With Ocean Discovery Package, Anantara Kihavah offers thrilling manta ray experience
Swimming with manta rays is a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experience that snorkelers of all abilities should not miss out on. The gentle giants of the ocean, manta rays are one of the most mysterious and largest fish in the ocean with wingspans of up to 7 metres. Watching from above as they glide, swoop, swerve and somersault just metres beneath you is one of life’s truly spectacular experiences.
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas in the Maldives’ Baa atoll offers one of the best opportunities to encounter these amazing creatures in their natural annual migration across the Indian Ocean. Each year, from May to November, huge amounts of krill and plankton collects in Hanifaru Bay in the Baa atoll, a UNESCO marine protected biosphere reserve, attracting all kinds of marine life, making it the world’s largest natural Manta Ray feeding destination. Curious, friendly and harmless, manta rays have the largest brain of any fish. They feed on a variety of plankton, which accounts for their large, gaping mouths.
Anantara’s Elements water sports team works closely with the rangers who protect Hanifaru Bay to get the insider scoop on the mantas’ movements so that guests can quickly reach the site, which is located only 20 minutes from the resort, maximising their chances of spotting the rays. Tours depart three-four times each week and no previous snorkelling experience is necessary. Provided they are confident swimmers, children as young as eight years can join in on this incredible marine encounter.
Anantara’s guides scout the mantas’ favourite spots, usually in Hanifaru Bay or in nearby currents where plankton and krill swim. Once given the go-ahead to get into the water, snorkelers are treated to an amazing underwater ballet as the giant mantas glide and somersault in mesmerising patterns. The mantas often swim within centimetres of snorkelers, always managing to avoid contact at the last second. On any given day, visitors to Hanifaru Bay can see anywhere from a couple of mantas to more than 40 depending on plankton levels. Around the full moon, as many as 100 mantas can congregate in the bay. Getting this close to these majestic creatures is truly an experience of a lifetime.
During manta ray season, there is also the possibility of snorkelling with whale sharks, another gentle giant of the ocean and once-in-a-lifetime encounter. While no means guaranteed, whale shark sightings are reasonably frequent from May to November as they are also attracted by the abundance of plankton and krill in Hanifaru Bay. Anantara’s water sports team are swift to react to any sightings giving guests one of the best chances of seeing these mighty creatures up close.
The Elements team at Anantara Kihavah Villas are dedicated to safeguarding the wellbeing and habitat of the manta rays and whale sharks, and enforce the strict regulations that have been set by the local rangers.
For enthusiasts, Anantara Kihavah Villas is offering a special Kihavah Ocean Discovery Package with prices from USD 1,270 for a Beach Pool Villa. The package includes:
- Five nights’ accommodation in a Beach Pool Villa or Over Water Pool Villa
- Daily buffet breakfast for two persons
- One Dolphin Discovery excursion for two persons
- One Turtle Quest or Manta Ray Snorkelling excursion for two persons
- Choice of one Scuba Diving or one Scuba Review course for two persons
- One 30-minute Seabob water sport experience for two persons
- One local island visit for two persons
Anantara Kihavah Villas is located just 35 minutes by seaplane from the main Velana International Airport. Following the scenic flight, guests arrive to a picture-perfect setting surrounded by the jewel-coloured waters and uninhabited islands of the majestic Indian Ocean.
Comprising 74 one-bedroom villas, four two-bedroom residences and a three-bedroom residence, each hideaway boasts large personal infinity-edge pools, dining pavilions, expansive wooden sundecks and ample lounging areas complete with swinging daybeds, hammocks and sun loungers. All villas feature his and hers walk-in wardrobes, rain showers, outdoor showers and over-sized bathtubs big enough for two. Sunken glass bottom bathtubs in the over water villas offer a mesmerising view of the sparkling ocean, both below and beyond the adjacent infinity-edge pool.
The island boasts an abundant and colourful house reef of its own known as the ‘Golden Wall’ for the particular presence of gold and yellow corals, and which attracts a huge variety of species of fish, lobster and sea stars. Having this ‘must-dive’ site right on the hotel’s doorstep ensures divers are guaranteed a superb dive no matter what the conditions are.