Swimming in the company of the largest marine species is one of those life-changing experiences. The whale shark is the largest fish currently living on Earth, with a size that varies from 4 to 14 metres and can even exceptionally reach 20 metres! It is easily recognizable with its checkered livery. The advantage of this fish, which moves quite slowly in the water, is that it is completely harmless to humans. It also likes to swim in warm tropical oceans, so you will have to pack your bags and fly to warmer regions to put on flippers, mask and snorkel and swim with it. From Africa to Australia, through South America and the Philippines, here are 10 wonderful places in the world to swim with whale sharks
1- Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Direction Australia and the Ningaloo Reef located 1,200 km north of Perth. It is here, in crystal-clear waters, that more than 250 species of coral are found. The coral reef is 260 kilometres long and teems with tropical fish, manta rays, turtles, humpback whales and the unmissable whale sharks. They arrive in the waters between April and July, and the place is said to be one of the places where they congregate in greatest numbers. An expedition to the waters of Ningaloo Marine Park is therefore the best way to ensure a swim alongside this unique fish.
2- The Sultanate of Oman
Whale shark watching, especially swimming alongside them, is a popular tourist activity in the Sultanate ofOman. Indeed, every autumn, the waters very rich in plankton attract dozens of specimens that come to feed. One often wants to go to this small sultanate of the Persian Gulf for desert escapades. Well, it is important to know that with 3,000 km of coastline and reefs, the territory is also a place conducive to many aquatic activities. And swimming with whale sharks is definitely one of them
Situated on the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is a country whose wonderful lands remain mostly unknown to the general public. Its natural environment is nevertheless of great beauty, with desert landscapes, volcanic rocks and mountains. It also has superb seabeds that we recommend you to explore. Whale sharks come to feed in Djibouti's warm waters from mid-October to the end of February. Visitors can then board a boat and prepare to swim with these fish, which remain imperturbable, even in contact with humans
4- La Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Welcome to the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula along the Caribbean Sea. La Isla Mujeres is remarkable for the beauty of its beaches where you can enjoy a few moments of sunbathing, as well as for its Mayan heritage. In this island steeped in history, whale sharks come to bathe in the waters from May to September. Visitors can therefore take advantage of the turquoise waters to swim alongside them, while thinking of opening their eyes wide to see the other wonderful species such as sea turtles, manta rays and dolphins.
5- Gladden Spit, Belize
How about a little trip to Central America? And why not take advantage of it to go swimming with the whale sharks on the coast of Belize? These seasonal visitors enjoy the warm waters of Gladden Spit in the south of the country for feeding between March and June. It is possible to pack your suitcases in an accommodation in Placencia, walk through the sandy streets, before setting off on an excursion to meet the giants of the seas. Snorkeling or diving trips, according to your preferences. The result will be the same, the whale shark can be observed in its natural habitat, accompanied by other species of fish.
6- Donsol Bay, Philippines
In the Philippines, Donsol is a rather quiet city, in which one takes pleasure in staying to recharge one's batteries. From November to June, whale sharks arrive in the waters of the island of Luzon and for locals and visitors alike, it is an opportunity to meet them. If the activity attracts many tourists, it is important to know that measures have been taken to respect the animal as much as possible. In particular, it is absolutely forbidden to feed them. Once the rules are in mind, everyone can take the time to drift near a whale shark, always as serenely as possible.
7- Mafia Island, Tanzania
In Tanzania, the Mafia Island is still unknown to tourists from all over the world. It is therefore a place to be noted for all those who prefer to go to meet less frequented and more peaceful lands. The island is home to an important marine reserve, and the whale shark passes through its waters. With white sandy beaches, palm trees and crystal clear waters, the environment is perfect for combining relaxation on the beach with a trip to the sea to swim with the fish. Whale sharks are usually only a few hundred meters from the coast. For your information, the preservation of the biggest fish in the world is very important on Mafia Island, and children are taught about it at school.
8- Tofo beach, Mozambique
Located in Mozambique, Tofo is one of the best diving spots in the world. Its beach seems almost infinite and offers a dream setting to enjoy the sand, the sea and the coconut palms. It is also a place that is a delight for lovers of nautical activities with the possibility of practicing kitesurfing, surfing, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving. On the program? Diving with giant manta rays and whale sharks. The advantage is that they are present all year round in this part located 400 km north of the country's capital, Maputo. However, they are most often seen in summer, between November and March.
9- Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia
Cenderawasih Bay is of multiple interests. It has an absolutely incredible marine fauna. You can dive and see tuna, barracudas, snappers and groupers. It is also in this part of Indonesia that you can see wrecks from the Second World War, for history lovers. Finally, whale sharks are present there in very large numbers, offering the possibility to experience the incredible moment of swimming alongside them. For the local population, the animal is sacred and their presence is a real opportunity for fishermen
10- The Galapagos, Ecuador
The Galapagos is a small archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, more than 1,000 kilometres west of the South American continent. There are about twenty islands and forty islets of volcanic origin. The landscapes are of rare beauty and visitors love to come here to observe the incredibly rich flora and fauna. Endemic species can be found here and in the sea, the Galapagos Islands are a stage in the whale sharks' migratory path. It is a very reliable place in the world to be able to observe them and swim very close to them. Direction notably the Darwin and Wolf Islands.