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Resembling more closely an eagle in flight than a fish swimming, the manta Ray is an incredible slight. These enormous fish ( the largest confirmed specimen had a wingspan measuring 6.7 metres) normally glides just beneath the surface. When good concentrations of plancton are found, they often do continuous 'loop the loops' to stay in the plancton cloud.The Manta uses it's cephalitic wings to guide the plancton towards it's mouth.

Divers often miss seeing our Manta as they they become so engrossed in the coral life that they forget to look up !! Once you do spot them, look carefully and you will see that no two animals have the same colour markings making it easy to identify individuals.

Manta 'riding' is encouraged in certain parts of the world but not in KwaZuluNatal and Mozambique. Contact of human hands removes the protective mucous covering of the Manta's skin resulting in lesions on the animal. Also those 'loop the loops' sometimes have a height of ten or more metres resulting in depth changes rather outside the normal dive tables !!

Stephane Harge's Manta video

Where to see them

Ponta do Ouro All year round but summer (October-May) is best for Manta, Mobula (Devil Rays) and Eagle Rays. Very large specimens are seen on Pinnacles.

Aliwal Shoal  All year round. 2004 saw huge numbers of smaller Mantas.

Sodwana Bay  All year round especially on Bikini Reef.

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