Ilha de Mozambique: our strategy for staying ahead in difficult times

pretour whale briefing

The pandemic has brought international tourism to a standstill, and here on Ilha we are really feeling the pinch. Our strategy for staying ahead at this difficult time is to attract more Mozambicans as well as those foreigners who are still in country. 

Isn’t this the same strategy that every Mozambican destination is trying?

Yes, but we have a great discounts and the whale birthing site; that’s something special that no other destination has. Ilha tour operators and accommodation providers are collaborating by lowering their prices to offer some great packages and discount deals for travellers eager to experience the great natural event. 

The first campaign has a focus on whale watching. Multi-award winning tour operator Ilha Blue has whale watching for $25 / 1800mts and Ilha’s best accommodation providers of Cafe Central, Jardim dos Aloés, Villa Sands, Rickshaws Pousada and Cabaceira Village have lowered prices to make it easier to arrange a short trip here; much more affordable, in fact about ½ the price it would normally be. That’s good news for everyone.

There’s never been a better time to see the whales

Interest in whale watching is a global trend and the latest thing that Ilha de Mozambique is able to offer visitors. 

That’s because Ilha is the end point of the humpback whale migration from Antartica, a 5,000klm journey the whales make to their breeding and birthing site here. That’s the back-story, and it’s a fascinating one, but it’s the spectacle that draws visitors from all over the world. 

Within a kilometer of the archipelago, whale watchers experience the whole explosive event, whales breaching, tail slapping and head banging, all part of a courtship ritual that is probably the most spectacular in the animal kingdom.

In addition to everything else, Ilha is now getting international recognition as a significant natural attraction, in time it may become as famous as the wildebeest river crossing in Maasai Mara or the gorillas in the volcanic forests of Virunga. 

Its the humpback whale birthing site – that’s what makes Ilha so special

Its true that whales can be observed at other points along the East African coast, but Ilha is special because its only here that, during August and September, the pregnant mothers give birth*. Ilha is where they stop to have their babies. They then stay around for about 6 weeks while the calf grows and builds its strength. So you can observe both the frenzy of courtship displays and the gentle calm of mothers nurturing their new babies. This is what makes it so special. This is why anyone who happens to be in Mozambique now cannot afford to miss it!

*The full story of Humpback migration patterns on the East African coast are still subject to speculation, the scientific fieldwork has yet to be done. But we know that babies are born here, we see their grey, wrinkled, newborn bodies every year. 

In some ways 2020 will be like a step-back-in-time*. The collapse of international tourism means there will very few boats going out to see the whales. Quite possibly it will be just Ilha Blue’s traditional sailing dhow, perhaps a few fishermen in canoes, and the awesome majesty of the whales set against the stunning natural beauty of the archipelago islands of Goa, Sete Paus and Cobras. Now thats special!

Something worth writing home about

There will always be something special about being able to say “I was there before it became famous”, and 2020 is the year for that. If you are in Mozambique right now, you wouldn’t want to miss it! 

*The growth of whale watch tourism on Ilha will make it possible for more people to appreciate the whales and nature in general. As an economic activity it can also provide the resources needed to give protection to this hugely significant site. There is a dream that the sea around Ilha will become a Whale Heritage sanctuary one day.

Whale watching is best in August and September. Thats when all the action happens. Its still possible to see whales in October but their numbers rapidly decrease as they, before the whales begin the long migration south to their feeding grounds in Antartica. With whale watching as little as $25 / 1800 mts p.p

To learn more about accommodation deals and packages go here

For group bookings or agent specials email pete@bluezissou.com or contact participating accommodations directly. Support this initiative and help protect the whales.

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