As part of our Classic Namibia Safari, we visit the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, breeding place of over 200,000 Cape Fur Seals. This is a protected area owned by the government of Namibia and also a National Heritage Site.
The Cape Fur Seals are so-named for their thick soft pelt, which is protected by a layer of longer, harder hair.
It’s a fascinating species and in their way, really beautiful.
A few quick facts: The male seals can weigh up to 350kg (770 lbs) and are very territorial whilst looking after their harem of 5 to 25 females. Cow seals are a lot smaller than bulls, they only weigh up to 80kg (176lbs). Most youngsters are born in November / December and they weigh about 4.5 to 7kg (10 to 15 lbs).
The youngsters’ fur is pitch black and they start sucking on their mother immediately. Youngsters start feeding on fish when they are about 4 to 5 months old. The seals are traditionally most fond of pilchards and anchovies, but since the numbers of these fish have been dwindling, mostly due to overfishing, seals have had to look for alternative sources of food. Fortunately, they are rather opportunistic and highly adaptable, happily snacking on anything from crayfish and shrimps to seagulls and even penguins.
There is a 200m long walkway, constructed of recycled plastic suitable for wheelchairs from where you can view the seals. Other facilities include information points, toilets, campsites and a picnic spot.