Award winning hospitality
CASEY NEISTAT - "...that was pretty amazing"
Seal Snorkeling with Animal Ocean in Cape Town is the ultimate eco-friendly, all-natural wildlife experience on your holiday.
We are THE TOP rated activity in Hout Bay and the FIRST CHOICE for everyone when Seal Snorkeling. We are the ORIGINAL Seal Snorkeling company and the only ones with a DIVE CENTRE. We offer hot showers, change rooms, internet, privacy and security at our facility. We contribute to conservation and research and are the ONLY choice for your experience with the seals.
Join us and plunge into the kelp forest and snorkel with hundreds of curious Cape Fur seals, in the wild ! You will witness with them in their environment, on their terms. If you love getting salty and experiencing the natural world, this is the best thing to do in Cape Town !
Welcome to Animal Ocean Seal Snorkeling.
We are the seal snorkeling experts and are dedicated to getting you in the water with these fantastic creatures. Our teams of passionate marine guides are keen to share the beauty of the ocean with you. Join us at our Snorkeling Center and enjoy hot showers, private change rooms, free Wifi and coffee. Our vessels take 10 snorkelers and will get you to the snorkeling site, Duiker Island, quickly and safely. Cape Fur seals are most active and abundant in the heat of Cape Town’s summer.
So beat the heat – join us!
Cape Fur seals occur naturally on islands around the southern African coast and are found nowhere else in the world. Duiker Island in Hout Bay is home to about 5 000 seals and lies within the Karbonkelberg marine protected area, part of Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town. These Cape Fur seals are not fed or trained, they behave naturally and interact with snorkelers on their own terms. Almost all interactions are friendly but we have seen aggressive behaviours. Seal Snorkelers can always see seals in the water and there are no sharks present. This is a wildlife adventure that brings you close to inquisitive wild animals in their natural habitat. We treat them with respect and keep 1m away at all times. Fur seals can bite and we cancel trip is aggressive behaviour is observed.
|Whats included||Snorkeling |
|Snorkel with Seals|| |
|Two Snorkel Guides per group|| |
|Hot Chocolate and biscuits|| |
|Hot Showers and Changing Facilities|| |
|Wetsuits Provided|| |
|Snorkeling Equipment|| |
|Price (per person)||R650/R990/pp |
for locals/internationals respectively
When and Where?
Please arrive on time, The time you booked online is the time to arrive. We meet at the Seal Snorkeling Center – 8 Albert road, HOUT BAY, Cape Town. We are NOT in Albert Road, Salt River, Cape Town. See directions below.
2.5 hours, with about 50 mins in the water.
Do seals bite?
Not normally, but Fur seals have bitten snorkelers. These are wild animal’s and should be treated with respect. Almost all of the interactions are curious and friendly but there are 5000 Fur seals at Duiker Island and occasionally we see aggressive behaviour. The Adult Bull Fur seals, during mating season (Nov/Dec), are normally the culprits. But we have seen others being aggressive, on these occasions we exit the water, move location or cancel the trip. You may be wondering that is the risk and 98,6% of the trip this year have been wonderful, but on 1,4% (or 6 in 445 trips as of 29/11/22) we experienced aggression and canceled the trip. It’s important you know there is an element of risk entering the natural environment with any wild creature, this is the same with our Cape Fur seals.
The seal snorkeling site is very shallow (1 – 5m deep) and you will see the bottom clearly most days. This is the ocean so there can be small waves and a choppy surface. The water temperature varies from 8C – 13C. This means that the water is COLD! The boat is always nearby and you can return to warm up if needed.
The Seal Snorkeling Centre is a converted home near Hout Bay Harbour. We have always invested in the client experience and our facilities show this, we have changing rooms, hot showers, and free Wifi are enjoyed by our guests and a lounge to relax in while you wait or warm up after the dive. It’s a great place to be and we hope to share it with you.
Experience needed ?
You need to be able to swim confidently – please note that this is a SWIMMING ACTIVITY. For your own safety, the skipper reserves the right to assess your swimming ability and to ask you to remain on the boat should they deem you unfit for this activity. Motion sickness is a problem for some – if you suffer from motion sickness this experience may not be for you. We recommend one motion sickness pill the evening before and one on the morning of your trip if you are prone to seasickness and want to join us.
What is the best time to snorkel with the seals?
The best time is whenever you can and time allows! Summer is generally best – September to May. But we run trip from August to June, weather dependant.
Children who intend to snorkel need to be 13 years or older. It is important that you let us know if children are joining as part of your group, as we need to make sure that the conditions are not too rough. Boat viewers can be from 6 years old and upward.
What equipment do you provide?
We have fleece lined 5mm one-piece wetsuits with hoods. We also provide 3mm vests, 3mm gloves, booties, fins, silicone masks, and snorkels. Our equipment comes in a range of sizes to suit everyone. *Please note – no full face masks are permitted for this activity.
Are there any sharks?
No, the island is situated on the cold Atlantic side of Cape Town where temperatures range between 8C -15 C. Great White Sharks prefer seal colonies on the east coast of South Africa. The shallow reefs and thick kelp forests prevent large sharks from coming close to Duiker Island. The well-established and long-running seal-watching ships have not seen a shark on the island in over 20 years of operation.
