Archive for the ‘Baa Atoll’ Category

Special Itineraries 1; Manta, Whaleshark & Wrecks – North

May 30th, 2015 Comments off

Manta, Whaleshark & Wrecks – North (outward trip)

Join Emperor Atoll for these awesome special trips to the North of Maldives:

10 300x200 Special Itineraries 1; Manta, Whaleshark & Wrecks   North

Atolls Visited

These special itineraries have been chosen to run when the manta are most prolific between August and October.

Boarding your liveaboard in Male, you head north to begin your safari ending in Baa Atoll (Hanifaru Bay) where you catch a flight back to Male.

Your journey begins with wreck diving at Gaafaru Atoll, continuing on to the northern atolls of Lhaviyani and Noonu with an abundance of grey reef sharks, exciting channel diving, beautiful coral formations and pinnacles brimming with life.

Baa Atoll is home to Hanifaru Lagoon where you can snorkel with the manta and whalesharks that come to feed on the plankton in this shallow lagoon. Of course, sightings can’t be guaranteed but joining us at this time of year means your chances are really high! Baa Atoll is also home to many pinnacles, overhangs and alternative manta sites.

You can combine this itinerary with the Manta, Whaleshark & Reefs – South itinerary, which is the return trip but calling at different sites, making an exciting two week safari covering eight atolls. Contact us for details and prices.

Please note: This itinerary is at the Cruise Director’s discretion based on the weather and current conditions to ensure you get the most possible interactions with manta and whaleshark.

You don’t need a minimum number of dives but you should be comfortable with drift dives. Currents can be strong. All your diving is made from dhonis or zodiacs to give precise entry and exits points. Experienced divers can dive in a buddy pair unguided.

The Hanifaru Bay diving ban explained

June 17th, 2012 Comments off

Hanifaru Bay is a world-renowned snorkelling and diving spot but as of this year diving has been banned in the bay.

The bay is located in Baa Atoll and is roughly the size of a football pitch in size. During the Southwest Monsoon when the moonlight, tide and other conditions are right, the bay comes alive with vast concentrations of zooplankton. ‘Mega fauna’ like whale sharks, manta rays and giant oceanic mantas are attracted by the plankton and are drawn to the bay in unusually high numbers, making for an incredible natural spectacle.


The opportunity to see up to see several whale sharks and up to 200 mantas in one place draws tourists from all over the world. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List Threatened Species assessment, whale sharks are classed as ‘Vulnerable’ while manta rays are ‘Near Threatened’. Hanifaru Bay is one of the only places in the world where scientists have recorded whale sharks and mantas aggregating in such high numbers to feed.

The government of the Maldives decided to implement strict rules and measures in an effort to minimise damage to the ecosystem there following a massive increase in the number of tourists visiting it. One of the most significant changes is the ban on diving in Hanifaru Bay, making it effectively a snorkelling-only zone. Divers can still dive in the area outside of the bay and in the rest of Baa Atoll but inside Hanifaru Bay all visitors must adhere to the new regulations. The diving ban came into effect in January 2012.

The Reef


Hanifaru reef is a semi-oval shape surrounded by deep channels. On the eastern side it is exposed to open ocean. The western corner is the shallowest part of the lagoon, protected from the open ocean, and there is a small sand cay there. There isn’t very much hard coral in the lagoon but turtles and seabirds can be spotted there. On the south-eastern side of the reef there is a small bay which is around 700 metres long and 80 to 200 metres wide, connected to the main reef in the east and a channel opening into open ocean to the west. The whale sharks and mantas use this channel to enter the bay unless the tide is high enough for them to cross the reef.   The southern part of the bay, near a sandbank, is where the zooplankton gets trapped in large numbers and the whale sharks and mantas feed on them.

maldives whale shark hanifarubay The Hanifaru Bay diving ban explained

Snorkeling near a whale shark in Hanifaru bay

Vessel Regulations


Hanifaru Bay was declared a Marine Protected Area in 2009, which gives it the highest level of protection in the Maldives. It was made a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in June 2011. There are three main functions of a Biosphere Reserve – conservation, sustainable development and learning.

A Hanifaru Management Plan was drawn up to co-ordinate and implement the programme. It is co-financed by the Global Environment Facility and implemented through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Maldives.

