What can a penguin-lover do in Cape Town to get the full penguin experience? From meeting penguins face-to-face and taking a penguin-themed roadtrip, to penguin socks and rockhopper beers that help save penguins - this is the definitive guide of everything penguin-themed that you can do in Cape Town. Whether with your family, partner or solo, there's an amazing penguin-filled adventure to be had! Waddle you do first?
1. Join their waddle
Every day, after the 13h00 Kelp Forest Exhibit feeding time or presentation, it's time for the rockhopper penguins to waddle back through the Aquarium to get from their morning swim to their beach. Be sure to catch this parade of cuteness in action.
*Times can vary, be sure to listen for announcements during your Aquarium visit.
2. Penguin Experience
If the idea of an excited penguin showering you with affection sounds appealing, you can meet our too-cute rescue rockies through an awesome interactive Penguin Experience. This experience is all about learning more about these animals, the world that they come from, and the human-made threats that they face.
3. Watch them swim in a kelp forest
4. Join the birds for lunch
The Aquarium's African penguins might seem shy at first, but when a meal is on the cards all their innate excitement comes out.
Every day at 11h30 and 14h30 you can visit the African penguin colony in the Penguin Exhibit to watch our animal keepers feed and care for these birds.
Thanks @aquarist_ayrton for the above clip.
5. Visit the Boulders Beach colony
Take a short drive to Simon's Town on the Cape Peninsula and you can visit the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony, the world's most famous colony of these endangered seabirds. The colony is managed by SANParks, who work closely with penguin conservation organisations to protect these animals.
Did you know? Boulders Beach was not one of the African penguin's natural colonies historically. Penguins fled to this beach in the 1980s to escape the destruction of their habitat by humans. Unfortunately, now they are at risk again.
6. Dive with the penguins
The Aquarium offers the chance to dive with penguins in the Kelp Forest Exhibit to Advanced Open Water Divers, and we offer introductory diving courses to newbies. New divers, or those a little out of practice, may want to pay the penguins a visit in their natural habitat - plenty of dive sites around Robben Island and in False Bay offer the chance to swim with penguins. If scuba diving isn't your hobby (yet), be sure to give us a call and change that.
Thanks @aquarist_ayrton for the above clip.
7. Take a penguin roadtrip
Your penguin-loving adventure doesn't have to be limited to Cape Town. Take a road trip to the Stony Point Nature Reserve penguin colony near Betty's Bay to see the largest publically accessible African penguin colony in the world. Stony Point is managed by CapeNature, and the reserve boasts more than just penguins - four species of uniquely South African cormorants, endangered lizards and more call this part of the world home.
8. Take a tour of SANCCOB or APSS
The Western Cape is home to two of the world's leading penguin conservation and rehabilitation facilities - SANCCOB in Table View and APSS in Gansbaai. SANCCOB has a long and incredibly successful history of African penguin rescues and APSS, although much newer, is proving its worth as part of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.
Both SANCCOB and APSS offer tours of their facilities to be public - an excellent way to learn about what it takes to save our precious penguins.
9. Buy stuff that helps penguins - you know you like stuff
One of the best things you can do to help penguins is to only pick sustainable seafood from the WWF SASSI Green List, but sometimes being a penguin-lover means you need a souvenir. Here are a few of our favourite examples:
- Adopt a penguin from SANCCOB.
- Try a Boston Breweries Rock Hoppa IPA - R1 of each beer sold is donated to SANCCOB.
- Get penguin-themed Waddle On Socks - R3 is donated to SANCCOB for every pair sold.
- Build a penguin penthouse - R500 buys a home for a breeding pair of African penguins from APSS.
- Know another product that deserves to be on this list? Comment below.
Last, but certainly not least, the best way to make penguins a permanent part of your life is to volunteer your time to help ensure their future. There are a few ways you can volunteer:
- Volunteer at the Two Oceans Aquarium and help create awareness about the issues affecting the penguin's habitat.
- Join SANCCOB's local and international volunteer programmes.
- Support coastal cleanups, like Trash Bash - every little bit helps.