• Whale shark in Djibouti, Joshua Barton

Whale Shark Experiences & Encounters

Looking into crystal clear, azure waters, you sit and wait with your research boat for your encounter with the largest fish in the sea, the whale shark. Armed with just a mask, snorkel and fins, you delve into the water alongside these magnificent animals in the depths of the Gulf of Tadjoura.

Accompanied by professional wildlife photographer, Joshua Barton, you will not only learn how to take underwater photographs of your encounter, but will get some photos of yourself with the whale sharks.

Our Free Diving with Whale Sharks itinerary takes place in the little known country of Djibouti, one of, if not the, best places in the world to see, and swim with, whale sharks. You can also encounter them on our well-timed Borneo safaris!


• Browse our Djibouti and Borneo holidays
• Download our free whale guide
• Contact our Destination Specialist for advice

Expert View: Arabella Worthington

Expert View: Arabella Worthington

Our Swimming with Whale Sharks Safari gives you the best chance of not only seeing the whale sharks, but actually swimming with them.

Whale shark in Djibouti, Joshua Barton

The Whale Shark

Reaching up to 40 feet in length or more, the whale shark is the largest fish in the sea. Preferring tasty plankton, they pose no threat to humans.

Whale sharks are filter feeders, and swim close to the surface scooping up plankton and any other tiny sea-dwellers they can get their colossal mouths (which can grow up to 1.5 metres wide) around. Their mouths actually contain 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth, as well as 10 filter pads which they use to feed.

A whale sharks skin is one of its distinguishing features, marked with pale yellow spots and stripes; unique to each individual as a fingerprint on a human, or the stripes of a tiger. They belong to the Chondryichtyes group, alongside sharks, skates and rays. Their skeletons have no bone, instead they are made entirely of cartilage.

Preferring warm, tropical waters they are pelagic, living in the open sea, but not in the greatest depths of the ocean. They live in all tropical waters and are known to migrate each spring to the continental shelf of the west coast of Australia, Ningaloo Reef. They are quite docile animals, and the gentle youngsters will often play with swimmers and divers in the water.

The whale shark is a real treat to encounter in the wild, especially in their own habitat, under the water.

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Why book with us

We are destination specialists

Our team of specialists have extensive on-the-ground knowledge and have all lived, guided or explored in great detail the destinations that they sell. They will design your journey around you, at the right place at the right time.

We are wildlife specialists

As a leading specialist operator we have excellent partnerships with naturalists and conservationists. We know our wildlife and do what we can to preserve its natural habitat.

We really care about our destinations

At Natural World Safaris we frequently monitor the social, economic and environmental impact of our travel operations to ensure we are at the forefront of a sustainable and ethical tourism industry. 

Swimming with blue whales in Sri Lanka

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on seeing whales in the wild.