Snorkel with mantas at Reethi Beach Resort
Reethi Beach is located in the north-east of Baa Atoll on tiny Fonimagoodhoo Island measuring just 600m by 200m.
Only 15 per cent of the land area is built upon and the resort is nestled amidst lush vegetation shaded by graceful palm trees and surrounded by a white sandy beach and a lagoon of crystal clear water, with a beautiful house reef just 30m to 100m from shore.
As the centrepiece to the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Hanifaru Bay is a vital feeding and breeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks; you have an excellent chance of seeing these incredible sea giants while snorkelling here.
The best time to see mantas and whale sharks is from May to November.
“We have seen an overwhelming response from a lot of our new and repeating guest inquiring about snorkelling with manta rays, Hanifaru Bay is a world-famous snorkelling site, renowned for attracting exceptionally high numbers of magnificent manta rays and gentle whale sharks,” Denise Schmidt, Resort Manager at Reethi Beach Resort, said.
“Our team of Ocean Fanatics are pros at tracking mantas and whale sharks. Join them for a thrilling snorkel excursion where they’ll go in search of mantas or whale sharks every day.”
Mantas and whale sharks aggregate here in extraordinarily large numbers to feed on the zooplankton that becomes trapped in Hanifaru Bay, making it an amazing spectacle if you’re lucky enough to witness it.
At its peak there could be hundreds of mantas plus several whale sharks feeding there at the same time.
Hanifaru is one of the only places in the world where so many mantas and whale sharks aggregate in such unusually high numbers, which has led to international recognition and it being celebrated in major publications including National Geographic.
Recently, Reethi Beach Resort was graced by the visit of renowned #oceanconservationist Ocean Ramsey and Juan Oliphant, founder of Ocean Organization and especially One Ocean Diving as an immersive conservation programme to serve as a major conservation effort and to help assist with funding for ongoing studies of the ocean.
“Feeling a wonderful sense of serenity looking up at these gorgeous, graceful, gentle giants. Manta rays are harmless and defenceless. Tragically they are quickly heading towards extinction as they are hunted and killed for their gill-rakers for Chinese medicine markets. Please help save mantas by voting to pass laws or supporting efforts for their protection and marine protected areas. Mantas are protected at this incredibly special spot which I am so grateful to be experiencing,” Ocean Ramsey said.
“Special thanks to @sideytheshark for helping @juansharks and I to make this quick visit since we were already so close in Qatar and @reethibeachresort and @oceanfanaticsmaldives for hosting us and taking us diving. Local research managed by @baaatollbiospherereserve and they’ve got a wonderful team of local rangers keeping an eye out for the mantas & @mantatrust team helping with research.”
As the jewel in the crown of the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Hanifaru Bay has been a Marine Protected Area since 2009. This means the creatures frequenting the area are protected and there are rules in place that protect the environment and limit the number of visitors allowed in the area at the same time.
The iconic four-star Reethi Beach Resort is located in the known Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which hosts the world- famous Hanifaru Bay, home of the majestic manta rays during the months of June till October.
Indulge in a rustic Robinson Crusoe feeling combined with a relaxed atmosphere – a true Maldivian island experience.
Boasting 129 beautiful villas with a path through tropical vegetation leads from each Villa to pristine sands and a crystal-clear lagoon. All come with daybeds offering breath-taking ocean views.
Accessible by short 35 minutes seaplane ride or 20 minutes domestic flight followed by a short 15 minutes speedboat ride.