Experience Manta Season at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Following the mantas’ annual migration across the Indian Ocean, guests at the luxury Conrad Maldives Rangali Island are enjoying regular sightings as they congregate in the waters surrounding the resort.
A protected marine area, the pristine South Ari Atoll has some of the richest waters in the Maldives and is the only place in the world that the whale shark – the world’s largest fish – can be seen its natural habitat all year round, whilst also being a year-round home to pods of dolphins and an abundance of other marine life.
Considered a vulnerable species, manta rays are the largest rays in the world. The word ‘manta’ means blanket or cloak in Spanish and describes the rays’ instantly recognisable large, flat, diamond-shaped body which is characterised by their wing-like pectoral fins. The reef ray manta – the species most commonly seen in the Maldives – has an impressive wingspan of up to 14 feet (around 4.5 metres), enabling it to move gracefully through the water while feeding.
With one of the largest comparable brain sizes of any marine animal, mantas are highly curious, resulting in some very up close and personal snorkelling encounters. Not to be left out, land-lovers can also look forward to spotting the manta rays from the twin island’s connecting bridge at dusk, where the surprise of looking down on the stunning creatures enthusiastically feeding on plankton makes for a spectacular and memorable sight.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island works in collaboration with a team of experts from Ocean Group to conserve the ocean and wildlife surrounding the resort, with Andy Birtles, Dive Centre Manager at Ocean Group explaining, “during this time of the year, as the monsoons change, plankton – mantas’ favourite food – move west to the South Ari Atoll, and are followed by large numbers of manta rays in search of sustenance and to be cleaned.
“Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has made a huge commitment to protect the manta’s wellbeing and habitat and we’re really proud of the work we’re doing together to raise awareness of these charismatic and gentle giants, whilst providing guests with a unique experience that will stay with them forever. With the season just getting underway, there is plenty of time over the next few months to experience it first-hand and I encourage everyone visiting to take the opportunity to snorkel or dive with these amazing creatures while they can.”
In addition to seeing an abundance of marine life in its natural habitat, guests at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island also have the opportunity to support the resort’s eco-mission by joining in with coral planting, beach clean ups and supporting the coral reef regeneration initiative which includes a coral adoption program for guests to get involved in.
5 things you didn’t know about manta rays by Andy Birtles, Dive Centre Manager at Ocean Group:
- Every manta has a unique spot pattern on their bellies – so we know each our manta’s individually
- Manta can feed at depths as deep as 400m
- Female mantas are around 20% bigger than males
- Mantas were originally nicknamed “Devilfish” because of their horn shaped fins, but mantas are completely harmless to humans
- Mantas have been documented and filmed going up to SCUBA divers in the water to look for assistance and help from humans!
Nestled in the South Ari Atoll and just a short seaplane ride from Male’s Velana International Airport, the award-winning Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is one of the most renowned and exclusive destinations in the Maldives and has undergone an expansive multi-million-dollar refurbishment to elevate its signature hospitality with thoughtful experiences and refreshed interiors.
Due to be unveiled in 2022, guests can enjoy significant enhancements across the resort including extensive renovations, thoughtful experiences and upgraded culinary offering that will bring Conrad Maldives Rangali Island to the top of its game, ensuring it continues to offer authentic barefoot luxury across its twin islands that guests have long enjoyed since the resort landed in the shores of the Maldives.