Do Penguins Live on the Beach?

Many years ago I got into a huge argument with a South African friend. He tried to have a laugh at my expense with his audacious claims that penguins lived on the hot sunny beaches of South Africa. I of course knew this was preposterous, penguins can only survive in cold icy conditions or at the Edinburgh Zoo!

I turns out that I embarrassed myself, I was 100% wrong. Google informed me that penguins do live in Africa. Ever since that episode I’ve wanted to go and see the penguins sun bathing on the hot sandy beaches in South Africa, I hope they regularly use sun screen!

The opportunity to travel to SA came up with work and I jumped on it. 10,000km later and I was there. Isn’t it incredible that a journey which once took months, and held a high chance of fatality, could be done in less than a day! How big is our world these days?

Best Experiences in South Africa

South Africa is a country with a troubled past, my time there was very sheltered. The only insight I got into the vast inequalities was a view of Mitchell’s Plain, an enormous township (slum), that overflows from Capetown’s suburbs like an oil spill, obliterating all natural beauty in it’s wake for miles and miles and miles.

During my visit I stayed in Stellenbosch, this sleepy town is located less than a hour from the township yet it felt like a whole separate world. Famous for it’s wine growing region Stellenbosch is a countryside retreat for South Africa’s wealthy. The mountain’s look like they have been painted by Monet, they thrust into sky reaching for the sun. Stellenbosch is an incredibly beautiful spot and it ranks highly on my list of places that I could retire to.


However I wasn’t hunting for a retirement home, I’d come here to see the penguins! These mischievous little butlers live in the cool waters of False Bay and can be easily seen from a place called Boulders Beach. On the drive I passed through a small region called Simon’s Town the land had been gifted to the community by an eccentric man called Simon who had decreed that it would for ever be illegal to sell or consume alcohol there. His law is still in force today!


Experience the Adventure

After miles of winding road which overlooks the azure waters of False Bay I finally arrived at Boulders Beach. This was the moment of truth! Had Google been lying to me? Was all this penguin business an elaborate hoax? Was I in the matrix? I rushed down to the water and could not believe my eyes! There wasn’t one or two penguins on the beach, there were hundreds. It was incredible to see these odd, proud little creatures in the wild. They would march solemnly into the waves, their little legs waddling awkwardly, until they were deep enough to slide gracefully into the surf and begin their hunt for fish.


The whole trip was worth the one hour I spent on the beach marveling at the penguins there. Anyone who visits the Western Cape of South Africa and doesn’t go see the penguins is committing a crime! Talking of being in South Africa and missing out on experiences, while I was there I didn’t have the time to Cage Diving with the Great White Sharks. So I suppose that I will just have to visit again!


Experience travels in another way. Experience gifts by Tinggly:

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