

Day 9


Breakfast at accommodation. 
Transfer to Maputo Airport (15 min).

Humpback Whale calf on surface


  • Arrival airport assistance 

  • Transfers from Inhambane airport (to and from Inhambane)

  • 7 nights accommodation (double or twin room), in Praia do Tofo

  • 5 days of ocean safaris of 6 hours each, in Praia do Tofo

  • Snorkelling equipment (wetsuit, mask, snorkel, fins and weights)

  • Hydrophone on board for listening to the whales 

  • Refreshments and snacks on board

  • Government fee

  • Private divemaster and whale expert 

  • 1 night's accommodation (double or twin room), in Maputo

  • All breakfasts during the trip

  • Private local guide 

  • Transfer to Maputo airport from your accommodation


  • International and domestic flights

  • Entry visas to Mozambique

  • Meals not specified above

  • Optional activities during the trip

  • Travel insurance (recommended)


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• 50% deposit required to confirm the booking of the Experience, and remaining 50% to be paid 60 days prior to arrival • All payments done by providing bank card details will carry an extra 5% (bank fees) • All payments done through PayPal will carry an extra 5% • All payments done by bank transfers to be done using “banking our instructions” (client pays all bank transfer charges) • By paying the deposit you are deemed to have accepted our terms & conditions • Cancellations before 60 days prior to arrival will incur a cancellation fee of 50% of total booking amount (during local public holidays will incur a cancellation fee of 100% of total booking amount) • Cancellations after 60 days prior to arrival will incur a cancellation fee of 100% of total booking amount • Dive trips being cancelled due to bad weather not refundable •

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These are the various accommodation options that we have in the different destinations where we will be during the stay of the aforementioned program. Depending on the budget we recommend one or the other. For more detailed information on each one, you can visit the accommodation section. All options include en-suite rooms with the possibility of a double bed or separate beds, cleaning service, Wi-fi, 24-hour security, and some with a swimming pool, bar and restaurant.

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