When visiting South Africa, I never fail to make a trip to Simonstown on False Bay and to look at the penguins in Bolders Colony nearby. It’s a unique opportunity to observe and mingle with the African penguins which have made their home there since 1982 when the first two pairs happened to settle there and breed. Nobody really knows where they came from and why they chose this particular spot, but obviously they liked it and had come to stay.

africanpenguin3Soon the penguins multiplied and literally lived wild, roaming the surrounding areas at their leisure and annoying the residents because they are a noisy lot and loved to eat all the greens and vegetable. Something needed to be done to protect the birds as well as the residents and that’s how the park of Bolders Colony came into being.

For a modest entry fee of R15, you can walk along raised wooden boardwalks and watch the penguins from above. They waddle along underneath and on the beach.

But, I said: “mingle”, and that’s what you can do on the beach. You are not allowed to touch or feed the birds and you wouldn’t really want to because they have very sharp, black beaks which can cause serious injury when they bite you.

However, you can swim alongside them, but be careful not to annoy them because otherwise you may get a painful nip in your leg. Makes a change from swimming with dolphins or stingrays and it’s so funny to watch their antics. Oh, and before I forget: the by now more than 3000 penguins do have a quite strong odor.

inka125Inka is German and used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Spain. Retired two years ago because I wanted to be a traveler and writer and now live between Didim/Turkey and Miami with plenty of travel in between. Next destinations: Istanbul, New York and Petra/Jordan. Inka’s first novel has just been published and can be found here