Under the regulations, only five safari boats, resort vessels or local boats are allowed to drop off visitors near Hanifaru Bay at one time and each vessel can only have access every other day. Vessels must stay at least 50 metres from the mega fauna. No vessels can enter the bay and the special drop-off zone can only be used by vessels, researchers, in water tour guides, Environmental Protection Agency rangers and visitors in possession of Hanifaru Tokens.

Hanifaru Bay1 The Hanifaru Bay diving ban explained

Visitors have to abide by special guidelines

How this affects visitors ?


There is also a restriction on the number of visitors allowed in the water at one time. Anyone wanting to snorkel in the bay must have an official Hanfaru Token purchased either from a safari boat or from the Baa Atoll Conservation Fund . The token entitles each group to up to 45 minutes of snorkelling time in the bay. Visitors have to leave the boat in the drop off zone and enter Hanifaru Bay by swimming through a designated entry point.

Visitors also have to abide by special guidelines (the national Maldivian Whale Shark Tourism Guidelines) when they come across any of the mega fauna. They must stay at least three metres away from the creatures and not attempt to touch them. If the whale sharks happen to swim in their path, snorkellers have to remain motionless and wait for them to move away from them.

Every visitor will be given a laminated map of Hanifaru Bay and the main sites within it. On the back is a list of permitted and prohibited activities in the area, which tour guides are also required to explain to visitors.

Anyone who breaches the Hanifaru Management Plan is liable to penalties under Maldivian Law defined in the Environmental Liability Regulations, and the Hanifaru Management Authority can withdraw or suspend licences and permits for anyone breaching the Management Plan.


For more information on booking a trip to Hanifaru Bay and for tours to other great dive sites around the Maldives. Check out our special offers and get the best holidays deal in the Maldives !

Categories: Baa Atoll, Hanifaru, Maldives Tags:

Visit Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, Maldives

January 8th, 2011 Comments off

Hanifaru Bay is located in the Baa Atoll Hanifaru in the Maldives.  For several years now, Hanifaru Bay Maldives has become known as one of the prime dive spots in the world. diving Hanifaru Bay is so special because of the abundance of Hanifaru Bay manta rays.  The manta rays are attracted to Hanifaru Maldives because this area is home to incredible amounts of plankton.  The Hanifaru mantas, which are filter feeders that thrive on plankton, come to Hanifaru to feast on the zooplankton.  What makes Hanifaru diving even more special is that when the Maldives mantas Hanifaru Bay gather to eat the plankton, there can often be more than 200 manta rays, and they gather in a frenzy of feeding action, swirling around in the water and gobbling up the delicious plankton.

See our Maldives 2011 Summer Specials for Hanifaru Dive Trips

Maldives Underwater Photos Beautiful Manta Rays Visit Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, Maldives

Manta Ray Feeding Frenzy at Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives

When learning about Hanifaru Bay Malediven, the first thing to know is where is Hanifaru Bay.  A quick look at a Hanifaru map will show you that Hanifaru Maldive is located in the Maldives, which are in the Indian Ocean, close to India.  More specifically, Hanifaru Bay, Maldives is located in the northern area of the Maldives and the best way to visit Maldives Hanifaru is by liveaboard Hanifaru Bay.  The Hanifaru Atoll is located quite a distance away from some of the more popular atolls in the Maldives, so diving Hanifaru can be difficult if you’re not staying in the hotels near Hanifaru Bay. While it is possible to stay at one of the luxurious Hanifaru resorts like Hanifaru Royal Island, or perhaps at one of the cheap hotels near Hanifaru Bay, by going on a Hanifaru liveaboard, you will cruise around the Hanifaru Bay Baa Atoll, visiting nearby dive sites and sleeping on the liveaboard Hanifaru.  This way, you will be close to Hanifaru tauchen when you are ready to dive Hanifaru, and if you have to wait for the right conditions, you will be close to Hanifaru thila.  On another note, there really are not that many resorts near Hanifaru Bay for you to choose from apart from the Royal Island Hanifaru, so if you’re interested in spending time in a resorts near Hanifaru, you’d be better off choosing a resort somewhere else in the Maldives and making a two-centre holiday that would include a liveaboard to Hanifaru plus a few nights in a deluxe resort, allowing you to experience the two best parts of this amazing country.

