Cape Town offers an array of sea adventures for the adrenaline junkies. From Wind Surfing, Sea Kayaking to Scuba Diving and Seal Snorkeling, the Mother City is a gateway into the underwater life of seals, sharks and other marine creatures. The dauntless seekers of adventure will love the Seal Snorkeling tour in Cape Town. They can dive into the Atlantic Ocean and witness numerous Cape Fur seals playfully engaging with them while they SCUBA dive or snorkel. Cape Fur seals exclusively dwell in the area around Southern African coast. More than 10,000 seals dwell in the Hout Bay on Duiker Island which falls under the marine protected area of Karbonkelberg peak. This peak forms a part of the famous Table Mountain National Park in the city. These Fur seals behave and interact naturally with the SCUBA divers and snorkelers since they are not trained.
There are various tour operators that take the snorkelers to the Duiker Island which is the most popular seal snorkeling spot in Cape Town. This half day expedition is for all ages and will be one of the most memorable experiences of your visit to Cape Town. The excursion is conducted from October to March. At times, depending on the weather, tours are also organized in September. Anytime from September to April is perfect for these activities. December to February season offers the warmest weather conditions. If one wants to snorkel with baby seals, take the tour between mid-March and April.
A rubber duck boat takes the snorkelers on a 10-minute ride to the coastal waters off Mount Sentinel. Located at a distance of 80 meters from the island, an hour long seal hotspot adventure begins as the snorkelers dip into the Atlantic Ocean where seals maneuver elegantly while the humans awkwardly swim through the waters. The explorers can also take breaks from the tours as the rubber duck boat is anchored in close proximity. The snorkelers also get to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies after the trip.
Most of the tours are 3 hours long. The participants suit up and then are briefed about the tour and then travel to and from the island in this time. This includes kitting up, briefing and traveling to and from the island. Visitors usually snorkel in the water for an hour.
The site is shallow (2-5 meters deep) which gives clear sight of the bottom of the sea. The water is cold with temperatures ranges from 10 to 15 degree Celsius.
The visitors should be able to swim if they are snorkeling. For SCUBA diving, they should be qualified divers. If motion sickness bothers you, this may not be the activity for you.
Minors from ages 6 to 16 years can snorkel in the presence of a guardian. The tour operators ask in advance if any children will be present in the group, since they have to look at the underwater conditions. If the conditions are not suitable for children, they advise a different day.
Other species to see
Duiker Island has many other species of marine creatures including Sunfish, Dusky Dolphins, Southern Right whales, hundreds of Cape cormorants, 2 African oyster catchers and 10 nesting pairs of endangered Bank cormorants.
The temperatures on this island which is located on the colder Atlantic area of Cape Peninsula range between 10 and 15 Celsius. This temperature is not suitable for Great White sharks. These sharks can usually seen in the Eastern Coast of South Africa in the seal colonies. Thick kelp forests and shallow reefs guard the island from the sharks. In over 20 years, the seal watching ships have not come across any large sharks swimming close to the island. The people who are interested in Shark Watching can opt for the Shark Cage Diving Tours in Gaansbai or False Bay.
The tour operators also offer rental underwater cameras for the snorkelers to capture their sea memories in photographs or videos.