Manta Ray encounters in the Maldives at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
If you love snorkelling, diving and all things relating to marine life, you’ll be familiar with the Maldives – at least as a destination that’s up there on your radar. One hotel group in particular that we admire for its marine-conservation efforts in this stunning part of the world is Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. With initiatives to help keep the ocean in tip-top condition, guests of the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru can participate in a host of enriching activities, and profits from them are pumped back into more marine-research projects for an added feel-good factor.
The Marine Discovery Centre’s team of marine biologists will take you on a journey of unique encounters with sea creatures, in particular the manta ray. Pioneering research and work protecting the species starts with all-important coral propagation. And, as one of the world’s most successful projects, the centre has hosted an ongoing programme since 1998’s El Nino created unusually warm water conditions that bleached and killed the coral. Guests can venture out into the lagoon and observe the resort’s ‘reefscapers’ at work, join a build-a-reef session, and even sponsor their own coral frame where they can watch it grow via the Marine Savers website. It’s hoped that the clone-selection research will one day hold the key to protecting reefs against the effects of global warming.
Staying at Landaa Giraavaru you’ll be just 20 minutes from one of the world’s most renowned manta ray hot spots – Hanifaru Bay. Maximise your chances of seeing these graceful gentle giants by booking your holiday during the ‘hot dates’ predicted by the resort’s ray specialist, generally between June and October. Once you arrive at the resort, sign up to the ‘manta-on-call service’ for instant notifications of manta ray sightings. As plankton levels peak, sightings of not only manta rays but also whale sharks are likely, and you can take a guided underwater tour of many feeding sites for a closer look.
Little ones can get involved, too. The Marine Discovery Centre’s dedicated children’s section provides hours of fun including snorkelling instruction in the Coral Garden, a chance to interact with starfish by taking a swim in the touch tank and, finally, helping the marine biologists transplant coral frames.
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