Hanifaru Bay Liveaboard Cruises

There are many different Hanifaru liveaboards to choose from, all of which offer onboard accommodation and dive trips to Hanifaru Baa Atoll on a separate dive boat, known as a dhoni.  You can choose the perfect Maldives liveaboard Hanifaru for your Hanifaru Bay diving trip based on your budget and your personal taste. MS Stingray Hanifaru is a great option for a Hanifaru cruise if you’re looking for a more economical Hanifaru diving trip.  You can expect to pay around $180-$200 per person per night on a Hanifaru bucht like the MS Stingray, which includes all meals and Hanifaru tauchsafari diving.  It does not include the price of the flights to the Maldives.  Holidays in Hanifaru island Maldives need to be a bit longer than some Maldives diving trips because Hanifaru reef is quite a distance from the city of Male.  When researching what dive boats go to Hanifaru Bay, you will also find trips on Hanifaru Theia, Black Pearl + Hanifaru  and Hanifaru MV Orion, both of which are more upmarket Hanifaru Maldives liveaboard.  These Hanifaru Bay safari ships are more akin to super cruisers that you might see sailing the Caribbean or the French Riviera and offer a level of luxury for your Hanifaru accommodation that will make your Hanifaru Bay Maldives diving trip a real holiday to remember.

See our Maldives 2011 Summer Specials for Hanifaru Dive Trips

The most commonly asked question about Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atol Maldives is when is the best time to visit Hanifaru rah to be in with the best chances of diving in Hanifaru with manta ray Maldives Hanifaru and whale sharks Hanifaru. Manta ray Hanifaru and whale sharks manta Hanifaru Bay are attracted to the malidiven Hanifaru Bay because of the large amounts of plankton that appear in Hanifaru Bay tauchen at certain times of the year.   The Hanifaru reef Maldives is best visited in the months of July and August each year, when the Hanifaru plankton bloom is most prolific.  Still, a visit on any July or August day to Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives does not guarantee that you will see the amazing feeding frenzy.  That is why we recommend visiting on a Hanifaru Bay liveaboard, so if conditions are not perfect, you can go and enjoy a nearby Hanifaru dive and then return to Hanifaru Island when conditions are improved.  Many people also want to know how long feeding frenzy last Hanifaru, and the answer is that it can vary dramatically, typically the Hanifaru manta ray congregation lasts for around an hour or until the mantas Hanifaru have eaten all the plankton.

Theia 2 Visit Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, Maldives

Theia offers Dive Safaris to Hanifaru Bay

See our Maldives 2011 Summer Specials for Hanifaru Dive Trips

There is a good variety of Hanifaru dive sites to choose from, so while you are waiting to enjoy the real “feeding frenzy”, you can still be exploring the opportunities to dive Hanifaru Maldives.  Very close to where is Hanifaru Maldives, you will find a cleaning station popular with the Hanifaru Maldives manta rays and whale sharks, where you can often see up to 5 manta rays having their gills cleaned out by smaller fish.

Once you have decided to go on Hanifaru holidays, you will not look back.  Travelling to Hanifaru Maldives, for many will be the highlight of a life of diving.  Nowhere else on earth can you find as many manta rays as you will find in the Baa Atol, Hanifaru, and because of a recent move to protect Hanifaru manta rays in the Hanifaru malediven area, it is hoped that diving in Hanifaru Bay will remain one of the most amazing Hanifaru Maldives diving spectacles in the world for many years to come.  So, in short, if you have the opportunity to go to Hanifaru, you should not pass it up!

When looking to reserve your Maldives holidays Hanifaru Bay, you will find a wealth of information on the internet.  Maldives Dive Travel Hanifaru offer a wide selection of Hanifaru Bay trips, including a choice of Hanifaru discovery safaris that typically depart in July and August of each year, which is the Hanifaru best season in terms of diving with manta rays and whale sharks.  On the website, you will find plenty of Hanifaru photos, Hanifaru Maldives map, information about Baa Atoll diving in Hanifaru Bay and about the cost to go to Hanifaru Bay.  Also on the website, you can reserve a maledivy diving Hanifaru adventure on one of many liveaboards in Hanifaru protected marine area and if you’re looking for up-to-date information about Hanifaru Bay – Maldives, you can check out the regularly updated Maldives diving blog Hanifaru.  There are also plenty of resources on Facebook, including a Hanifaru Maldives dive travel Facebook page and a Hanifaru facebook Theia liveaboard page, which allow you to connect directly with other divers and share your personal experiences with other interested travelers as well as finding out about exclusive offers on Hanifaru trips and holidays in Hanifaru Maldives.

