How to Visit Seal Island in Cape Town – 3 Best Ways!

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 by thecapetownblog

There’s an abundance of adorable fur seals in Cape Town and I always love to spot them swimming around the Waterfront, but did you know that there’s also a Seal Island in Hout Bay? I’ve lived in Cape Town since 2021 and I’ve never seen as many seals as I did when I visited Seal Island. It was incredible! 

So if you’re hoping to visit Seal Island while you’re in Cape Town, you might be wondering what the best way to get there is. There are three different options and while I definitely have my favourite, the best one for you might be different. So whether you’re sticking to a tight budget, travelling with kids, or want to get as close to the seals as possible, I’m going to take you through the best ways to visit Seal Island. 

About Seal Island 

Seal Island is officially named Duiker Island, and it’s actually more of a rock than an island, since it only measures 77 x 95 metres. Humans aren’t allowed on its surface but you can get pretty close by boat! 

The island is just off the coast of Hout Bay, which is Cape Town’s beautiful seaside suburb. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the city centre to Hout Bay Harbour, which is where boats to Seal Island leave from. I love driving via Camps Bay as the views are absolutely gorgeous. 

1. Seal Snorkelling – My Top Choice! 

I had an incredible experience snorkelling with seals in Hout Bay. The seals swam right up close to me, and I saw more than I can count. They’re so graceful underwater, too, so seeing them twirl around was really wonderful.

Another thing that impressed me was how respectfully the tour operates. It’s all about observing without disturbing, so that it doesn’t interfere with the seals or their habitat. Clemen was a great guide, too, and taught me a lot about the seals and had a real sixth sense when it came to knowing exactly where they were. 

We got an hour in the water and then hot chocolate and cookies on the way back to the shore, which was very welcome! I paid R950 and it was worth every penny. I also rented a GoPro on the day for R500 and an SD card for R450, and then lost the card, so that was a waste of money but it was no-one’s fault but my own! This was one of the best things that I have ever done in Cape Town, but if you want more details then feel free to check out my in-depth review. 

2. Boat Trip – Best Budget Option

If you’re on a budget, you can take this boat trip to Seal Island for just R110! You can view the seals right up close while staying warm and dry on the boat. I think that this is ideal for families, especially with kids under 10, as they are too young to snorkel with the seals but will love seeing them from the boat. 

Hout Bay is also super beautiful, so cruising around the area is such a pleasure. There are also a few different options on offer. You can do the 40-minute cruise and just focus on the seals, or do an hour-long ride to Chapman’s Peak and see the caves around there. If you like history, you can also sail around Maori Bay and learn about all of the shipwrecks here. 

Powered by GetYourGuide

3. Kayaking – Best for Seeing a Variety of Wildlife

I think that this 2-hour kayaking tour is one of the best in Cape Town, as well as one of the cheapest at R450. Kayaking around Seal Island is so much fun and these curious little guys (or not so little guys, as the case may be) are more than likely to come right up to you and say hello. And even if they don’t, you’ll see tons of them around, swimming in the water and basking on the island. 

It’s also a good one to do if you’re prone to seasickness, as the water around Hout Bay is pretty calm. I felt quite ill when I went kayaking in Sea Point, but I’ve never needed my tablets in Hout Bay. I also think this tour is great because it’s run by the same company that I went snorkelling with, and I only have great things to say about them! 

How to get to Hout Bay

None of the above tours include transport, so you’ll need to get yourself to Hout Bay. I think the best way to do this is to drive, as it’s best to hire a car here. I use Discover Cars to find the best rentals, but if you’re unsure about whether to rent a car, these articles about driving in Cape Town and hiring a car might prove helpful.

And if you already know you don’t want to hire a car, then you can call an Uber to Hout Bay. Prices start at around R170 each way for an Uber Go, although that can go way up during a surge.

Thanks so much for reading this blog! I absolutely loved my seal encounter in Cape Town and I hope that you find it as incredible as I did. And if you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out the following articles:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top