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Kayaking with Seals in Walvis Bay, Namibia

There are few animals in the world that play as energetically as young fur seals. One of the best ways to observe this entertaining spectacle is to paddle a kayak near a seal colony. Cristina and I took a paddling tour with Namibia Kayak Tours through the Cape Fur Seal colonies along Pelican Point near Walvis Bay in Namibia. The protected waters of the bay and the still, foggy morning made a perfect backdrop to our kayaking with seals tour in Namibia.

Kayaking with seals in Namibia

Our tour vehicle stopped at the beach on Pelican Point, a deserted and fog-immersed sandy peninsula. Not too far from us, the seal colony went on about their business. Just behind us, a curious but shy jackal pretended not to watch.

We hit the water and as soon as we got close to the colony, a handful of young cape fur seals surrounded our kayak. They swam by us and peeked above the water to get a better look at us, jumping gracefully into the air  and diving under our kayak.

kayaking with seals Namibia
Curious seal pups examine kayakers in Walvis Bay

The closer we were to the colony, the more seals came out to see us. They were everywhere. In front of us, behind us, under us and to our sides. We were warned that some seals have landed on kayaks while showing off their jumps. We both hoped and feared that one might.

Kayaking with seals turned out to be exhilarating. You never know when one will jump out in front of you and splash you with a flipper. By using a GoPro, I managed to catch some of their antics both above and below the water.

Video of kayaking with seals in Walvis Bay, Namibia

We stayed at the colony for about three short hours. When it was over Hal asked if he was allowed to swim with them. “I don’t see why not. You can go now, but the water is pretty cold,” said the tour guide. You can swim with the seals? We hadn’t even thought of that! We were about to leave for South Africa and had no time left. Hal dipped a toe in the frigid water and said. “Yeah,  maybe next time we’ll bring dry-suits.”

Curious seals approach the kayak
Curious seals approach the kayak

If you’ve ever dreamed of doing a seal kayak tour, we highly recommend you go kayaking with seals in Walvis Bay Namibia. Kayaking with seals was definitely one of the highlights of our African wildlife tour!

Cristina Garcia

Zoologist and wildlife photographer. She has worked in the field with jackals, wolves, cheetahs, & leopards. She serves on the Board of Directors of SEE Turtles, a non-profit sea turtle conservation organization.

Read her posts at Travel For Wildlife and see more of her work at Truly Wild, & Our Wild Yard.

Namibia Kayak Tours

Wednesday 26th of March 2014

Wow, fantastic article. It is always great to find these old articles on the internet. Very rewarding for our company. With which of our guides did you go out?

Cristina Garcia

Wednesday 26th of March 2014

Hi! Our guide (the owner of Namibia Kayak Tours) was supposed to have taken us but he had just recently hurt his foot (or maybe it was his arm?) so his father in law (which sometimes works as a guide) took us out on that incredible day.

Matt Gibson

Thursday 5th of July 2012

This looks fantastic! I was supposed to go kayaking with humpback whales in Hudson's Bay this year, but the trip fell through ;(


Thursday 5th of July 2012

Oh no! Kayaking with whales sounds fantastic! We are editing our video from seal kayaking this weekend. I hope it can be up next week. We got pretty sweet footage of seals swimming underwater. They are so curious and sweet. Next time we will try and swim with them.