Located 120km north of Swakopmund, Cape Cross is home to one of the largest colonies of Cape Fur Seals in the world. In order to protect the biggest and best known of the 23 colonies of Cape Fur Seals which breed along the coast of South Africa and Namibia, the surrounding area was proclaimed a reserve in 1968.
Around 150,000 seals gather at Cape Cross during the November / December breeding season. The name mentions to the large stone cross erected here by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century.
Attracted by the good fishing provided by the nutrient-rich waters of the Benguela current, the seals congregate on the rocky shoreline year-round, with bull seals arriving in large numbers towards the end of October, ready to fight for their territories and the right to mate with a harem of up to 60 females. The endearing little seal pups are all born in November or December and the shore is covered with a mass of bleating and mewling little bodies. The seal mothers call out for their babies when they return from fishing expeditions, ready to re-establish their bond while nursing their offspring. A variety of other life is attracted to the colony, with kelp gulls skimming the surface of the sea and flocks of cormorant soaring above the waves. Killer whales and copper sharks lurk in the waves, on the alert for unsuspecting youngsters venturing out to sea for the first time, and black-backed jackals and brown hyenas lurk around the outskirts of the colony at dusk and dawn.