Djibouti Whale Shark Research Expedition December 2020

Sundive Expeditions in collaboration with the Djibouti Whale Shark Project and the Shark Research Institute are excited to offer an amazing whale shark research trip to the Gulf of Tadjoura in Djibouti



Join Sundive’s marine biologist and whale shark researcher Dr David Robinson and, renowned underwater photographer Simone Caprodossi for a week-long trip to the Gulf of Tadjoura in Djibouti.

In the boreal winter months, Djibouti is host to an aggregation of juvenile whale sharks that come to Djiboutian waters to feed. This aggregation is made up of mainly juvenile male sharks and has the smallest average size of any whale shark aggregation site throughout the world.

There will be a group size of twelve which is very comfortable on the lovely Turkish Schooner named ‘Deli’. The trip includes daily diving on the various beautiful reefs along Djibouti’s coastline and, of course, whale shark trips throughout the day.

The goal of the research is to collect identifying photos of the whale sharks so that the research team can use them to track the shark’s movements and investigate residency. There may also be a chance to get involved with satellite tagging of the sharks, if tags become available.


Djibouti is a safe country but, it is a young African country and the trip can be quite adventurous; it is not a luxury trip and is not for the faint hearted. We have been running trips to Djibouti for over a decade and each year brings new challenges, but, every year has been enjoyable. Whale sharks are wild animals and they come to Djibouti to feed; if the plankton they feed on is not available then they can be hard to find; sightings are not guaranteed. Saying that, in ten years we have only had one trip with no whale sharks encounters and on a good year, they can number up to one hundred animals! Djibouti is also one of the few places in the world to encounter sharks at night under our specialised light!

Whale shark encounters are done on snorkel, so you don’t have to be a diver to enjoy this trip, however the diving is fantastic so if you do dive, you will have a great time.

Djibouti is sure to be an adventurous and unique trip that you will remember for a lifetime.



Location: Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti
Expedition Date: 28th November – 6th December 2020
Accommodation: The M/Y Deli

Accommodation is done on a sharing basis (2 people per cabin). All cabins are on suite and we will do our best to pair you with similar people. The cabins are small so please keep that in mind with a bunk bed system in most rooms.


  • Yacht’s Name: DELI
  • Length: 26 m
  • Width: 7 m
  • Flag: Djibouti
  • Engine: MAN 280 HP Auxilliary
  • VHF / Radar / GPS: Yes
  • Hull: Wood / Fiber Glass
  • Inside:Mahogany /Teak
  • Boats: 2 x 7 m with 40 HP
  • Water Capacity: 6.000 liters
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.000 liters
  • Masts: 2
  • Double and Twin Cabin: 5
  • Quadruple Cabin: 1
  • Plugs: 220 V
  • Max Divers: 12
  • Diving Cylinders: 30 Alu 12L mono Air Compressor: Bauer Mariner
  • Meals: Continental breakfast, packed lunch on boat, dinners.
  • Equipment: Portable air compressor, 10lt Dive tanks (DIN/INT), Weight belts with 2-7 pound, weights, spare: Regulators, BCD’s, Fins, Masks for rent on site.
  • Boat: EXPLORER 1 – 9M FEREL SEMI RIGID DIVE BOAT, 2 * 140hp 4-stroke Suzuki motors, GPS, Fish finder, Licensed by SAMSA for up to 40 miles offshore. Carries 12 people.


  • 7 days at sea (2 days travel to/from Djibouti city)
  • 7 nights’ accommodation – 1 night on arrival at the Djibouti Sheraton
  • Meals – dinners, boat lunch, continental breakfast
  • Return transfers from Djibouti airport (pickup/drop off)
  • Cylinders, fills and weight belt
  • Experienced dive guide and skipper


  • Airfare
  • Dive insurance/travel insurance
  • Dive gear (can be rented if needed)
  • Soft/Alcoholic drinks (soft drinks and beer can be purchased on the boat)
  • Visa costs

The water temperature will be usually 29 celsius so a light wetsuit is recommended.

Daily itinerary (changes daily with what the sharks are doing)…


Typical example:

  • 7am – Early morning Dive
  • 8:30 am – Breakfast
  • 9-11am – whale shark trip
  • 12 pm – lunch
  • 2pm Afternoon dive
  • 4pm – Whale shark trip
  • 7pm – dinner and Night Sharks!!

Suggested packing list will be provided upon booking.

Visa Information for Djibouti is constantly changing but for Australians it is visa on arrival which costs $25.

Flight suggestions: We fly into Djibouti international airport. Flights can be taken from Dubai, Doha, Paris, Addis Ababa or Istanbul. We advise waiting until after July to book flights when local schedules are released. We will advise the group on the best route possible.




Payment Method:
Credit card or bank transfer
A 50% deposit is required to secure a booking
The balance of payment is due on 10th June 2020.

Cancellation Policy:

  • 120 days or more – 25% payable.
  • 60-120 days – 50% payable.
  • 30-60 days – 75% payable.
  • 30 days or less – 100% payable.