See our Maldives 2011 Summer Specials for Hanifaru Dive Trips

If you would like to book a dive safari to the Maldives please check out our diving liveaboards or contact us.

Categories: Baa Atoll, Hanifaru, Maldives Tags:

JUST ANNOUNCED – Amazing Last Minute Baa Atoll Cruise

July 24th, 2010 Comments off

Magnificent Maldives Dive Trip with Whale Shark Biologists!

Unique safari departs August 30th – 14-night trip $2,590 per person (includes fuel surcharge and marine biologist fee)

Upon arrival in the Maldivian capital Male (the most densely populated piece of land on the planet) the crew will meet and transfer you to your home, away from the hustle and bustle of life, for the next two weeks – The Black Pearl. There you’ll meet the rest of your Maldivian crew and the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) marine biologists.

rear view of whale shark maldives 300x225 JUST ANNOUNCED   Amazing Last Minute Baa Atoll Cruise

Whale Shark Research Biologists will be Present on the Cruise

After chilling out and settling in, no time will be wasted in getting you in the water! An orientation dive will take place in North Male before you begin your journey north, through the idyllic coral chain of islands to Baa Atoll.

Reserve your space on this one-of-a-kind cruise today!

During the evening, the MWSRP biologists will formally introduce themselves and deliver a presentation about the organisation’s work and provide a short briefing about animal encounter conduct. The next day your dives will begin! Rasfaree Outside and Voshimas Thila, where grey reef sharks, green and hawksbill turtles and other wonders of the ocean will be awaiting you in the warm crystal clear tropical water. afternoon will bring the channel crossing to Baa Atoll – drawing you ever closer to some of the most extraordinary dive sites in the world.

Maldives Underwater Coral Cliff 199x300 JUST ANNOUNCED   Amazing Last Minute Baa Atoll Cruise

Explore the Stunning Coral Reefs of the Baa Atoll

Gather Incredible Knowledge from Marine Biologists

During evenings onboard the Black Pearl, the marine biologists will discuss with you the importance of the precious ecosystem through interactive presentations and conversations. You will also be given the opportunity to become involved in the research – taking photographs, monitoring behaviour and distuinguishing features, measuring animals (where possible), sexing, logging GPS coordinates, etc – and recording all of the data in one of the most comprehensive whale shark databases in the world. You’ll be introduced to and given the chance to use I3S, the spot pattern recognition software, originally developed by NASA and used to identify whale sharks and manta rays through their unique spot patterns. The biologists will be with you 24/7 giving you every opportunity to gain answers to those questions you have always wanted to ask.

 JUST ANNOUNCED   Amazing Last Minute Baa Atoll Cruise

The Black Pearl is the Perfect Liveaboard for a Dive Safari in the Maldives

Reserve your space on this one-of-a-kind cruise today!

Your dive locations will vary depending on wind and weather conditions. Please see the list of sites below for the scheduled dive sites. However, nothing is set in stone. If you particularly like a certain spot we may stay for another dive… or two.

Experience the Magic of Hanifaru Bay!

For example, Hanifaru! The lagoon is a natural phenomenon where you will almost certainly want to stay. Arrival will be scheduled for the best tide times to ensure the best chance of witnessing the manta ray feeding frenzy at is climax.

Dive Sites: Anga Faru, Dhigali Haa, Rangali Faru, 12.5 Thila, Maavaru Kandu, Muthaafushi House Reef (Night Dive ), Dharavandhoo thila, Milaidhoo Outside, Blue hole, Dhe Gaa Thila, Neli Varu, Don Fan thila, Blue Hole, Cake, Outside Reef, Udoodhoo West, Ranfaru, Hurualhi Corner, Kihaa Rock, Vadhoo Corner, Kihaadhoo Thila, Aidhoo Channel, Iru caves,…

Maldives Underwater Photos Grey Reef Sharks 300x208 JUST ANNOUNCED   Amazing Last Minute Baa Atoll Cruise

Dive with Grey Reef Sharks in the Baa Atoll

Day 13: Unfortunately, is the beginning of the end of your experience with the Black Pearl crew and MWSRP. The channel crossing voyage will begin… but don’t worry! You’ll sneak one last dive in at Lankan Manta point, where chances are you’ll get one last ‘manta ray fix’ before departing the incredible environment of the Republic of Maldives.

Reserve your space on this one-of-a-kind cruise today!

Day 14: Your crew will transfer you to Male airport for your departure where you can dream of your unforgettable experience over the past two-week experience.