Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park.
Sixteen spacious, innovative and charming wilderness tents metres from the water’s edge and the world’s greatest fringing coastal coral reef. A snorkel among the coral before breakfast? Why not… Sal Salis accommodation and hosting style is a careful blend of barefoot luxury, warm hospitality and appreciation for the Australian environment. Sal Salis guides deliver extraordinary insights into one of the nation’s best kept natural secrets, Ningaloo Reef, as well as the little-explored Cape Range with its haunting chasms and gorges. The beachside coral gardens are home to a colourful variety of marine life all year, but from April to July, you can arrange off-shore encounters with the fabled whale sharks or migrating humpback whales (July to October). Alternatively, you can just lie back in your deck hammock and watch the whales as they puff and breach on the far horizons. At the centre of the camp is the open-fronted main building, your place to relax, dine and learn about the remarkable environment. At the top of a dune at the rear you’ll find a timber deck elevated to best savour the sunset – always complemented by canapés and champagne.
It’s weird being able to hop into the world of Jacque Cousteau whenever you like, but that’s what I did. And every time, the species queued up to swim past my nose in waters that were calm, clear and warm. – Sunday Times (UK)
Exmouth on the Northwest Cape is an interesting, friendly outpost of 2500 people. It is considered as the gateway to Ningaloo Reef, a stunning marine park made famous for swimming with whale sharks. Other attractions include the little-visited Cape Range National Park, home to amazing red rock canyons and gorges. The giant communications base (designed to communicate with deep-water submarines) is one of the more unusual things you’ll see in the world!
Ningaloo Reef is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world and has gained a reputation as one of Earth’s last ocean paradises. Unlike many reefs, you can reach it just by stepping off the beach.
Encompassing a massive 5,000 square kilometres of ocean, it’s home to 500 species of tropical fish and 220 species of coral. Its most famous seasonal visitors are the whale sharks (docile, mysterious fish growing up to 18m long that visit the reef between April and June), rare turtle species (hatching in late January and February) and migrating humpback whales (June to November). In season, a whole range of eco-certified tour operators are available to see all this activity up close.
Ningaloo Reef is one of Australia’s great marine experiences, while the limestone hinterland of the Cape Range hides deep gorges of spectacular beauty.
The coral reef is literally on your doorstep and Sal Salis guides enjoy nothing more than sharing their knowledge and passion for their backyard – home to 500 species of fish, 250 coral species and 600 species of mollusc.
Ningaloo is known as one of the best places on earth to see and swim with whale sharks and manta rays. It is also a major breeding area for Hawksbill, Green and Loggerhead turtles, which are seen daily in front of the camp.
Activities include: Sea kayaking Snorkelling Wildlife viewing Guided gorge walks Stargazing (and lying on the beach to gaze at the Milky Way)
The main camp building is raised above the sand and coastal scrub with views out to the reef and breakers beyond. Dinner is hosted against a back-drop of rich orange sunsets over the Indian Ocean and the sight of kangaroos and wallaroos appearing from the bush for their evening graze.
The chef provides contemporary Australian cuisine with hints of bush food and native produce; guests may help themselves to the self-service bar at any time.
Your accommodation is designed to expose you to the sights and sounds outside your tent – a kangaroo grazing amongst the dunes, the beautiful song of a butcherbird or a humpback whale breaching just beyond the reef.
The tent structures are timber underfoot, spacious and naturally comfortable. Guests appreciate that an exclusive bush experience does not need to be 5-star in the traditional sense, so there are no TVs, telephones, minibars or other modern appliances. But it’s the few key comforts that make the experience so special – like the supremely comfortable bed, 100% cotton linen (500 threadcount), a choice of pillows, soft bathtowels, an ensuite bathroom, delicious food and great hosting.
All power is solar generated and each ensuite bathroom has a natureloo (marketing jargon for a state-of-the-art composting loo!). Water usage is very carefully managed and no waste material escapes into the surrounding ecosystem. Native herb soaps and ecologically sound shampoos are provided.
Nearest major City/Town City – Perth Town – Exmouth
Air Access Skywest Airlines operates a twice-daily service between Perth and Exmouth and a weekly service (on Sundays) between Broome and Exmouth. Road transfers are available from Exmouth Airport which is less than two hours’ drive.
Road access Guests can self-drive to the camp: from Perth it will take as much as 13 hours (1270km); from Exmouth Airport the drive is less than two hours and from Exmouth town it is about an hour.