Where Can I Find Seals In South Africa

Where Can I Find Seals In South Africa

There are around 2 million seals on South African and Namibian shores. It’s a staggering comeback for a species that was nearly decimated a century ago. That, of course, was in the days when sealing was rampant. Since then, sealing has stopped in South Africa and things have turned around completely for the Cape fur seals. 

They used to be limited to breeding on islands, to avoid land-based predators. But humans have caused the numbers of these predators to drop. Now seals are breeding on the mainland, which has led to a dramatic population growth. 

One of the biggest colonies is now in Kleinzee, along South Africa’s west coast, which plays host to around 450 000 seals. There are other, smaller concentrations of seals off and along Gansbaai, Hout Bay, Plettenberg Bay, and Cape Town. 

The great white sharks certainly aren’t complaining – seals have become a major food source for them. Fishermen complain bitterly about the seals, but they are a pleasure to watch (although being downwind of a colony can be an assault on the nostrils). 

Cape fur seals have small, somewhat comical, rolled-up ears, which is why they’re also called eared seals. They’re fairly agile on land and climb rocks surprisingly well. They are mostly brown, but pups are born black and slowly grow lighter. 

How big are South African seals?

South African fur seal | mammal | Britannica

metres (4–6 feet), but the South African, or Cape, fur seal (A. pusillus) and the Australian fur seal (A. pusillus doriferus) grow to lengths and weights of about 2.5 metres (8 feet) and 300 kg in the male, 1.8 metres and 120 kg (265 pounds) in the female.

Is it safe to swim with seals in South Africa?

The seals are not inherently aggressive to divers and snorkelers, but they are wild animals and should be treated as such. Snorkelers should not attempt to touch or feed them, and it is best to keep your hands close to your body. Seals are more aggressive when there are babies around.