If you are heading to Africa on safari but want the best of the bush and the beach, then let us introduce you to our Marine Big Five for an exceptional add-on to your wildlife itinerary. South Africa is one of the only places in the world that sees such an extensive collection of both land and marine wildlife. For every fearsome and graceful terrestrial animal, there is an aquatic counterpart. While safari conversation tends to focus on our illustrious and iconic lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – the shimmering blanket surrounding the southern tip of Africa will offer you an opportunity to meet and greet the local sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and penguins.
- The Great White Shark
Come within a daring range to the Great White Shark at hotspots such as Seal Island in False Bay, Dyer Island and Geyser Rock.
South Africa’s coastlines boast over ten dolphin species, making it easy to tick them off your list. You can expect to see the Bottlenose Dolphin, the Long-Beaked Dolphin and the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin more frequently and swimming closer to the shore. If you’re heading along the Garden Route, stop in Plettenberg Bay which has plenty of land and ocean viewing options all year round.
- Southern Right Whales
The best time to view whales along South Africa’s coastline is between June and December. During this time they move closer to shore to calve. Follow the whale route from the Garden Route to Cape Agulhas and Cape Town. Although, one of the best places in the world to view them is an hour and a half from Cape Town in Hermanus.
- The Cape Fur Seal
Famous for its luxurious brown coat, these amusing creatures can be seen in various cities in South Africa, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. If viewing them from the side of a boat is too impersonal, dive with seals on at Duiker Island. Geyser Rock is a popular viewing area as well with approximately 60 000 seals. Or head down the West Coast to Kleinzee to find the largest on-land seal population of 350 000 fur babies.
- The African Penguin
With roughly six penguin colonies around the Western Cape, Robben Island is the most well-known and Boulders Beach is by far the most memorable. If admiring the 3000 penguins wobble around isn’t enough, you can take a swim with them too! Boulders Beach promises sightings year round, so you can definitely tick them off your list.
Seeing all five of South Africa’s Marine Big Five in their natural habitat is a privilege few have – including locals. Unlike traditional two hour safaris, you can venture all across the Western Cape viewing these masters and underlings of the ocean. Traverse the Garden Route from Plettenberg Bay all the way down to Cape Town and tick all five off your list. In most cases you can float alongside these comical wildlife or swim with them. For more on some of our exquisite seaside properties – click here.