Seal Snorkeling

Animal Ocean’s Seal Snorkeling Adventure in Cape Town

One of the biggest hidden gems
brought to you by Animal Ocean
 
+27 (0)72 296 9132
NSRI Building | Hout Bay Harbour | Cape Town Cape Peninsula
www.sealsnorkeling.com
info@sealsnorkeling.com
animalocean
Animal Ocean

Animal Ocean’s Seal Snorkeling Adventure in Cape Town

Delve into the Atlantic Ocean for a guaranteed up-close-and-personal wildlife experience

When it comes to embarking on safari or diving trip with the hope of witnessing or experiencing animals in their natural habitats, there is always a good chance of, well, not seeing any wildlife and feeling an overwhelming sense of disappointment.  In fact, we’re pretty sure some explorers often leave expeditions thinking: “Well, they should probably label all of the animals ‘lesser-spotted’”.

But the above scenario is certainly not applicable to the seal snorkeling trip offered by the ocean experts at Animal Ocean.  The tour operator facilitates a unique day trip experience that delivers on its promise.

“We can guarantee that visitors will not only spot Cape fur seals, but will be able to plunge into the ocean and witness the seals swimming and darting underwater,” says Steve Benjamin, a zoologist and owner of Animal Ocean.

The tour, which officially runs from October to March (tours are sometimes scheduled for September, but are weather dependent), starts with a meeting just outside the National Sea and Rescue Institute (NSRI) building at the Hout Bay Harbour. Here, intrepid explorers are kitted out in 5-mm, fleece-lined wetsuits, vests, gloves and booties, all of which aid in reducing the sting of the chilly Atlantic Ocean.  Of course, for some (probably most), the cold is likely to be the number-two entry on their lists of concerns; the first worry is usually whether or not sharks will be present.  But, as Steve explains, the ferocious fish have no reason to patrol the Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula as the water is too cold and Duiker Island (where the seals bask and settle) is surrounded by kelp and shallow waters, which makes it an undesirable feeding ground for sharks. 

So with peace of mind and extra layers of insulation, explorers hop on the rubber duck for the 10-minute trip to the seal hotspot, which sits pretty in the coastal waters off Mount Sentinel. 

The landmass is roughly 1 500 square metres and home to a colony of approximately 2000 Cape fur seals- this particular species can only be found on the Southern African coast.  On land, the rotund mammals shift and move about rather uncomfortably, and it’s not much of a show; there’s an occasional bark from a territorial bull and a few splashes as seals sporadically dive into the ocean.  It’s roughly 80 metres from this island where the boat is anchored and the real adventure begins. 

Snorkelers dip into the Atlantic and within a couple of seconds of peering down into the clear waters will spot seals twisting, turning and darting about. It’s a complete role reversal: the humans become the awkward blobs trying to negotiate unfamiliar territory and the seals manoeuvre elegantly in the environment they are designed to thrive in. 

“To the seals, we just look like sea creatures that don’t know how to swim properly. We are as much entertainment for them as they are for us,” jokes Steve.

The sea mammals are curious by nature and have no problem scurrying between visitors, coming as close as an arm’s length to try and decode the neoprene-covered bodies of the swimmers. Of course, as welcoming and compliant as the seals are, trying into interact with the seals physically is a no-no. 

The rubber duck boat remains nearby so explorers can take breaks if necessary. Not to mention, hot chocolate and biscuits are served post-trip.

It’s also worth a mention that there is no chumming or baiting used to lure the seals, which makes this unique day trip all the more special as it is an authentic wildlife experience, and it comes as no surprise that, in 2014, the seal snorkeling tour received a Certificate of Excellence award from travel review website TripAdvisor.

Tip:  Animal Ocean also facilitates a SCUBA diving with seals trip that costs R850p/p. The price includes the use of wetsuits and SCUBA equipment (tanks, buoyancy control devices and weights).  Do note that, unlike the seal snorkeling trip, only experienced divers can participate. Furthermore, if divers or snorkelers want to capture their experience, Animal Ocean also offers camera rentals (GoPro Hero 2). A camera and 4-gig SD Memory card costs R300p/p (guests get to keep the memory card), and the use of just the camera will set you back R200p/p. Of course, explorers are more than welcome to bring their own camera equipment.
Bookings for both options can be made by emailing info@selasnorkeling.com or by calling +27 (0)72 296 9132.

