About Cape Cross Seal Reserve
The Cape Cross Seal Reserve is one of the most visited attractions in Namibia. It is found within the West Coast Recreation area and is one of the gateways to the desolate Skeleton Coast.
The nearest town to the reserve is Henties Bay. Cape Cross is 400km from Windhoek and 130km from Swakopmund.
Cape Cross was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Diego Cão in 1486. Today a replica of the original stone cross he placed here is still on site and the spot is regarded as a National Heritage Site.
The environment around Cape Cross has always been rich in bird life and tons of guano were collected here for export to Europe during the 1800s. Cape fur seals were also harvested from Cape Cross. Thanks to these industries, a small village with a police station and post office was set up nearby. A railway line was also constructed to transport workers across the salt pan.
Living conditions were harsh around Cape Cross and the operations eventually dwindled to a halt. In 2001, the reserve was proclaimed and the last of the buildings were demolished to set up a lodge.
Cape Cross Accommodation
Today, the Cape Cross Lodge and campsites are the closest accommodation to the Seal Reserve. There are a few alternatives in Henties Bay but most visitors prefer to include the Cape Cross Seal Reserve as part of a day trip from their Swakopmund accommodation.
Some of the newly refurbished facilities at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve include:
- A walkway with information signs to get a better view of the seals
- Campsites with fireplaces and wind shields
- Renovated picnic areas.
Cape Cross is close to the Messum Crater, Brandberg Mountain and the Skeleton Coast Park. Fishing is not allowed at this reserve.
Meals are available at the Lodge as well as nearby Henties Bay and Swakopmund. Most menus are a la carte with a heavy emphasis on fresh seafood.
Fauna and Flora
The area around Cape Cross is very arid and consists mainly of a rocky bay, sandy beaches and a large salt pan. Vegetation is sparse and takes the form of dollar and pencil bushes as well as lichens.
Brown hyena and black-backed jackal are the most common animals found here apart from the Cape Fur seals. Birdlife is plentiful and consists of black oystercatchers, black-necked grebes, Caspian teals, Damara Tern and grey phalaropes as well as greater and lesser flamingos.
What to Bring
If you are camping, you will need to bring all your own equipment and food. Warm clothing is essential for the chilly Skeleton Coast nights and sun protection is vital for day time activities.
From Swakopmund: The quickest route from Swakopmund is to leave town on the B2 and join onto the C38 outside town. Proceed straight up the coast to Henties Bay and you will see the reserve clearly signposted after about 116km.
From Windhoek: Follow the B1 and then the B2 at Okahandja. Follow this road towards the coast until you reach the D1918 to Henties Bay. Proceed along the C38 from Henties Bay until you see the turn off to Cape Cross.
By Air – Commercial flights depart daily from Windhoek to Swakopmund and Charter flights also make use of this airport.
Transfers – Transfers can be arranged through private operators in Windhoek or the above airstrips to your accommodation in Swakopmund.
Get in touch via our contact us page for more information or to book your trip to see some of Namibia’s lesser seen wildlife, the Cape Fur Seals found in the West Coast Recreation area at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.