Whale Shark Season in Kenya is Back

News has come in from Diani that the first ‘Papa Shillingi’, as the whale sharks are known locally, translating as shark covered in shillings, was sighted off the Diani beach.

There is a local legend that God was so pleased when he created this beautiful fish, that he gave his angels handfuls of gold and silver coins to throw down from heaven onto its back. It goes that whale sharks have their magical markings and swim near the surface, catching the sun on their backs, as a way of saying thank you to their maker.

Whale sharks have called Kenyan waters home for many years; the increase in whale sharks along the Kenyan coast has meant that they have become more of a target. Under international law, whale sharks are only given a secondary type of protection. They are listed under CITES Appendix II meaning that trade in whale sharks is allowed but must be monitored.

Therefore many whale sharks projects have been started with the aim of raising awareness so that the level of protection afforded to whale sharks is increased. One such venture is carried out by The East Africa Whale Shark Trust (EAWST) which aims to conduct tagging expeditions which are hugely important for scientific work as the migration pattern of these fish can then be traced. This year’s tagging expeditions are due to commence from 20th February to 15th March, 2014.

Visitors staying at the beach resorts along the south coast of Kenya (Diani beach in particular) can join in on daily whale shark safaris lasting 4 hours. This one of a kind expedition is simply one you can’t afford to miss. Whale sharks are mostly seen on the surface hence divers and snorkelers can swim with this gentle, curious creature while watching the research teams go through the delicate tagging process.

For information on booking whale shark excursions in Kenya, please contact Lilian - safaris@thesafaricoltd.com.