Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is a coastal eco-retreat offering barefoot luxury and simplicity right on Ningaloo Reef – Australia’s newest World Heritage Area. The exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park and just metres from the water’s edge which is renowned for its 280km-long fringing reef and as the best place in the world to swim with whale sharks and manta rays.
Sal Salis accommodation and hosting style exudes ‘Wild Bush Luxury’ and Sal Salis guides deliver an extraordinary insight to one of Australia’s best kept natural secrets – Ningaloo Reef. Sal Salis’s ecological principles also ensure that your stay generates a minimal environmental footprint.
Accommodation at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
|Note: 2 Night Minimum Stay
Nine individual, luxury 'glamping' wilderness tents are uniquely situated in the heart of the Cape Range National Park, sheltered among the sand dunes on a deserted stretch of beach where the magnificent corals of the Ningaloo Reef - considered comparable or superior in colour, quantity and condition to those of the Great Barrier Reef - are metres from shore. Privacy is assured by the location, but isolation doesn’t preclude creature comforts.
In keeping with our philosophy of ‘Wild Bush Luxury’, the focus of your stay at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is the wilderness around you and its marine and land inhabitants. Your accommodation is designed to expose you to the sights and sounds outside your tent ... a Red Kangaroo grazing amongst the dunes, the beautiful song of a Butcherbird or a Humpback Whale breaching just beyond the reef.
However, we also appreciate that while an exclusive bush experience does not need to be 5 star in the traditional sense, there are a few key comforts that are crucial. At Sal Salis you can expect to be spoilt with a supremely comfortable bed, 100% cotton linen (500 threadcount), a wide choice of pillows, luxuriously soft bath towels, a private ensuite bathroom, gourmet mouth watering delicious food, a great wine selection and great hosting.
The main camp building is raised above the sand and coastal scrub with views out to the reef and breakers beyond. Native herb soaps and ecologically sound shampoos are provided. While not rated as five star, the tents are spacious and naturally comfortable, boasting the tranquil peace and quiet of life in the bush without television, telephones, minibars or other modern appliances.
Dinner is hosted against a back-drop of rich orange sunsets over the Indian Ocean and in the cool of the evening kangaroos and wallaroos appear from the bush for their evening graze. A bar and open lounge area with a small reference library provides a great spot to sit out the heat of day or enjoy a quiet sundowner. Our chef provides contemporary Australian cuisine with hints of bush tucker and native produce.
Guests may help themselves to the self-service bar at any time, with the most difficult decision being whether to choose an award winning Margaret River white, a long cool gin and tonic, an ice cold beer or a soft drink.
The camp has been designed to operate in tune with the fragile environment of Cape Range National Park and as such we abide by strict principles of minimal impact and sustainability. All of our power is solar generated, each en suite bathroom has a natureloo (composting loos), water usage is very carefully managed and no waste material escapes into the surrounding ecosystem.
Inclusions at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
A maximum of 3 guests are permitted in each wilderness tent. The children or third adult sharing will have ‘swag’ bedding. There is one Family Wilderness Tent which can accommodate 2 adults and 2 children.
Family Policy - The camp is not suitable for children under the age of five years as we do not have the staff or facilities to genuinely look after them.
Activities at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
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. Our aim is to inspire and provoke thought in the activities we deliver and to increase awareness of the dangers that may impact on this wildly beautiful and pristine place.
Sea Kayaking - Kayaks are the perfect vessel for exploring the reef with minimal interference to the ecosystem. Travel by kayak to some snorkel spots further off shore where we drop an anchor in the sand to snorkel.
Snorkelling - A drift snorkel just a few metres offshore reveals a wealth of life, with huge staghorn coral formations, anemones, Clownfish, rays and sponge gardens. All snorkelling gear is provided.
Wildlife Viewing - Red Kangaroos, wallaroos, rock wallabies and Gould’s Goannas are resident in the park while the birdlife includes Pied Butcherbirds, Fairy Wrens, Kestrels, Zebra Finches, Reef Herons, waders, seabirds and the occasional Emu that strolls through camp.
Guided Gorge Walks - Two kilometres behind the camp, a walk up Mandu Mandu gorge is a step back in geological history with fossil bearing limestone formations and spectacular views back to the coast. The history of 30,000 years of human habitation in this area is slowly unfolding from studies of artefacts, middens and rock shelters.
Fishing (additional cost) - With the continental shelf being only a few kilometres offshore Ningaloo Reef is a spectacular and diverse fishing destination. Sal Salis operates exclusive fishing charters which includes the use of top-of-the-range rods and reels and the services of their professional skipper and deckhand on their 8.8 metre Leisure Cat. Their fishing charter can take up to four anglers and offers one of the most exclusive fishing charters in the area. Also, just a short distance from the camp and outside the National park, the coastal shallows provide the best place in Australia for bone fishing.
Whale Shark charters (additional cost) - April to July is the season to swim with the Whale Sharks as they migrate through these waters. Sal Salis offer exclusive Whale Shark Charters to guests as part of the Whale Shark Packages.
