SUSTAINABLE TOURISM FOR

(WO)MAN & HUMPBACK WHALE

 

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Did you know that our dive destinations offer the best possible marine fauna? From the great variety of micro and macro life that we find on local reefs to the large predators and large pelagics of the Indian Ocean. With the help of our guides and instructors Robert, Lachin and Mono, discover the wonders immersed in this corner of Africa.

 

You are not yet a diver, but would you like to try it? It is not a problem at all! What better place than these waters full of turtles, clown fish, rays and much more… for our instructors to welcome you to this magical world!

How to swim with Whale Sharks

Few experiences can top diving or snorkeling with a manta ray. Every year tourists spend an estimated US$140 million to see manta rays in the wild. As a result, tourism can form part of the solution to combating the issue of global manta fisheries, providing many countries and governments with a strong economic incentive to protect these animals. By going out to swim with a manta, you are helping conserve one of the ocean's greatest treasures!

But manta tourism needs to be sustainable. Mantas are very sensitive to disturbance, and if left without proper measures, tourism has the potential to do more harm than good. There have been occasions where uncontrolled human interactions have negatively impacted local manta populations, driving them away from important areas where they clean, feed or breed. Whilst many dive operators around the world have taken it upon themselves to develop guidelines for manta encounters, none have been validated by scientific studies. The Manta Trust want to address that.

After several years of research conducted in the Maldives, the Manta Team have developed a Best Practice Code of Conduct for Manta Ray Tourism. These guidelines outline how divers and snorkelers should behave in-water, to both enhance their experience and to ensure their presence does not disturb the mantas they encounter. In addition, it includes recommendations for tourism operators on how best to approach and depart manta aggregation sites, and how to help their crew manage a manta excursion.  But we're taking this Code of Conduct one step further.

Our guideline

Enter the water quietly and calmly, no closer than 10 meters/ 33 feet from the manta ray.

Keep your fins below the water's surface when swimming. Splashing and noise can scare mantas away, so you want to approach as quietly as possible.

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Do not approach closer than 3 meters/ 10 feet. Instead, remain still and let the manta come to you.

You should approach the manta from their side, giving them a clear path ahead.

As the manta swims past you, do not chase after it. You will never catch up to a manta anyway, and will likely scare it away in the process.

Do not touch a manta ray. You will ruin the encounter, and may receive a fine depending on local laws.

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*for scuba divers*

If you are diving with mantas, you will most likely be encountering them on a cleaning station. These are important sites for manta rays.

During the encounter, remain at the side of the cleaning station. Do not swim onto the main cleaning area.

Keep low and hover close to the seabed, but be careful not to damage the reef beneath you. Depending on the dive site, you may need to stay in an area designated for divers.

*for scuba divers*

*for scuba divers*

When a manta swims towards you, do not block their path as they swim overhead. Stay low, and stay where you are.

Be sure to follow any extra rules, laws and regulations that may be specific to the manta site you're visiting.

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Learn about Whale Shark encounters!