The bill: The seal snorkeling trip costs R650p/p and includes all equipment and refreshments.  Other than being able to swim, no additional experience is needed to embark on the adventure.  Participants between the ages of 6 and 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The tour can accommodate a maximum of 10 people and lasts about 3 hours.

---

Eager to explore parts of the Western Cape in less than 24 hours? Read about all the day tours on offer from various trip operators.

---

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle and check out our Pinterest boards for updates. Not to mention, subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with what's hip and happening in our pretty city.

Cape Town Events Calendar
November 2014
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30

Rocking Hollywood 5Barnyard Theatre’s Rocking Hollywood ...

Have a musical trip down memory lane with the brilliant cast of Rocking in ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

Corporates become commandos in this adrenaline-inducing, morale-boosting laser ...

CTS-Lanzerac Ready to Run StakesLanzerac Ready To Run Stakes presented ...

Head over to the Kenilworth Racecourse for this sophisticated horse racing ...

Silvercross Helicopter 6Ajax Cape Town VS Maritzburg United ...

Watch the Mother City’s finest take on the take on KwaZulu-Natal’s boys in ...

Proe Paarl Wine FestivalProe Paarl Wine Festival

Come get a taste of the Cape Winelands at this first ever wine tasting ...

Postcard From Morocco at Artscape 1Postcard From Morocco at the Artscape ...

Argento’s small opera with a big heart makes its debut on the Mother City’s ...

M.I.S.S Gayeties Creative Evening LGBQTIM.I.S.S Gayeties Creative Evening in ...

Celebrate the creativity of the Mother City’s fearless gay females at this ...

Keeping You in Stitches Riaad Moosa Comedy ShowRiaad Moosa Comedy Show in Cape Town

Prepare yourself for a big dose of the best medicine as prescribed by the ...

Dead Letter Circus at Mercury 2Dead Letter Circus Concert at Mercury

Get ready for rockin’ riffs and thrashing solos with rockers from Down Under, ...

Alchemy Dance Academy Mzansi Cape Town Salsa FestThe Mzansi Cape Town Salsa Festival

Dance your way through parties, workshops and performances at this red hot ...

Marc LotteringMarc Lottering Comedy Show in Cape Town

The Mother City’s (multi) comedic personality is back on stage with another ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

Wembley Tap Craft Beer Bar PatioOutdoor Weekend Braais at Wembley Tap ...

Enjoy beer and barbequed meat every Friday and Saturday afternoon at this ...

Haute Cabriere 1Haute Cabrière Wine Estate’s Cellar ...

Delve into a world of vino theatre every Saturday at this Franschhoek-based ...

Tidy and Co 15 Christmas Present Ideas15 Christmas Present Ideas for 15 ...

A pick of 15 fabulous gifts for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts and girly ...

Labels4Less Factory Shop Cape TownDiesel Jeans & Clothing Sale

Get an extra R50 off already marked-down designer denim, bags, belts, tops and ...

ACC City Desired Exhibition at City Hall Cape TownCity Desired Exhibition at City Hall

Contemporary Cape Town exposed: encounter the Mother City in a whole new light ...

Wild Fig Outdoor Restaurant Dining The Wild Fig Restaurant’s Alfresco ...

Enjoy long, lazy weekend lunches outdoors at this historic Cape Town eatery

Spier Eight logoEight Restaurant Thrusts Its Doors Open ...

Spier Wine Farm’s farm-to-table eatery’s now serving supper three days a ...

Hazendal new 7Saturday Picnics at Hermitage Restaurant

Slow down and join the ants for a leisurely lunch on the grounds of ...

Ladies Night at Gun Fun Cape TownFemme Fatale Saturdays at Gun Fun

Who said guns were only for guys?

Lounge furniture from Eco Furniture Decor online storeEco Furniture Design Store Sale

Buy beautifully crafted wooden dining room, bedroom and patio pieces for a ...

Latitude 33 Fashion Boutique Cape TownLatitude 33’s Winter Clothing Sale

Clearance! Score edgy Aussie-made clothes for men and women at up to 50% less ...

Craft beer from The Taproom Salt RiverSaturday Brunch at The Taproom

Kick back and refuel at Devil’s Peak Brewing Company’s chic eatery after a ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips