Meet the world’s largest known manta ray population at Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru !
As a guest of the resort, you can join the Manta Trust scientists to study Manta Rays during the all season.
Each year, during Manta season in Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, the Manta Trust team at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru prepares an exciting calendar to maximise the chances to swim with the world’s largest-known manta ray population.
Live the Manta Ray Dream at Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru invites you for an up-close invitation to meet the World’s largest known Manta Ray population during the next Manta season.
As a guest of the resort, you can join the Manta Trust scientists to study Manta Rays on the team’s research boat during manta season (May – Nov) or sign up for exciting Manta-on-Call snorkels or Manta Safaris.
In the off-season, there are still mantas to be seen in Raa Atoll located at 45-minutes by speedboat from the resort.
The Manta Season in Baa Atoll
May to November is one of the most exciting times of the year in the Maldives to see and swim with manta rays.
At this period, at Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, plankton-rich currents lure reef manta rays to local waters in their hundreds for graceful feeding frenzies. Having studied this group of gentle oceanic giants for nearly twenty years, the Manta Trust team at Landaa Giraavaru are best placed to offer extraordinary insights into their habits and lifestyles.
The Maldivian Manta Ray Project at Landaa Giraavaru
During 2022’s manta ray season, The Manta Trust – whose researchers have run The Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) at Landaa Giraavaru since 2005 – estimated 6,083 manta ray sightings in the waters around the resort.
At nearby Hanifaru Bay, famed for its mass manta aggregations, an estimated 5,016 sightings were made.
Across the archipelago, 176 manta rays were identified for the first time, bringing the total known Maldives reef manta ray population to 5,507 – the largest recorded in the world.
During June 2022, Landaa Giraavaru’s researchers (and guests!) were also lucky enough to encounter more than 60 manta rays on the Resort’s House Reef. For the first time ever, the mantas were observed engaging in cyclone feeding – a rotating feeding circle resembling a cyclone – within a stone’s throw of the Resort’s Arrival Jetty.
“It was so special to show guests cyclone-feeding mantas directly from the beach. It goes to show, you don’t always need to visit Hanifaru Bay for manta encounters – sometimes they come to you!”Ellie Strike, MMRP Project Manager at Landaa Giraavaru.
With wingspans of up to 4.5 metres (15 feet), the largest brain-to-size ratio of any cold-blooded fish, and a cognitive function on a par with dolphins, primates and elephants, reef mantas are some of the most impressive creatures in the ocean.
The importance of facilitating connections to mantas to understand their vital place in our ecosystems has sadly only increased this past year, with giant manta rays – the close cousin of the reef manta – being uplisted in December 2021 to “endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.
“When a guest meets these intelligent and curious animals in their natural habitat, something truly magical happens,” continues Ellie. “Awed by nature, they quickly come to realise just how crucial it is to take care of our oceans to protect creatures like mantas.
For us as researchers and educators, that’s what our work is all about.”
Whale Sharks were also spotted at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
And it’s not just the mantas that are worth getting wet for at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru: 2022’s manta season also saw a record 27 whale shark sightings in local waters. The largest of any fish alive today, unthreatening whale sharks also seek to exploit the plankton-rich waters of Baa Atoll – in apparently increasing numbers.
Opportunities for Magical Manta Moments
Guests have various options to interact with mantas during their stay at Landaa Giraavaru.
Note: Manta ray sightings are subject to weather conditions and the temperament of the animals on the day.
The Resort’s Manta-on-Call service supplies a “manta phone” that rings when mantas are sighted nearby, before a waiting speedboat whisks them away for an unforgettable open water experience.
And with manta rays swimming to the surface to feed, the phenomenon is best experienced while snorkelling, making it accessible to anyone able to swim.
Guests can also book private manta-spotting cruises, while the Resort’s new Trainee Manta Biologist program offers environmentally minded 13 to 18-year-olds teens a focused one-to-one deep dive into what it takes to be a Manta Biologist : from photo identification to helping monitor size, behaviour and even pregnancy.
Landaa Giraavaru’ Marine Discovery Centre
Marine Discovery Centre Landaa’s Marine Discovery Centre is the base for the Resort’s pioneering ocean conservation initiatives.
Showcasing the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Reefscapers coral rejuvenation program, the Manta Trust research station and the Fish Lab alongside aquariums, jellyfish tanks, exhibition boards and more, it immerses visitors in the staggering stats and fascinating facts of one of the Maldives’ leading marine facilities.
As a guest of the resort, you can help the marine hub expert team to cultivate and care for a sustainable aquaculture community of clownfish, seahorses and anemones housed across 40 colourful tanks in the Fish Lab.
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