Cape Cross Seal Reserve | Namibia | Wild Safari Guide

    Home to one of the world’s largest seal colonies, the Cape Cross Seal Reserve is a protected area along the west coast of Namibia. Its name is derived from the stone cross on the shore, erected in 1486 by Diogo Cão, a notable Portuguese explorer and navigator.

    Situated on a small headland on the Skeleton Coast, just 120 kilometres from Swakopmund and 60 kilometres from Henties Bay, makes the reserve easily accessible. Most visitors head to this sector of the coast for a day trip or quick visit. The cold Benguela current brings in schools of fish, ensuring the seals have a constant supply of prey. The seals in this protectorate are well-fed and blubbery.

    At any given time, it is quite possible to an excess of 100,000 seals littering the shores of the coast. Raised wooden walkways meander their way over the beach, allowing for unique vantage points of the colonies. Visitors can also spot cormorants and other seabirds fluttering about, contributing to the wildlife spectacle onshore.

    Features

    Q Is it easy to get to the reserve?

    The reserve is close to Swakopmund and Henties Bay and therefore an ideal destination for a day trip.

    Q What accommodation is available?

    There is no accommodation in the reserve as it is a national protectorate. Visitors can stay overnight in Henties Bay and Swakopmund.

    1 Review for Cape Cross Seal Reserve

    contact41

    1 Reviews

    This is where seal pups are clubbed and stabbed to death

    1/ 5

    Every year, the Namibian government allows a handful of men to separate nursing seal pups from their mothers and club and stab them to death for their fur. It happens early in the morning, before the tourists arrive. The bloody sand is bulldozed to keep tourists in the dark. Tourism to Namibia is being boycotted until the massacres end.

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    The main species to spot along this coast is the prolific seal colonies. This area is a breeding ground for Cape Fur seals and houses hundreds of thousands of adults and pups. The cold currents bring forth abundant fish, making it easy for seals to source prey.

    But it’s not only the cape seals that provide incredible wildlife sightings. There are several species of bird in the protectorate. There are greater flamingos, Cape teals, Caspian terns, oystercatchers and the famous Damara terns. Terns nest in this reserve, and flocks of cormorants are regularly seen hovering above the ocean surface.

    Land-based animals include the brown hyena and jackal, often found haunting the shores in search of newly born seal pups. Aquatic life includes copper sharks and killer whales that tend to arrive with the schools of fish.

    Like most of Namibia, the Cape Cross Seal Reserve is a year-round destination. November and December are when the seal pups come out to play and October there are showdowns and territorial displays from bulls establishing their territories. Weather-wise, the best time to visit is from October to March, when it is warm but not hot.

    The park is ideal for a day visit and is open from 10:00 to 17:00 throughout the year. The entrance gives access to the road that heads directly to the impressive seal colony. There is a raised wooden walkway that snakes over the shores of the coast, through the seal colonies. The boardwalk offers exceptional viewpoints of the coast and seal colonies and is great for photographic opportunities.

    There's plenty of history associated with this area, detailed on plaques and monuments throughout the reserve. The portion of inhospitable coast is part of the ancient route of explorers and discovered while Diego Cao was exploring the west coast of Africa. The protectorate is a fantastic area for birding and provides exceptional sightings of waders and shorebirds.

    There is no accommodation inside the reserve, as it's a national protectorate set-up for day visitors. Most visitors choose to stay in Swakopmund or Henties Bay. Swakopmund has ample accommodation options, while Henties Bay offers a holiday settlement dotted with wooden bungalows.

    Show all timings
    • Monday09:00 - 17:00
    • Tuesday09:00 - 17:00
    • Wednesday09:00 - 17:00
    • Thursday09:00 - 17:00
    • Friday09:00 - 17:00
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