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Swimming with Whale Sharks in the Maldives

December 31 2018

Few fortunate travellers are able to check off the top items on their travel bucket lists, but those who do, know the inexplicable feeling associated with being able to realise one of these dreams, the memories of which linger in the mind long after the trip has ended. These are the kinds of moments and experiences that have the power to take a holiday from ‘wonderful’ to ‘unparalleled’. Swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives is one of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences for many, one worth going out of your way for. 
The Maldives itself a truly sensational dream destination unlike any other, with its collection of idyllic islands surrounded by talcum-white beaches, fringed with coconut palm trees and boarded by teal lagoons. And being able to swim with one of the largest shark species in the world while visiting this tropical paradise is an incredible privilege (albeit, not for the faint of heart). 
Any opportunity to encounter animals in their natural habitat is bound to be magical, and this awe-inspiring, yet daring, excursion promises wild-hearted adventurers a memorable underwater experience in the depths of the Indian Ocean. It’s by far one of the best things to do in the Maldives. 
Here’s what you need to know about swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives: 
Whale sharks are usually found in the South Ari Atoll


Whale Sharks

Unlike with many other wildlife excursions offered around the world, finding whale sharks in the Maldives to swim with is practically a given, which is virtually unprecedented in the natural world. These incredible sharks can be found in abundance here, specifically in the waters off the South Ari Atoll. This doesn’t necessarily mean that to enjoy this experience you should stay in this atoll, but it is where many of the tours leave from, so it may just take a little organising to ensure you are at the right place at the correct time to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime excursion. 
You can go swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives throughout the year 
The great thing about swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives is that you aren’t required to travel in a certain season to be able to enjoy this excursion. Whale sharks can actually be found in the Maldives throughout the year and they can often be found in large numbers.
Having said that, however, it doesn’t mean that there are tours that run every day or throughout the day. In fact, many of the tour operators only run a select number of tours a week, so check the schedules and book ahead on the most suitable day to avoid disappointment. 
There is a wide array of tour operators to choose from 
When it comes to booking an excursion to go swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives, there is a wide variety of tour operators to choose from. The easiest way to find out which is best for you is to take a look at the different packages and prices on offer and to check the online reviews on the different options in the Maldives. Look out for reviews that rave about their team of local experts who know the water as well, if not better, than they do the land. Packages often include other top things to do in the Maldives, such as snorkelling in the lagoons and more beachside picnics.
Choose a whale shark safari in the Maldives that suits your budget as well as includes everything you could want for an extraordinary day in paradise. It’s best to ask the tour operator in the Maldives directly if you have any questions or if there’s anything you are not sure about. If you are struggling to decide, your hotel receptions should be able to point you in the right direction.
Swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives might not be what you expect

While swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives is a phenomenal experience, it’s important to know what to expect before you go to ensure it’s the type of excursion you would actually enjoy. 
While they are called whale sharks, these enchanting creatures are actually harmless, gentle giants and feed mainly on plankton, but will still probably get your heart pumping based on their size alone. Additionally, if you are not a strong swimmer, it might be best not to partake in this activity as good swimming skills are a must. 


Whale Shark

For many of the excursions, you by no means need scuba diving skills (unless otherwise specified, of course), although divers may have an advantage when it comes to keeping up with the whale sharks. The appropriate gear for the tour you have chosen will be provided, such as flippers, snorkels and face masks. 
Remember, that swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives takes place in the open water and not in enclosures, and you might need to hop on and off the boat a number of times to maximise your time with the whale sharks as they can cover incredible distances quite quickly. If you are a strong swimmer and choose to embrace the opportunity to swim with the whale sharks, you will quickly realise why it’s touted one of the best things to do in the Maldives. 

You may encounter more than just whale sharks

One of the best things about whale shark safaris in the Maldives while you search for whale sharks, you might be lucky enough to see more than the huge sharks themselves. The guides usually have incredibly keen eyes, especially when it comes to marine life. You might see manta rays, turtles, dolphins and even other sharks (if you are there in the shark season, which tends to be between January and March), adding an extra thrill to the already exciting excursion. Thanks to a thriving ecosystem and irresistible coral reefs that teem with fish, whale sharks are one of 26 different shark species found in the Maldives. While these sharks are harmless, it’s still important to keep a respectful distance when swimming with them. 
If you would like to stay at the most idyllic five-star hotel for your dream holiday in the Maldives, then look no further than Kanuhura. With everything from stellar restaurants and sublime beaches to its very own dive centre, your luxury holiday at Kanuhura is bound to be unforgettable. 

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