Before we get to the penguins of Simon’s Town, allow me to tell you a little story… The first time I went speed dating a rather handsome chap sat opposite me and asked me a question:
puppies or penguins?
Now, I’m certain he thought that was a completely innocent question to ask, but what he hadn’t anticipated was my rather obsessive love of penguins. I can’t completely remember my answer (I was nervous and drunk and it was nearly thirteen years ago) but I went into great detail about a book by Jill Tomlinson called Penguins Progress which was one of my absolute favourites when I was growing up and told the story of a family of Emperor Penguins.
I could tell you all about it, but then you wouldn’t want to date me either and we have a lot of good stuff to come yet. So I’ll get to it.
Right at the top of my list of things to see while I was in Cape Town was the 2,500 African penguins that have made their home at Boulders Colony in Simon’s Town.
Back in 1982 two pairs of penguins began to lay eggs on a beach in Simon’s Town. And just like that, there was a penguin colony.
The number of penguins there has been growing by around 60% each year since then. So now, when you go there it is a wonderland of penguin cuteness.
Why Simon’s Town?
Turns out most commercial fishing in False Bay (which is where Simon’s Town is) has been banned – making it the perfect feeding ground for penguins. On a side note there are quite a lot of sharks in False Bay now as well – any guesses what the sharks are eating – don’t you just love the circle of life!
Not to mention the fact that Simon’s Town is absolutely bloody beautiful, so perhaps they just like the view.
Fascinating African Penguin Facts
- The African Penguin is listed as an endangered species
- Like humans have unique fingerprints, the black spots on a penguin’s chest is their unique ‘fingerprint’.
- The pink above a penguin’s eye is a sweat gland. The hotter the penguin gets the pinker the sweat gland gets.
- The yolk of a penguin egg isn’t yellow, its blue
- When a penguin twists its head from side to side, it is not a sign of curiosity, but a sign of warning before they lunge to bite.
- Their distinctive black and white colouring is a vital form of camouflage – white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down into the water.
- They can swim at an average speed of seven kilometres per hour and can stay submerged for up to two minutes.
Strolling along the boardwalks at Foxy Beach my heart nearly exploded with the cuteness of the penguins. The nesting, swimming, waddling, tree-climbing, playing, fighting, mating, sunbathing, posing, feeding penguins. It is a truly amazing sight.
I took approximately 17 million pictures – here are some of my favourites…
If you’re spending anytime at all in Cape Town you should definitely pay a visit to the penguins of Simon’s Town.