• Swim with and photograph the incredible whale shark in pristine, virtually empty seas • Snorkel untouched coral reefs • Enjoy an incredible, unique culture and cuisine • Swim with biggest fish in the world - and still be home for Christmas!


Be one of only six guests to join Picture Adventure Expeditions as we swim with gigantic whale sharks off the coast of exotic, fascinating Djibouti. Still off the beaten track, Djibouti is the best place in the world for reliable whale shark encounters, in clear waters – without the crowds.

No experience necessary – as long as you are a confident swimmer, you are ready.

Patrick Dykstra and Joshua Barton of Picture Adventure have photographed and filmed for the BBC, National Geographic, Emirates Airlines, the Government of Djibouti and many others. In 2015 they filmed, for the first time ever, a blue whale suckling from its mother, and their work has appeared in documentaries, on magazine covers and in awards shows around the world. Both know Djibouti, its waters and its whale sharks well. Our goal is to take you to the best area for whale sharks, show you the best way to get great encounters, and get pictures of a lifetime of you with these gentle giants.

The Location

Djibouti is a tiny, peaceful republic at the mouth of the Red Sea. Named one of the hottest destinations in 2015 by multiple outlets, including the UK’s Telegraph travel section, Djibouti is extremely safe. Due to its very strategic location Djibouti is home to US, French and Chinese military bases. This has not only helped promote stability, but the protection of the waters surrounding Djibouti has also helped conserve its whale sharks.

The Adventure

Each morning, our team will fuel up on a grand buffet breakfast and depart from our hotel to head west by boat into the Gulf of Tadjoura, where we find our whale sharks feasting on spawning crabs – which is what brings them each winter. The water is almost always clear and tranquil – with the occasional bumpy ride back against the afternoon winds.

After several hours of swimming with whale sharks, we will head towards a portion of Djibouti’s hundreds of miles of untouched coral reefs. We will have a boxed lunch and swim the reefs to find rays, moray eels, batfish, and hundreds of other species – in blissful solitude

If time permits and guests wish, we will spend one of the days visiting an animal rescue center, or Lac Assal, a giant saline lake at the far western end of the Gulf. Side trips have a small additional expense.

The Hotel

The Kempinski Djibouti is the country’s finest hotel. With luxurious rooms, multiple bars and pools, myriad amenities, outstanding food, and beautifully landscaped grounds, your daily adventure to the stark and alien Horn of Africa will be balanced by a stay in true comfort.

The Whale Shark

The whale shark is the world’s largest shark, the largest fish – and even the largest non-cetacean creature on earth. Their average size is 30 feet, with a weight of 9 tons. Whale sharks are filter feeders – which not only makes them docile, but also slow and gentle surface swimmers. As long as you swim calmly and do not touch them, you can spend hours close to these incredible giants.


Djibouti in December is mild: 85F in the day, 75F at night. For the land: bring light clothes, a light fleece jacket or summer sweater, and comfortable shoes. For the sea: board shorts are recommended (for men and women), a rash guard, snorkel+mask, long fins (freediver/spearfisher fins preferred), sunscreen, a good hat, and sunglasses. The sea temperature is very warm.

Picture Adventure Expeditions

Picture Adventure hosts a very small number of guests on bold “expeditions of a lifetime”. Each Picture Adventure expedition is highly customized and often requires working in close partnership with top researchers to ensure that we are on the vanguard of what the natural world has to offer.


First Departure

Dec 09-13, 2019

Second Departure

Dec 13-17, 2019

Third Departure

Dec 17-21, 2019

Cost USD 5050 + 700 Single Supplement

Duration 5 days, 4 nights (3 days swimming)

Max. No. of Guests 6

Registration Deposit of 50% (required to hold your space; full payment due 90 days before departure)

Included Activities Swimming with whale sharks, snorkeling pristine coral reefs, fun dinners out for Ethiopian and Somali food, 1 day trip to Lac Assal (optional)

Excluded Airfare to Djibouti, extra room charges, alcohol, dinners, optional side trips. Price includes all transfers within the country, 5 Star accommodation (shared basis), boat, professional photography and instruction, all snorkeling, buffet breakfasts and lunches (basic meals on boat).

Notes Mild weather: between 75-85 F; very low chance of rain