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A journey to South Africa’s penguin colony

During my South Africa road trip, I have visited the Boulders Beach with a colony of penguins. Here’s some interesting facts that I have found out about this cute animals.

Nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, Boulders has become world famous for its thriving colony of African Penguins and magnificent wind-sheltered, safe beach.

Although set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where these cute penguins (Spheniscus demersus) can be observed at close range, wandering freely in on the protected beach. The colony has currently about 2’200 birds and they love to hide in the bushes above the high-water mark on the one side, and the clear waters of False Bay on the other. The most popular spot to see the animals is Boulders Beach but the penguins are best viewed from Foxy Beach, where boardwalks meters of the birds. The entry costs 6- 10 dollars (depending on the visiting month).  For more information visit www.tmnp.co.za

Photography owned by Travel Degree.

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HERE ARE SOME PENGUIN FACTS:

  • Of the 1,5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th century. The uncontrolled harvesting of penguin eggs and guano scraping nearly drove the species to extinction.
  • These penguins make a funny donkey-like braying call and therefore they were previously named Jackass Penguin. 
  • They mainly eat squid and shoal fish (pilchards, anchovy)
  • Their enemies in this region are sharks, cape fur seals, and occasionally killer whales (Orca). Land-based enemies are mongoose, genet, domestic cats and dogs. The Kelp Gulls steel the penguins’ eggs and newborn chicks.
  • The swim with a speed of seven kilometers per hour.
  • Their distinctive black and white coloring is a camouflage – white for underwater predators looking upwards, black for predators looking down onto the water.
  • Peak molting time is during December. The nesting begins from February to August.
  • Penguins may look cute and innocent but they have very sharp beaks and can cause serious injury if they bite, so keep a safe distance.

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