The Southern Elephant seal that made himself at home on Fish Hoek Beach earlier this year has returned for the summer, this time choosing Duiker Island in Hout Bay as his vacation spot.

“Buffel” as he is fondly known by locals, became famous in Cape Town as he was often seen lazing around Fish Hoek Beach in January 2019. Now locals can catch a glimpse of the celebrity seal as he relaxes on his newly-chosen beach in Hout Bay.

Animal Ocean, a tour company in Cape Town, often sees Buffel during excursions. “It’s great to have him back in the area and we are seeing him daily on our snorkeling trips. He first arrived on Duiker Island on the 14 September this year and settled into his familiar patterns,” says Animal Ocean owner Steve Benjamin.

Buffel had shied away from the public eye in the middle of the year so many are happy to hear that he is back in town. Since his return, Animal Ocean managed to capture the first underwater footage of him enjoying the kelp forests.

“Buffel normally hangs out in back of a shallow bay, which is not accessible to us. It’s only when he comes out into deeper water that I have been able to approach him and film,” Benjamin adds.

Here’s their awesome footage of buffel in action:


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BUFFEL is back – Cape Towns Sealebrity is once again hanging out on Duiker Island. He is larger than ever and looking like he will stay for a while. Buffel was last seen sun bathing on @fishhoekbeach for 26 days straight. The beach was packed with people coming to see him. Southern Elephant seals are not normal on our shoreline ! Here is Buffels history, as I think it might of played out. He was born in Cape Point in 2012 and tagged in Buffels Bay in 2014, and got his name. He was seen a few times in Hermanus and Paternoster and popped into Duiker Island in 2016. In 2017 and 2018 he stayed with us for months and we got to see him growing up. That makes him about 8 years old now. This is the first underwater video footage I’ve managed to get of him, shared with @jameslowe783. You will see Buffel looking down in the first clip, he’s looking at James who is below Buffel in the kelp. What do you think, will he stick around ? Will he moult on Fish Hoek beach again. Most importantly do you have other sightings of him ? @fishhoekbeach #buffeltheseal @caperadd @capetownmag @capetowngreenmap

A post shared by Animal Ocean (@animal_ocean) on

This is not Buffel’s first visit to Duiker Island. He reportedly visited the area in December 2016 when he was a young seal. According to Animal Ocean, he seems to return each year, having made visits in 2017 and 2018 as well.

Buffel is sure to stick around for a while and if he does leave again, a return visit won’t be too far down the line.

If you’re interested in snorkeling or the ocean animals of the Cape, check out: and

Picture: Steve Benjamin

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