Sightseeing charter boats typically collect passengers from the small fishing village of Hout Bay Harbor and brings them to the famous island. But before you set sail to meet the seals from Hout Bay, take the time to admire the scenic harbor views that includes the Sentinel – the appropriately named steep side cliff that acts like a gatekeeper to the bay. Although it is called an island, Duiker is more accurately described as a small cluster of rocks that barely rises from the sea water. This spot has been the home of an unbelievable number of Cape fur seals. Thus, it is not a surprise that Duiker is usually referred to as the Seal Island.
Once you reach the shores of the island, you will be greeted by the sight of over 10,000 seals. But it is important to remember that the boat ride is not as smooth as cruising into the calm lake. The waters around the area frequently generate choppy waves. If you can overcome sea sickness, then it promises to be an adventure that’s hard to forget. Animal Ocean and Drumbeat Charters are just some of the established companies that offer guided boat tours to Duiker Island.
Some companies will have open boats, which accommodate around 60 passengers, while others have the bigger flagship vessels that hold around 120 passengers. It only takes about 20 minutes to reach the island from Hour Bay Harbor but the cruises can take more than an hour. Longer cruises usually choose to go back to Hout Bay Harbor via the Kabonkelberg mountain range or the Chapman’s Peak, which is home to a collection of fascinating caves and cliffs.
Once you get to Duiker Island, you don’t have to admire the thousands of seals just from distance, although it is an incredible sight and worth taking several photos. A number of tours also give passengers the opportunity to snorkel and swim with the seals. If you are a qualified diver in open waters, you can also arrange to dive and discover Duiker’s rich underwater world! Make sure to check if your guide can provide you with all the necessary gear. The Atlantic waters can be cold, so request thick neoprene wetsuits to keep your body warm. Some outfitters also rent GoPro cameras so you can take videos and pictures of your time with the playful seals in their own wild habitat.
The Breeding period for Cape Fur seals takes place around November/December but Duiker Island is not a breeding colony because of the rough waters. Trips to Duiker Island are usually scheduled from September to April as this is the time for the most favorable weather conditions. Nevertheless, take note that trips can be delayed, postponed or cancelled depending on daily weather conditions. But on a nice sunny day, you are guaranteed to enjoy your trip to the marvelous Seal Island!