Meet the island's finned friends
The seas around Thanda Island are one of the only places in the world which are home to whale sharks year round, allowing you to swim alongside these majestic creatures in the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
Those visiting Thanda Island during peak season are almost guaranteed a sighting with a whale shark, thanks to a resident pod of roughly 200 which never migrate outside of the waters between Thanda and neighbouring Mafia island.
Whale sharks have never been observed to stay in one area year round until now. Although the peak time to spot them is between October and March, they are still present in the water year-round; they just spend more time in deeper water further away from the coasts of the islands.
While intimidating in size, whale sharks are calm and docile creatures, feeding primarily on plankton. Many will happily allow divers and snorkellers to cruise idly alongside them, admiring their incredible breadth and distinctive markings.
Unlike their migrating brethren, these whale sharks stay near the island all year long, a behaviour rarely observed in whale sharks.
If you are diving with whale sharks as part of your Thanda Island experience, then the island's sleek powerboat will take you on the excursion and the Thanda team will provide you with snorkelling gear.
The island's resident marine biologist will also be on hand to dive in the water with you, showing you how to get up close to these gentle giants.
Expect to experience a few different sightings during your trip. In between dives, you can lie back and relax with a glass of champagne in hand, while keeping a weather eye on the horizon to catch a glimpse of the whale sharks' shadow below the waves.
For an alternative perspective, head to the bow of the boat and play spotter, keeping your eyes trained on the water. Whale sharks are often inquisitive, and will come directly up to the side of the boat for you to see them in all of their glory.
You can also experience the whale sharks of Thanda Island as part of a superyacht charter. Whale sharks can often be found alone, but it’s not uncommon to see pods of fifty at a time, feeding around the shallow sand banks between Mafia and Thanda Island. Make memories to last a lifetime swimming by their side, or float to the surface and marvel as the gentle giants glide below.
If you would like to learn more about how you can experience this natural wonder for yourself, please get in touch with your preferred yacht charter broker.
The whale shark pod of Thanda Island
Shungimbili Island, District of Mafia Island, Tanzania