Buffel on Buffels Bay Beach, Cape Point.

Southern elephant seal finds a beach to moult.

Buffel, the famous Cape Townian southern elephant seal, has chosen Buffels Bay beach to moult this year. I would too if a beach was named after me!

On the 7th February 2020, Buffel tried to come ashore on the rocks at Sandy Bay, but returned to sea. On the 13th Feb he climbed out the water onto the slipway at Buffels Bay, Cape Point, and quickly settled on the beach to moult.

Buffel, Elephant seal, Cape Point, Animal Ocean Seal Snorkeling
Buffel on the rocks near Sandy Bay. Photographer: Unknown
Buffel in Cape Point at the start of his moult. Image: Steven Benjamin
Skin peeling from Buffel’s face a few days into the moult. Image: Steve Benjamin
Buffel, Elephant seal, Cape Point, Animal Ocean Seal Snorkeling
After a month of not eating, Buffel is looking slimmer. Image: Steven Benjamin

Buffel is easily recognisable by the scar above his left eye and the yellow tag on his hind flipper. His coat is still fluffy and light in colour but in the next few weeks that will peel off. He will become itchy and irritable, causing his tail to flick sand over his body. Last time he chose Fish Hoek beach to moult on, causing huge crowds to form around him as people didn’t know what to make of this massive creature relaxing on the beach (blog). Many thought he was ill. This is normal elephant seal behaviour, it is just not normal to have it happening here in Cape Town.

By the 12th March Buffel was nearing the end of his moult and he left the beach shortly after. Another successful month on the beach for our unusual local.

If you’d like to see Buffel for yourself, join us on Seal Snorkeling trip.

Check out past blog entries about Buffel – Animal Ocean Diary