Cape Cross Seal Reserve
Cape Cross has both historic and biological significance andv is a popular tourist attraction. The Portuguese navigator, Diego Cão, landed here in 1486 on his second expedition south of the equator and planted a stone cross (padrão) to mark his journey. A replica is visible here today. Inclusive of a second replica, the area has been l isted as a National Heritage Site. In the late 1800s, thousands of tons of guano (dried e x c r e m e n t of fish-eating birds used as fertiliser) were collected and exported to Europe. South African (Cape) fur seals were a l s o h a r v e s t e d . About 100 workers lived at Cape Cross and a police station, customs and post office were established at the sett lement , while a railway
– The f i rst in the count ry – was built to cross the salt pan and transport workers. Many men lost their lives due to the harsh conditions on the Skeleton Coast.
This reserve is a sanctuary for the world’s largest breeding colony of South African fur seals, with up to 210 000 seals present during the breeding season in November and December. Sustainable seal h a r v e s t i n g takes place i n the reserve annually under the auspices of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, which also sets the quota of animals to be harvested.
Park size 60 km2
Proclamation Cape Cross Seal Reserve in 1968 Natural features Rocky bay, sandy beaches, salt pan Vegetation Central Desert in the Namib Desert Biome. Vegetation:
Sparsely vegetated, with dollar (Zygophyllum stapfii) and pencil bushes (Arthraerua leubnitziae) dominating. A variety of lichens. Wildlife Brown hyaena, south African fur seal, black-backed jackal. At the guano platforms, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Grey Phalarope, Damara Tern, Cape Teal, Caspian Tern, Black-necked Grebe and African Black Oystercatcher.