The Octopus’s Garden


Krista poses the question this week: “If given the choice, what would you rather be doing, right now?”   Imagine a place – a “Stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off” kind of a place where you can escape the hurley-burley and be amazed and awed by a completely different world.  False Bay here in the southern peninsula of Cape Town is a wondrous place, where the influence of two ocean currents – the warm Agulhas and the cold Benguela mingle and create a flourishing ecosystem.

It’s been a while since i dipped below the waters, but recently my interest is inspired through the marvellous Blue Planet II series where the episode the ” Green Seas” features the extraordinary creatures living in the kelp forest including the cunning behaviour of a smart octopus.

WPC: Rather



Haemanthus – Paintbrush lilies


Like symbols of defiance, the gorgeous blooms of the paintbrush lilies are putting on a show in the midst of one of the worst droughts in years.  These geophytes cope  by storing moisture in their bulbs through times of restricted water ensuring the plants needs in producing the next generation through the cycle of flowers and fruit.

WPC: Tour Guide – Let’s find the penguins

Playing tour guide, my first stop is this vantage point overlooking the splendid vista of False Bay.  Simon’s Town lays at the foothills, and way in the distance on the opposite side is Cape Hangklip.  The small town bustles with a distinct naval ‘air’ having been established as a naval base by the British in 1799 and where today the SA Navy is stationed.  We’ll pass through it, as we’re on our way to visit Boulders to see the African penguin colony.

The Boulders area is dotted with impressively sculpted granite rocks sheltering discreetly placed sandy coves.  Here a colony of African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) have found a comfortable nesting area.   From just two breeding pairs in 1982 the population numbers have increased to about 2200 in recent years.

We will venture down the boardwalk to see the main nursery.

As you will note the houses are quite nearby – this is as close to an ‘urban’ colony as can be imagined.  The area is fenced off, but often the penguins stray beyond the boundaries and care must be taken driving or parking to check if all is clear.

Sadly the African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species, and the birds are in considerably more trouble than rhinos.   With the decline in shoal fish such as pilchards and anchovy they could be heading for extinction in the not too distant future.

To end the tour, a nod to the eminent granite Rock Stars, all of 540 million year old. A pathway follows along the coast for a nice leisurely stroll and swim to top off the experience.

WPC: Tour Guide