You’ve probably heard about the Big Five animals when it comes to safari in Africa — the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo. But have you heard about the Marine Big Five?

Africa’s oceans have been dubbed “the Serengeti of the Seas,” so it makes sense that there is a unique list of the Big Five that you’ll see on a marine safari.

So, which five marine animals made the Marine Big Five list?

1. Whales

The Southern Right Whale is one of the marine big five animals

The Southern Right Whale is really the star of the show, but the waters off the coast of Africa are also home to humpback whales, Bryde’s whales, minke whales, blue whales, sperm whales, orcas and more. In South Africa, you can even go whale watching without even leaving shore, as Southern Right Whales make their way within easy sight of land.

2. Seals

The South African Fur Seal is one of the marine big five animals

The South African Fur Seal is known for being playful and fun to watch, and spotting these large and lumbering (on land) yet graceful (in the water) creatures is a true delight. They are found only along the shores of South Africa and Namibia.

3. Penguins

The African Penguin is one of the marine big five animals

The African Penguin is one of the most adorable of the Marine Big Five. Boulders Beach, not far from Cape Town, is well-known as a spot to find these waddling endangered creatures. You’ll also find them at Betty’s Bay, east of Cape Town, which is an excellent spot to stop if you’re heading on to Hermanus.

4. Dolphins

The Bottlenose Dolphin is one of the marine big five animals

Most commonly sighted is the Bottlenose Dolphin, which is usually found in pods of 5-15. These playful creatures like to surf alongside boats as they cruise the waters, so you’re likely to get a good look and a good laugh at their antics.

5. Sharks

The Great White Shark is one of the marine big five animals

Great White Sharks are among the most feared and misunderstood creatures in the world, and they make their home in the waters of Simons Town and Gansbaai. And, if you’re after a thrill, these towns offer some of the best shark cage diving in the world.

So, how many of the Marine Big Five have you gotten up close and personal with?

If you’re dreaming of combining the thrill of a land safari with the excitement of a marine safari, we can absolutely make that happen! Reach out today and we’ll help you get started planning! Just email us at or call us at 1.800.940.9344.

We can’t wait to show you our Africa!

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