Envision yourself swimming with these adorable creatures and being able to touch and play with them? Sounds amazing, right? Unfortunately, it was total wishful thinking on my part.
Living in a city that offers so many things to do at once can really be a daunting task to say the least. What’s more upsetting is that tourists who come from all over the world tend to visit these monumental excursions before I even get a chance too and, I’ve been living in Cape Town all my life. Besides the annoying voice echoing in the back my head about what a bad Capetownian I am, this past Saturday afternoon was when I decided to put my foot down and visited Boulders, situated just outside Simon’s Town. But besides the gorgeous beach everyone always speaks about, it was the little tuxedoed chaps that I wanted to see most.
Just a little history background, since the rapid growth of the penguin colony in 1983 in False Bay, there were plenty of food for them to eat. However, due too extensive commercial fishing, marine pollution and habitat destruction in the area, these three mani activities had negatively affected the size of the colony. By 1910, it was estimated that there were approximately 1.5 million African Penguins left; a century later, the aquatic bird was classified as an endangered species. Today, there are only about 26 000 breeding pairs left around the world.
From the scorching sun to eventually going barefoot, we strolled along the wooden broadway leading to the Visitors Centre. Of course, the view was nothing short of majestical; penguins swimming amongst the people and the remarkable sight of the crystal-clear ocean. Another kilometre or so of walking, you would find a few penguins going about their daily business: preening and sunning themselves, guarding a nest, waddling along the sand like an old married couple and then transforming into sleek black-and-white torpedoes as soon as they enter the water.
With so many tourists coming to visit the little creatures we thought that we might be standing in a long queue. However, it was such a quick process to pay the R70.00 per adult ticket so we walked right through. As much as I was trilled to finally be experiencing see these creatures up close, I was a bit disappointed by how much time we actually spent there (about 20 minutes to be exact). I imagined that we could touch or be really close to them but as we walked towards the crowds of tourist, you could only view them from afar.
Funny fact, whenever the penguins heard the click of a camera, I swear they were posing for pictures, though a word of warning: don’t hassle the penguins or try to touch them – they may look cute but they can be grouchy and those beaks are razor sharp. Afterward wandering the boardwalks, we opted to actually put our feet in the water but the beach was at full capacity and the high tide was already on the horizon so we had to skip the whole beach, up close experience.
Visit Sanparks website here for more information here.
Until the next adventure.