DOLPHIN FILMING PONTA DO OURO, MOZAMBIQUE
We offer professional service in terms of filming dolphins within the Ponta Partial Marine Reserve providing the correct licenses and film permits through the Department of Conservation Areas. The Dolphin Centre has been lucky enough to work with some recognized film photographers and film production companies over the years, such as National Geographic, BBC/John Downer, Earth Touch and Aqua Visions. We have had the privileged to work with world renowned photographer Thomas Peschak. Sijmon De Waal, Ian Wood, Cormac McCreesh and Roger Horrocks.
Its is also important to us to be responsible and have good ethics while filming and to not cause any undue stress on any marine life. We follow and adhere to a strict code of conduct formulated to uphold our key purpose of ensuring the wellbeing and preservation of the dolphins at all times. By maintaining biodiversity and understanding the marine eco systems within the conservation area of the Marine Reserve, we can promote education and better understanding via film without this having a negative effect on our environment.
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DOLPHIN POPULATION, BEHAVIOUR AND SIGHTINGS
The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) population along this part of coastline consists of about 200 individuals of which some are resident and others transient. Our calving season which falls over our summer months Dec - March and then pre-winter April and May we seem to spot the larger groups of the population, mostly traveling in pod sizes anything from 15 - 60. This is also when a lot of procreation behaviour is observed. Generally these pods are scattered along about a 50km stretch of coastline made up of smaller groups that stick close inshore. On a typical day it is usual to find one to three groups of dolphins within 15km of Ponta do Ouro. On occasions these smaller pods merge, showing heightened social behaviour. Malongane Bay is one of the more popular locations for interactive dolphin sightings. Typically the dolphins spend the majority of their time just behind the breaking waves. In the Technobaine bay we usually find larger groups prodomintaley resting or travelling behavior has been observed here.
The coastline here is pristine and made up of coastal Dune forests with long stretches of sandy beaches.
WEATHER AND CONDITIONS
We predominately launch early mornings for a number reasons, one being the dolphin activity is usually a lot more prolific and secondly the weather and sea conditions are more favorable for dolphin viewing. December to March is cyclone season in northern Mozambique. Here In the Southern parts of Ponta do Ouro we rarely feel the affects of these weather systems other than slight increases in swell. This swell is also ideal for filming the dolphins surfing the waves. Mid January to July is our best weather months. August – December are generally the windy months although most days are still conducive to early morning launching. Film crews need to accommodate this and be flexible enough to have contingency days incase of bad weather.
As Ponta do Ouro has just been proclaimed a marine protected area. Film permits need to be obtained from the department of tourism, National Directorate of Conservation Areas, aka DNAC. This can also be done through the Marine Park officer here in Ponta. This film fee is a new law within the conservation area and is often a setback to some film crews bearing in mind Mozambique does still offer in-water observations of dolphins so this is an added advantage to any other sites within South Africa. We will gladly arrange all film permits along with lodging logistics. We also run a separate boat for all film crews to ensure uninterupted launches with a dedicated skipper and personal deckhand.
DOLPHIN CENTRE OPERATION
The Dolphin Centre is an authorized licensed Dolphin and Whale watching operator within the Ponta Marine Reserve. We are not a scuba diving based operation however if scuba diving is required special arrangement can be made by authorization of our Conservation Area manager and our Maritime department.
We have two semi rigid inflatables (RIB). Kira is powered by two 4-stroke 100HP motors, Avalon is powered by two 70HP 4-stroke motors. Both boats have central dry boxes which could be utilized for either dive or camera equipment. The maximum amount of passengers per boat is 16 including skipper and crew. The crew usually includes 1-2 dolphin facilitators/guides, skipper and 1 boat deckhand depending on film requirements.
All our accommodation is all on a self-catering basis however catering arrangements can be made. Alternatively there are numerous restaurants within the village. Please see accommodation info sheets for further information.
Ponta do Ouro is roughly 15km from the Kosi Bay border post. 4x4 vehicles are required but border transfers can easily be arranged.