I am pregnant – can I join?
If you are less than 6 months pregnant and would like to join us, please indicate this on your booking and provide us with a doctor’s note certifying that you are fit for physical activity.
No. UBER is the cheapest and most reliable but any taxi company will happily transport you to Hout Bay harbor. There are also the City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off busses that operate a route from Cape Town to Hout Bay and around the peninsular.
Bookings are confirmed only when payment has been received. Our online booking system only takes payment in full by credit card. Irregular bookings may be refused at any time. Please be careful not to double book yourself onto multiple time slots, if this occurs there will be a 10% admin fee on the refund unless it is within 48 hours, then no refund is given.
We will only cancel when conditions are unsafe to go out. We try cancel trips 24 hours before arrival but will cancel at short notice if the ocean is unexpectedly rough. A full refund will be given if we cancel due to poor weather conditions. We only refund via the same method that we received the payment from.
Cancellation within 48 hours of departure and no-shows will not be given a refund. All cancellations prior to 48hrs incur a 10% administration fee.
Please be aware that this is a swimming activity – for your own safety, the skipper reserves the right to assess your swimming ability and to ask you to remain on the boat should they deem you unfit for this activity. This is also a physically demanding activity. We cater up to size 3 XL wetsuits (130kg) – if you are unsure ask us.
Please take medication if you are prone to motion sickness. Once we are with the seals we cannot return until after the snorkel has finished, 1 and a half hours at sea.
Connect with the ocean from our kayaks. Animal Ocean is now offering kayak trips in Hout Bay to see the life in the bay and harbour. Glide past Cape fur seals in the harbour and when in the bay try spot a Sunfish, Humpback whale or Dusky dolphin.
This easy adventure is lead by two trained Animal Ocean guides and starts at our Seal Snorkeling centre where you can change in privacy, keep your belongings and have a hot shower.
Visit our Seal Kayaking website for more info – SealKayaking.co.za
2 hour guided kayak tour – R300 p/p
Rent a GoPro – Capture Memories
Take your memories home with you, by using our underwater cameras. We have Mivision, GOPRO 10 and GOPRO 11 underwater action cameras too choose from. We provide the high-speed Micro SD cards for you. The Animal Ocean crew will give you a quick lesson on how to use them. Push one button and capture the day on a Micro SD memory card that is yours to take home.
All cameras are available for rental on the day, and we will remind everyone. So don’t worry there will be ways to share your experience with the seals.
GOPRO 10/11 – R700 with memory card, R500 without.
Mivision – R350 with memory card, R200 without.
Responsible Eco-Tourism – Giving back to Fur seals
Its important to us that we are a benefit to the Cape Fur seals of Duiker Island. We put their interests first and through our trips and actions support their welfare. We support a range of conservation, education and environmental activities. We want to make a difference and be a benefit to Cape Fur Seals. We enjoy working with passionate researchers and organisations making a difference in the conservation world.
- Rescuing Fur seal pups and disentangle Fur seals when possible
- Support academic institutions by providing free boat and crew to Duiker island to conduct research on Cape Fur Seals.
- Co-ordinate and rally the public to join beach Clean-Ups.
- Educational talks about Eco-tourism and the South African marine life to school groups.
- Provided boats and skilled staff for marine conservation field work trips around the South Africa coastline.
- Provide video footage and photographic images and services to NGO’s and researchers.
Images (click to enlarge)
Expertise and logistics for wildlife film makers
Animal Ocean We share our passion for the ocean with everyone we meet and because of this, amazing films are produced. Our team at Animal Ocean has assisted, skippered, filmed, dived and traveled with the BBC, National Geographic Magazine and many others. Animal Ocean is unique in translating the vision of any producer as we are keen observers of the natural world and have that photographic eye and mindset. We provide skilled water personal and equipment of the film industry and help cameraman get what they want… from seals surfing shallow reefs, surfers towing into giant waves or feeding Humpback Whales, and our favourite thing to do is snorkeling with seals ! … Ask us, we know how to get it done.
Our featured work …
- Netflix ANIMAL – Squid nesting sequence 2021
- Smithsonian – Oceans Greatest Feast 2020
- Disney’s – Dolphin Reef 2018
- BBC Blue Planet II – Surfing Dolphin sequence 2017.
- BBC Natures Great Events – Sardine Run 2008.
- National Geographic Magazine conservation articles for Thomas P. Peschak in Seychelles, Mexico, Galapagos, South Africa, Namibia and Peru
Contact us to help make you film shoot a success on the ocean around Cape Town or South Africa
Find Animal Ocean Seal Snorkeling at the Animal Ocean Offices
8 ALBERT ROAD, HOUTBAY, CAPE TOWN
GPS : 34 02’04” S 18 20’58” E
8am-4pm : +27 (0)72 296 9132
Car Rental – RentaCheapie Car Hire
The best way to get around Cape Town is with your own hired car. We recommend RentaCheapie for the friendliest, most affordable car rentals. Check them out if you are thinking about hiring a car for your visit.
Public Transport – MyCiTi Bus
Route 108 Hout Bay – Hangberg – Sea Point – Civic Center You will then need to walk to 8 Albert road from the bus stop, this will take between about 5 minutes Allow for 1.5 hours to reach us on time Plan your trip on the MyCiTi website