Waking up to the sound of braying donkeys is not exactly soothing, and actually quite confusing if you’re nowhere near a donkey. Shaking off the last traces of sleep, I opened the windows to let the fresh sea air in as the sun rose over Simon’s Town. Of course, the comical sounds I heard were in fact the chatty penguins on Seaforth Beach (discussing their morning swim over breakfast, I assume).
To view the penguins, seals, and all the other exquisite sea creatures that frequent our shores here in Cape Town is a marvellous experience. However, we can no longer be ignorant of the many challenges facing our marine wildlife. It’s more important than ever to visit them responsibly and wisely in order to contribute to the conservation of these amazing animals.
The African penguin, also aptly named jackass penguins after the sounds they make, is the only penguin that nests in South Africa. They are endangered and have been facing a drastic decline in population numbers over the years, a problem that has got conservationists seriously concerned.
The biggest contributing factors to their decrease in numbers are – surprise, surprise- human activity. A drop in food sources due to the overfishing of sardines and anchovies, as well as the destruction of their nests as a result of guano mining, have made it near impossible for these flightless birds to breed, reports Oceana.
Irresponsible tourists have often been seen scaring penguins and invading their habitat, carelessly stepping on nests or chasing them into the water during moulting season, all in the name of the perfect selfie. Youngsters have even thrown rocks at them during “games,” with parents doing nothing about it.
Last but not least, oil spills contaminating the water are extremely detrimental to all sea life and leads to the deaths of thousands of animals.
It’s with a new pair of eyes that I look at these beautiful birds now. People like the team at the Shark Warrior Adventure Centre work tirelessly to keep them safe and find new ways to mitigate the harm humans have done and continue doing, all while providing guests with the most fun you’ll have all year.
The sea activities are all guided by the Shark Warrior Adventure Centre and take place in the marine protected area of the Table Mountain National Park. Snorkellers will glide through the grand kelp forests to encounter the mysterious life beneath the waves.
The 3-day package includes a snorkelling safari in wetsuits through the kelp forests accompanied by a trained guide, kayaking in the sheltered bays, and ample opportunity to visit the penguins living on the beaches, all while the guides share their wealth of knowledge.
Two nights’ luxury accommodation with breakfast is included at the uniquely located beachfront villa that is surrounded by fynbos, with unobstructed views across the world-famous Boulders Beach penguin colony.
Located en route to Cape Point, Tintswalo Boulders has a rooftop pool overlooking the ocean and a garden pathway that leads to the Boulders Beach boardwalk and the entrance to the SANParks penguin viewing area. The villa offers spacious living and dining areas, a central courtyard with a fire pit and generous terraces with sea views. The nine luxurious suites have en-suite bathrooms and are individually decorated and named after ships to pay homage to Simon’s Town maritime history.
Package rate for SA residents: R5250 per person sharing including 2 nights’ accommodation, coffees & teas, breakfast daily, one brunch, one lunch, one dinner and two water-based activities, as well as afternoon snacks on day one, and canapés and a sunset cocktail on day 2. Valid until 19 December 2021.
For more information, contact them here.
Pictures: Tintswalo Boulders