Tanga Yacht Club

Tanzanian Whale Network

Monday, 21 September 2020

Photo by Fernando Gutierrez on Unsplash

Find out when and where whales frequent the places you sail and fish – the Tanzanian Whale Network wants you to join them! This informal network was formed in 2018 and is citizen science in action. A WhatsApp group provides realtime sightings, and the data reports are consolidated each year to provide a picture of whale numbers at various times and places along the coast. The group encourages everyone who is regularly on the water to join, including fishermen, sailors and boaties of all sorts.

Humpback whales

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are present in Tanzanian waters from June to November each year. They spend the austral summer months (Nov-March) in Antarctica feeding and make the long migration to give birth and mate in the relatively safe, warm tropical waters of East Africa. Now that whale hunting has largely ceased, humpback whale populations in East Africa are believed to be steadily increasing in number, and, as a consequence, humpback whale sightings in Tanzania and other nearby regions are becoming more common.


Members of the Tanzanian Whale Network include most of the divers, recreational fishermen, sailors and water sports operators in the country. Also included are some of the marine park managers, marine biologists, conservationists, and fisheries specialists etc. Members live across the entire country, but there are large numbers from Mafia, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam and fewer from Tanga, Mtwara and Lindi. Anyone can be a member – all you need is a willingness to report the whales you see.

See Join the Group below for details.

2018 and 2019 Whale Reports

In 2018, a total of 199 whale sightings were reported, comprising a total of 467 whales, including 49 calves. The largest number of whales in a single day were reported on 29th July (31), 1st Sept (29) and 16th Sept (25). The greatest number of whale records were from Zanzibar, Mafia and Dar/ Latham. In 2019 a total of 27 whale sightings were reported comprising a total of 47 individuals whales and 3 calves. This was a 90% decline in sightings from 2018 to 2019. The full reports are available for 2018 and 2019.

Join the Group

The group welcomes anyone interested in whales so please join this citizen science effort!

Use this form to report humpback sightings.

To join the WhatsApp group send an email to Gill Braulik, gillbraulik@gmail.com, or use your WhatsApp phone to join:

TZ Marine