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A “smelly” encounter

“More seals breed at Cape Cross than anywhere else in the world” says Job Kamati, ranger at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve.

It sure feels extra special to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of funny-looking yet “extremely smelly” creatures! 🙂

Cape Cross Seal Video

Where is the Cape Cross Seal Colony Located?

The Cape Cross Seal Reserve lies on Namibia’s skeleton coast (West Coast National Park region), close to the cities of Henties Bay and Swakopmund.

A Bit of History…

Cape Cross was first visited in 1486 when Diego Cao, a famous Portuguese sailor, erected a “padrao” (stone cross) and established claim to the territory on this desolate coast.

1884: First sightings of Cape fur seals ever recorded off the coast of Southern Africa.

1895: The first people settle at Cape Cross to extract “guano”, fish-eating birds’ waste used as fertilizer.

When was Cape Cross Seal Reserve Established?

The seal reserve was proclaimed in 1968 and is 60 square kilometers in size.

Cape Cross Seal Facts

Species: Cape fur seal. It is the largest of the nine fur-seal species.

Scientific Name: Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus.

Size: Males up to 2.2 m; females up to 1.6 m.

Weight: Males weigh between 200 and 300 kg; females average 60-70 kg.

Diet: Fish (maasbanker, pilchard, hake and Cape mackerel), squid and cuttlefish from the nutrient-rich waters of the Benguela Current.

Natural Predators: Preyed upon by sharks and killer whales at sea and by jackals and brown hyenas on the mainland.

Population: Cape Cross has a seal population of up to 210 000 individuals, which makes it the largest breeding colony of Cape fur seals in the world.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Cape Cross?

In November and December, during the breeding season.

Hours

Open daily from 08:00–17:00 (16 November– 30 June) and 10:00–17:00 (1 July–15 November).

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