Animal Ocean is the seal snorkelling experts and is dedicated to getting you in the water with these fantastic creatures. Our enthusiastic owner and zoologist, Steve Benjamin, together with his team of marine guides, are only too keen to share the beauty of the ocean and its most playful mammals with you. Our 8m Ribs (inflatable boats) takes up to 10 snorkelers and will get you to the Cape fur seals, quickly and safely. Fur seals are most active and abundant in the heat of Cape Town’s summer.
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 Fur seals are not fed or trained; they behave naturally and interact with snorkelers and Scuba divers on their own terms. Info
Rent a Camera on the Day of your Trip
Take your memories home by using our underwater cameras. These easy to use underwater cameras will capture photos or video, and our staff 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 we can provide and is yours to take home. All cameras are available for rental on the day.
About 3 hours. This includes arriving 30 minutes before your trip time to sign in and kit up, briefing and travelling to and from the Harbour and island. On average, visitors spend 45 minutes – 1hr in the water.
Snorkelling Site Conditions
The snorkelling 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.
What experience do I need?
To snorkel you need to be able to swim confidently. 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 the morning of your trip
Can we SCUBA dive?
Yes, you will need to email email@example.com directly with a copy of your certification and the dates you are interested in diving. We will then check availability and make the booking for you.
What is provided?
We provide all snorkelling equipment, a seal guide, transfer from the office to the Harbour, boat ride, educational briefing, water, biscuits, hot chocolate and hot water to pour in your wetsuit after the snorkel, along with tea and coffee at the office and 2 minute rinse off showers. (Due to the drought no showers will be permitted)
Snorkelers can be from 10 – 16 years, with a guardian present and all ages upwards are welcome. It is very important that you let us know that children are joining your group as we need to make sure the conditions are not too rough. Boat viewers can be from 6 years old and up.
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 hour at sea.
Are there any sharks?
No, the island is situated on the cold Atlantic side of the Cape Peninsula where temperatures range between 8C -15 C. This is very cold for Great White sharks, who prefer the seal colonies on the east coast of South Africa. The island is surrounded with shallow reefs and thick kelp forests; this would prevent any large sharks coming close to the island. The well-established and long-running seal watching ships have not seen a shark at the island in over 20 years of operation. If you would like to see a Great White shark we will happily assist you by booking you onto a Shark Cage diving experience from Gaansbaai.
What is the best time to snorkel with the seals?
Seal Snorkelling is possible September till May. The most consistent and warmest weather conditions occur from December to February. Snorkelling during mid-March and April are great as the seal pups have just learnt to swim and enter the water to play. June till September we are closed as the Seals are less active.
How big are the groups?
We take a maximum of 10 snorkelers out at a time per boat. There will always be a skipper and two dive guides with each boat. We have two boats and the maximum would be 20 snorkelers at one trip time in high season
Can I come view the seals?
Yes, we charge a reduced rate for people who want to come look at the seals from the boat while the snorkelers are in the water.
What equipment do you provide?
We have fleeced lined 5mm one piece wetsuits with hoods. We also provide 2mm vests, 4mm gloves, booties, fins and silicone masks and snorkels. Our equipment comes in a range of sizes to suit everyone.
Do you offer transport?
No. Any taxi company will happily transport you to Hout Bay harbour. 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.
What are you booking policy?
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.
What is your refund policy?
We will only cancel when conditions are unsafe to go out, or we think we are not able to provide the good experience. We try cancelling 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 ocean conditions. Refunds are processed in batches and can take up to 30 working days to be processed and completed. Please be patient, we are a small company, and we will get it done. We only refund via the same method that we received the payment from.
What is your cancellation policy?
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.
How does payment work?
Please fill out the booking form with all the relevant details. Please make sure your contact details are correct, we may need to cancel the trip or re-schedule. Master Card and Visa credit cards are accepted through the online payment and booking system, we also have snap scan now. If the trip is cancelled due to bad weather we will try rescheduling the trip or refunding you.