Friday, April 15, 2011

Namibia Day 8: Cape Cross

Recent shipwreck off the coast of Namibia

On the 8th day of our trip to Namibia we decided to drive up the coast to Cape Cross. Cape Cross refers to a stone cross that was placed here in the 15th century by Portuguese explorers. It is also the site of one of the largest cape fur seal colonies in the world.

The weather was completely foggy all day. The fog that had moved in the previous morning had stuck around which left everything slightly gloomy looking. The road up to Cape Cross was a "salt road". Which basically mean it was sand that had been sprayed down with salt water to make it firm enough to drive on. They were doing some maintenance on the road so we were able to see them spraying the road.

Along the road to Cape Cross we saw another ship wreck. This one was much more recent looking than the one from the previous evening. It must be a popular spot for tourists to stop as there was people waiting to sell us items when we got out of the vehicle. The sand is quite soft as soon as you get off the road so care is needed to keep from getting stuck.

The Cape Cross seal colony smells even worse then you can imagine. No matter how much you mentally prepare yourself you are not ready for the smell. There are simply thousands of seals living here and besides the smell coming from them is the smell of decomposition. We saw bones from seals that had been killed and eaten by jackals - and I'm sure that was contributing to the smell.

The seal pups themselves were cute. Some mostly ignored you but some did seem fearful of people. You are kept on a walkway with a railing, but the seals are lounging right up to the walkway - so you do get quite close.

Seal pup posing for the camera

Seal pup and mother greet each other

Replica of the original cross at Cape Cross

Technical Notes: Although we arrived at the seal colony late(after 10 AM) the fog made for great light while taking portraits of the seals. The fog however, did not make for great environmental shots of the seals. So depending on what photographs you want you'll have to decide if the fog works for you or if you'd prefer a sunny day. If you do go on a sunny day you'll want to be there much earlier - I believe they open at 8AM.

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