Cape Cross Seal Colony - An Epic Rookery
David Letterman once told a joke, "If you had a million monkeys typing on a million typewriters... the smell would be unbearable." The same holds true when you place tens of thousands of fur seals along several kilometers of beach in northern Namibia's Skeleton Coast.
The first European found the site in 1485. I can't imagine that the seal colony has changed since. It is increasingly rare that you see animals in the tens of thousands in every direction to the horizon. It is a spectacle indeed and an assault on the senses, the most powerful being ammonia from all of the urine. It is like nothing else we have ever seen. Yet an incredible experience all the same.
The Skeleton Coast derived its name from the numerous shipwrecks that have accumulated here over the centuries. We spotted a wreck only a few kilometres north of Swakopmund, the closest coastal community.
Upon arriving at the colony, you immediately find yourself up close and personal with the seals. The average male seal is about 200kg so you start off cautious as they are only a few feet away. You soon realize that they don't care about you so literally walk amongst them enroute to a gated walkway. We were fortunate in that we timed our visit when there were lots of baby seals to enjoy.
The ground was simply crawling with barking seals and wailing babies while the ocean boiled with activity. It is estimated that the seals consume 2500 tonnes of fish and squid each day from this area.
We missed visiting the colony on our first trip to Namibia. Now knowing what to expect, it is an absolutely unique experience well worth the detour.