We’ve all heard of the term, Africa’s ‘Big 5’ – Lions, Water Buffalo, Leopards, Elephants and Rhino.
Many might not know however, that its origins have gut-wrenching roots. The term was originally coined by big game hunters who considered these African mammals as the most dangerous and most challenging to hunt, making them a trophies in the sport. Most of this group are currently listed as vulnerable or endangered and although there are now strict laws in place to protect them, hunting is still allowed to some degree and poaching continues to be a concern.
The term nowadays, to good/moral people like us, now depicts a more cheery demeanour. It’s used by safari tour operators referring to the wish lists of holiday makers and avid nature photographers visiting Africa. The Big five + one, the mountain gorilla, makes Africa’s BIG Six… I think you can see what I’m proposing here!?
During the months of July to November nature seekers and Salty Swimmers can join these gentle giants in the warm shallow water of the Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia and the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. They’re massive in size, growing up to 16 meters and weighing up to 40 tonnes, yet they are very soft by nature. They are known for being very curious at times, coming up close to swimmers for a better look, diving down below to show off with a graceful dance. Witnessing a mother teaching her calf how to be a whale, a family unit swimming together or listening to them communicate through song is an incredibly heart-warming experience.
CLICK HERE to explore Humpback Whale tours in Australia
Through the months of March to August, the Ningaloo Reef region of Western Australia is buzzing for this annual visitor. It’s the highlight of their year and wildlife-swim specialists provide you with the opportunity to join them in the water. They are truly impressive in size and on average grow up to 12 meters in length, making them the largest fish in the ocean. Their unique pattern and ‘sharky’ movement make them mesmerizing to watch and they often swim close to the surface, making them ideal for witnessing by snorkel and mask. Be sure to book in-advance as they are one of the most popular buck-list marine creatures and tours fill up fast. You’ll be left in awe!
CLICK HERE to explore Whale Shark tours in Australia
This is a true adrenaline pumping and thrill-seeking experience of epic proportions! Head to Port Lincoln, South Australia where tours run YEAR ROUND. White sharks can grow up to 6.5 meters in length and weigh over a tonne, making them a breath-taking sight under the water. Unfortunately, you can’t swim freely with them but there is a tour operator that offers a cage dive and uses music to bring you close to this apex predator. If you would rather stay dry, they’ve also pioneered the world’s first Aqua Sub which provides 360-degree views under the vessel. This has got to be one of the most impressive marine animals you can witness in the wild and one not to miss!
CLICK HERE to explore White Shark tour in Australia
Planning your travels and wish to experience Australia’s Big Six on one road trip?! Here’s what we suggest:
1. Start your journey in May
New South Wales/ Victoria/ South Australia region provides the opportunity to experience Dolphins and Seals and during this time of the year, the waters a little warmer too.
2. Mid-way through your trip – June
It’s time to experience the peak of your adrenaline and witness White Sharks. It’s during this time of the year that they are more frequently sighted in the waters off Port Lincoln, South Australia providing you with the best chance for sighting them.
3. Finishing your journey in July
Witness the largest of Australia’s Big Six in Coral Bay & Exmouth in Western Australia – Witness the giants of this group, Humpback Whales, Whale Sharks and Manta Rays!
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