Words & Photos by Nicholas Janzen www.nicholasjanzen.com
You’re reading this blog for one of two reasons – you’ve either visited Sal Salis (or one of the Wild Bush Luxury wilderness retreats around Australia) or you’re on the lookout for an exceptional holiday experience and have it listed in the ‘options’ category.
For those of you who’ve visited, congratulations on a great choice of holiday. You, like me, now understand what an amazing and unique travel experience Wild Bush Luxury offers. Needless to say you have some memories that, without doubt, will last a lifetime.
As a freelance journalist, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to most parts of the world for business (and, sometimes, pleasure). I’ve stayed at a range of places – from the poshest of palaces to the dirtiest of dungeons – and I believe I’ve a decent idea of what constitutes an amazing travel adventure. I can honestly say (and no, I’m not paid to write this!) no place truly compares to spectacular Sal Salis, nestled on the shores of Ningaloo Reef.
An exclusive safari-style camp hidden in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park, Sal Salis is paradise for nature-loving adventurists. The appeal of the region is unquestionable – the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is one of Earth’s last ocean paradises. Here you can take a dive with hundreds of tropical fish, colourful coral and the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark. Ningaloo is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world and unlike many other famous reef systems, you can get to it just by stepping off the beach – and the reef is just five metres from shore at Sal Salis!
Nothing can compare to Ningaloo’s great attraction – the thrill of swimming beside a whale shark. These big, friendly giants visit the reef each year between April and June. Each day during my stay busloads of tourists return to camp glowing after paddling alongside the “awesome” behemoth of the ocean. I, however, wasn’t there to swim with fish… I was there to fish!
Ningaloo Reef is one of the most fertile fishing grounds in the world. In my three days’ angling at Ningaloo, I was blown away by the sheer numbers of fish we landed – and the variety of species we caught. Ningaloo, in my opinion at least, is probably the best open-ocean fishery in the world. Whatever you dream of catching, from marlin and tuna to giant trevally and everything in between, there’s a great chance to do it at Ningaloo. If you’re headed there, prepare for world-class fishing… and with very few neighbouring boats! And when you’ve had enough of fishing from Sal Salis’ well-equipped vessel, try your hand at some fly fishing for bonefish – if you’re a keen angler, targeting these line-tearing speedsters is something you need to try before you die.
For me though, the best part of my experience wasn’t the fishing – it was the entire experience. Sal Salis offers an eco experience like few other destinations around the world. The supremely comfortable accommodation sans the TV, minibar and telephone, exposes you to the sights and sounds outside your luxury tent – kangaroos graze amongst the dunes; birds bellow beautiful songs; humpbacks breach just beyond the reef. As part of its commitment to nature, Sal Salis abides by strict principles of minimal impact and sustainability to operate in the fragile surrounds of the Cape Range National Park – all power is solar generated, each en suite bathroom has a state-of-the-art composting loo, and water usage is very carefully managed.
The main camp, where beaut brekkies, lush lunches and delicious dinners are served, is raised above the sand and coastal scrub with views out to the reef and breakers beyond. It’s the perfect place for a reflective sundowner after a day to remember – whether you were swimming with whale sharks, snorkelling with the sealife or fighting a fish of a lifetime.
Whatever adventure your heart desires, do yourself a favour this lifetime – head to Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef and go wild. Get your hands dirty, your feet wet and immerse yourself in one of the world’s last-remaining untouched natural wonders. Nothing compares.
– Nicholas Janzen