No seriously… just look at these cuties!
At the start of the day you have it all planned out, you know your route and you head out. That’s all wonderful but one thing you need to know about visiting Cape Town is that no matter how hard you plan… expect to make changes along the way.
We African’s are used to living on the spur of the moment, we run on “African Time” and you’ll hear us often tell someone in a response to the question “When” we say “Now now” … aka some time in the near to distant future, we don’t know when but it will happen at some point.
The reason for this is we are used to our plans changing, we adapt and go with the flow more easily than many other nations. We are all from Nomadic stock, the whole rainbow nation is.
Because of places like Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town.
You’ll be driving along your merry way heading out to Cape Point for a leisurely day of beautiful sights and a delicious lunch when someone in the car will shout unceremoniously “TURN AROUND there’s penguins!”. Wham you will find yourself turning around all excited, parking and walking along the little road following the signs entitled “Penguins on the beach”.
You get to the entrance, hand over your $5 (Nope not joking) and promise not to take any penguins home with you (You must resist) and you start your short journey to the wooden walkways. Before you even get to see any of the cute penguins you are treated to this view. I have more shots but I won’t spoil it for you. Please keep in mind it was the middle of winter and if you look really closely you may be able to see the little sprinklings of snow on the back mountains.
Then as you walk along keep your eyes peeled because these cuties hide out, burrow and sleep in amongst the bushes. They’re an inquisitive bunch and like to pop out to see what fashions the latest humans are wearing. That said the one below is kind of saying “What you looking at huh, I’m busy here…”
This is just the start, the Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony is inundated with Penguins of all age groups. If you want a serious awww moment keep walking down the wooden walkway and you’ll see these cuties.
Come on these little tykes are serious Awww material! They lose their fluff as they get older and many that we saw were in different stages of becoming “adult”. It makes them all look unique and as if they’re wearing fur coats!
Finally after a very leisurely stroll you will come across the main beach, all humans are not permitted to exit on to the beach. I know the temptation is there and although I am sure it looks easy, SanParks and Cape Townians take their wildlife very seriously. Any infraction on our animals will tend to get you a bigger jail sentence than crimes like robbery. I wish I was joking but I am not. Animals for us are sacred.
What is the big deal about African Penguins?
They were reclassified in 2010 from a Vulnerable to Endangered status. In the latest penguin census (I told you we take these things seriously) it was indicated that there has been a loss of more than 80% of breeding pairs in just over 50 years.
When the colony at Boulder’s Beach was first established they had close to 4000 birds. Now the numbers sit at around 2000. Why? Because of oil and marine pollution, global warming on fish and their movements, irresponsible tourism along with … wait for it… people birdnapping them to be PETS!
Why you should visit the Penguins?
I’ll be blunt. Every person who visits contributes to their survival, eco tourism is important in every country and to walk away knowing you did some good… it feels awesome.
Many tourists don’t know about the colony and often skip it for other more famous sights. This for me makes it all the more appealing, less crowded and even more a “I need it on my list” kind of place.
Did I mention they’re really cute?
If you’re going to be in South Africa for more than a week and plan to do lots of outdoors activities, hiking, game reserves, etc it might be worth your while buying the Wild Card for $40 for a single or $60 for a couple.
This’ll get you into all of the official parks within South Africa, including the game parks where you can drive your own car and see all the awesome elephants, lions, etc.
Know of any other Penguin Colonies we can visit? Let us know via comments, we’d love to know your thoughts and add any new ones on to our “To Visit” list!