Yardie Creek - Take a guided cruise or walk through this spectacular multi-coloured gorge in search of Black-footed Rock Wallabies. Yardie is the only gorge in the area with permanent water and its mangrove areas provide roosting sites for many bird species while the sheltered waters are a sanctuary for marine animals.
Star Gazing - Lie back on the beach and gaze at the Milky Way stretching from one horizon to the other.
Life on Ningaloo Reef
Whale sharks are found in all tropical and warm temperate seas except the Mediterranean. They are known to inhabit both deep and shallow coastal waters and the lagoons of coral atolls and reefs. April to June is the season to swim with the Whale Sharks as they migrate through the Exmouth and Ningaloo waters. We can arrange for you to swim with the Whale Sharks from onboard a boat charter operated from Exmouth.
Humpback Whales and other Cetaceans - The Ningaloo area plays host to six species of toothed whales and, usually in the deeper waters, eight species of baleen whales. Five of the eight species of baleen whales found in the region are listed as rare or likely to become extinct. Humpback, Minke, Blue and occasionally Killer whales are all seen in the area around Ningaloo Reef.
Humpback whales visit the Ningaloo Reef between July to November each year migrating twice annually through the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park into the Exmouth Gulf. The first visit occurs in autumn during their northern migration, and they return in their southern migration each Dolphins are also found in the Ningaloo Marine Park, the majority are bottlenose dolphins but the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin has also been sighted in the area.
Turtles - There are four turtle species found at Ningaloo, the loggerhead, green, hawkesbill and flatback turtles. The loggerhead and the green turtles are particularly endangered species. Turtles feed on molluscs, crustaceans, fish, jelly-fish and other small to medium-size marine animals, all of which are plentiful on at Ningaloo. Areas of the Ningaloo coast are known breeding grounds for loggerhead and hawkesbill turtles. As turtles are marine reptiles that come to shore only to lay their eggs, they are very sensitive to changes to the coastal environment.
Dugongs - The dugong is one of four living species of the order Sirenia and the only sirenian to span the waters of at least 37 countries throughout the Indo-Pacific. Like all modern sirenians, the dugong has no dorsal fin or hindlimbs, instead it uses its paddle-like forelimbs to manoeuvre itself. Despite being legally protected in many countries the main causes of population decline remain hunting, habitat degradation, and fishing-related fatalities. Australia provides one of the last strongholds for the worldwide dugong population and Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth Gulf support a significant dugong population of approximately 2000 individuals.
Manta Rays - (manta birostris) is the only species of its genus. It can grow up to 4.8 metres in length and 6.8 metres across with a weight of up to 2000 kg. Its food is mainly plankton, shrimp and small fish ingested by filtering with its gills. Manta rays bear live young of more than 5 kg and 1.2 m across, there is no regular breeding season. Little more is known about these spectacular animals and only a small number of scientific studies have been conducted on this species. Almost nothing is known about their population ecology, use of critical habitats, movements or reproduction.
Damselfish (Pomacentridae) - Brightly coloured small fish – some species hide in the coral, others form into large plankton-eating schools and still others cultivate a patch of algae, which they guard zealously. They have even been known to "attack" divers and snorkellers.
Wrassses (Labridae) - Another group of colourful fish that have an almost birdlike way of swimming, interestingly most wrasses are capable of female to male sex change.
Butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) and Angelfish (Pomacanthidae) - Exquisite colour patterns and a graceful appearance are the hallmarks of Butterfly and Angel fish. They feed on live coral and are often seen in pairs as they form permanent life time bonds.
Cardinalfish (Apogonidae) - Seen mainly at night when they feed on small shrimps and crabs. Males incubate the female's egg masses in their mouth, every so often spitting them out to aerate them and then slurping them back in again.
Groupers and Basslets (Serrnidae) - Some of the largest reef fishes, the Potato cod is always a favourite with divers as they are very large, have unusual markings and are very friendly. They can grow up to 100 kgs and the average adult is 1.5mtrs in length.
Sal Salis Location
North West Cape, Via Exmouth, Western Australia
Getting to Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
Located on the North West Cape, Sal Salis is an hour’s drive (70 kms) south of Exmouth, in the Cape Range National Park. Two kilometres behind the camp lies the limestone range of the Cape Range National Park, dissected by spectacular gorges.
From Perth: 1,270 kms
Skywest Airlines operate a twice daily service between Perth and Exmouth.
Qantas offer a daily service (excluding Sunday) between Perth and Exmouth with good connections from Australian capital cities.
Road transfers from Exmouth Airport are available (for an additional charge) and should be pre-booked. Transfers are not available during dusk/dawn/night hours.
Guests can self-drive to the camp; from Perth it will take as much as 13 hours, from Exmouth Airport the drive is less than 2 hours and from Exmouth town it is about one hour.
Driving at dusk is not recommended because of the large amount of wildlife in the National Park.
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