Cape Cross Seal Reserve

T he Cape Cross Seal Reserve, with a surrounding area of 60 km2 consisting of flat gravel plains and the rocky outcrop where the seals gather, was proclaimed in 1968 to protect the biggest and best known of the 23 colonies of South African (Cape) fur seals that breed along the Namibian and western South African coast.

The reserve is situated approximately 130 km north of Swakopmund. From January until the end of June the reserve is open on weekdays from 08:00–17:00; from the beginning of July until the end of November from 10:00–17:00; and in December again from 08:00–17:00. On weekends the reserve is open from 08:00–17:00. For further information contact the Ministry of Environment and Tourism at Cape Cross, Tel: 064 69 4037.

It was here that the Portuguese navigator, Diogo Cão, on his second expedition to Africa south of the equator, planted a stone cross in 1486. Two replicas of this cross can be viewed at the site where the original one was erected. The original padrão is currently in Portugal.

A small lichen reserve containing a relatively large variety of species can be viewed from close by. Bird islands off the coast are also protected.

The South African (Cape) fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus, is the largest of the world’s nine fur-seal species. As many as 210,000 of these animals gather at Cape Cross at any one time during the November/December breeding season

Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk

Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk

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