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

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12 thoughts on “WPC: Tour Guide – Let’s find the penguins

  1. Beautiful scenery. It’s impressive that the population has increased, but habitat and food availability is key. I recently saw a study about Antarctic penguins depending heavily on the oily anchovies for survival, as opposed to krill or other fish, which are less caloric.

  2. I remember this place before the penguins arrived. A popular beach for swimming, so much so it was almost impossible to find a space to park along the roadside. It is lovely to get so close to them, but they can be very smelly in the summer months!!

  3. Liz, another spectacular scene through one of your posts. I love how you educate me. Penguins in South Africa?
    I’m dumbfounded. You keep me on my open-mindedness toes!!! Thanks.

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