Qatar boasts a captivating array of marine life, nestled within its shimmering coastal waters. This enchanting peninsula is teeming with numerous aquatic species, including the magnificent and endangered whale sharks.
For years, whale sharks have graced Qatar’s waters with their awe-inspiring presence. The nation cherishes these gentle ocean behemoths, carefully tracking and monitoring their movements throughout the changing seasons.
Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the largest known species of fish in the world. They are slow-moving, filter-feeding sharks belonging to the order Orectolobiformes. Despite their massive size, they are gentle and pose no threat to humans. They can grow up to 40 feet (12 metres) in length, although some individuals have been reported to be even larger.
Whale sharks are characterized by their broad, flat heads, distinctive patterns of light spots and stripes on their dark skin, and wide mouths that can open up to 5 feet (1.5 metres) wide. Their mouths contain thousands of tiny teeth, but they do not use these teeth for feeding. Instead, they feed by filtering water through their gills to capture plankton, krill, small fish, and other microscopic organisms.
Whale sharks are migratory creatures and can be found in warm, tropical waters around the world, including the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. They are known for their curiosity and often swim close to divers and snorkelers, making them popular subjects for ecotourism activities like snorkeling and diving. Although whale sharks are listed as an endangered species, ongoing conservation efforts aim to protect their population and habitats.
Whale sharks in Qatar
Qatar has been investing in ecotourism, and whale shark watching is one of the popular activities offered along its coastline. The best time to spot whale sharks in Qatar is from April to November, with the peak season being from June to September.
Whale sharks can be found along Qatar’s coastline, particularly in the waters around the northern regions of the country. One of the popular areas to spot whale sharks is near the Al Shaheen Oil Field, located about 50 miles (80 kilometres) off the northeastern coast of Qatar. This area is known for its abundant marine life, and whale sharks are attracted to the region due to the high concentration of plankton and other food sources.
Whale sharks guided tours in Qatar
Several tour operators offer guided whale shark tours, which typically involve a boat trip to areas where these gentle giants are known to congregate. It’s important to choose a reputable tour operator that follows ethical guidelines and prioritises the safety and well-being of both the tourists and the whale sharks.
A selection of highly regarded guided tours can be found below.
Qatar Airways Holidays provides a comprehensive whale shark tour package in Qatar, including return flights with Qatar Airways, accommodation in one of Qatar’s splendid hotels, and more exciting features!
Schedule: 18 May 2023 to 31 August 2023
Tour Time: 06:00 – 14:00
Frequency: Thursday, Saturday, Sunday | Duration: 8 hours
Price: depends on the booking schedule. Children under the age of 12 receive a discount of 50%.
Schedule: 18 May to 31 August 2023
Time: 06:00 – 14:00
Frequency: Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday | Duration: 8 hours
- Adults (12 and above): From QR 907
- Kids (3 to 11 years old): receive a discount of 50%
- Infants (0 to 2 years old): free
Schedule: 18 May to 31 August
Tour Time: 05:00 – 16:00
Frequency: On Request | Duration: 11 hours
Price: QAR 118,300 per charter (USD 32,500)
Whale Sharks of Qatar 2023 booking is live. Reserve your spot now and create memories that will last a lifetime!