Snorkelling with the seals in Cape Town

Find Inspiration for your next dive trip

Search our stories and get inspired by our passionate team of writers, dive travel specialists, local experts and ambassadors.


Snorkelling with the seals in Cape Town

The Planet Travel Cape Town team recently took to the waters of the Atlantic to snorkel with the friendliest mammals in the ocean, the Cape fur seals. Read all about our adventure here:


We arrived at the offices of Animal Ocean in Hout Bay on a sunny day in November. Animal OceanAnimal Ocean are the seal snorkeling experts and were dedicated to getting us in the water with these fantastic creatures. The team of marine guides were only too keen to share the beauty of the ocean and its most playful mammals with us.  


The team was fun and friendly and set us up with all the right gear we needed to survive in the chilly Atlantic water. We are kitted out from head to toe, from snorkel to flippers! The team was super informative and gave us a great safety briefing while sharing some information on the seals we would be lucky enough to be snorkel with, while also providing us with some conservation principals.


After we were all geared up we headed off to the Hout Bay harbour where the boat awaited to take us to Duiker Island. It was one of those truly stunning days in Cape Town, the sun was out and the wind light and there also hadn’t been much swell over the past few days which gave us a great chance of having some amazing water visibility. 


The boat ride out to the island was about 10 minutes long and was a great way to view the majestic Sentinal peak that juts straight out of the sea. Looking across to the other end of the bay there is a fantastic view of Chapmans Peak mountain.  


Arriving at the islands was a sight for the eyes and a surprise for the nose! You definitely know when you are surrounded by 5,000 seals. We picked a great time to visit the island as it was very early in the pupping season so the island was covered with tiny baby seals that were only a few weeks old. You could confuse these little seals with baby lambs due to the sounds they make!


The Animal Ocean team anchored us in a perfect spot between the surrounding cluster of small rock islands. After a quick safety briefing, we took to the waters. The water visibility was pretty much as good as it gets and we enjoyed our first sighting of the seals in the water. 


The seals swam by often on their way to and from the island. Some of them came in for a closer look, showcasing their curious nature. There were so many seals in the water so whichever direction we swam in, there they were, either playing with other seals in the water or floating head down and flippers up in true seal style. One of the best things to experience was diving down to the reef at the bottom, holding your breath and watching the seals on their home turf. The seals love to blow bubbles and when you are under the water you can constantly hear the symphony of bubbles. There were a few moments of heart-pounding action when some of the larger male seals swam by a little too close for comfort and, although we knew they are friendly, we were still wary of how big they actually are!

It was a truly fantastic experience. We just wish we could spend the whole day down there!


After about 50 minutes in the water, we started making our way back to the boat where the awesome team had hot chocolate and biscuits waiting for us. It was a pleasant change from the salty taste in our mouths. Once everyone was back in the boat we headed back to the harbour and enjoyed hearing each other’s versions of their adventures with the seals!


This was a truly incredible adventure and Planet Dive Holidays definitely recommends a trip to Hout Bay in Cape Town for a seal snorkel trip. Contact us for more information about this snorkel tour!