Cape Cross, or Kaap Kruis in Afrikaans, Das Kreuzkap in German literally means "Cape of the Cross" and is a promontory that juts out to the Atlantic Ocean from the Namib Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia.
It is a protected natural area of 60 sq km and was established in 1968; here is where it is located the largest colony of Cape fur seals in the world, this is why Cape Cross is famous and attracts many visitors every year; this area is in fact one of the most visited in Namibia.
It is located about 60 km North of the town of Henties Bay and easily visited in one day by Swakopmund, that is 120 km away; just take the C34, that crosses the Dorob National Parkand runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean.
A gate, open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm from July to mid-November and from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm in the rest of the year, allows access to the road that leads to the colony of fur seals, before proceeding however you need to pay for the ticket in the small building that is on your right.
A short road leads to the parking lot where you can park, already from that position you can see the Cape fur seals that sometimes venture up to here.
From the parking lot, a walkway, made of recycled plastic, allows you to see more closely the fur seals massed on the beach; it is important to keep a safe distance from these animals as they could become aggressive if they feel threatened.
It is interesting to stop and watch them while resting on the beach or nursing puppies or while swimming in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
But Cape Cross is not only where the Cape fur seal colony is located, it is also a place of historical interest; it owes its name to a stone cross, that the Portuguese navigator Diego Cao placed here in 1486, when he landed on this inhospitable coast, while he was looking for a sea route to the Indies.
The original cross is located in Berlin, while in the original place it is possible to see a replica.
Cape Cross in the past became a center for hunting the fur seals for their skins and a gathering place for guano to be exported to Europe as a fertilizer; now these activities are no longer carried out and no one lives in Cape Cross.
The Cape Cross Nature Reserve contains within it different types of land: sandy beaches, a salt depression and rocky inlets.
From the point of view of the vegetation the Cape Cross Nature Reserve belongs to the biome of the Namib Desert, the soil is scarcely vegetated and the Zygophyllum stapfii (dollar) and the Arthraerua leubnitziae (pencil bush) are the two dominant species; also some species of lichens are present.
In addition to the Cape fur seals in the reserve are other animals such as brown hyenas, black-backed jackals, the lesser flamingos, the greater flamingos, the red phalaropes, the Damara terns, the Cape teals, the Caspian terns, the small crested grebes and the African black oystercatchers.
From Cape Cross, going inland, that is to the East, you reach the Messum Craterand the Brandberg Mountain, while continuing North you reach the Skeleton Coast.