15 Aug 2017

THIS YEAR’S CAPE HOMEMAKERS EXPO IS A TRIBUTE TO YOUR HOME – ON AT THE CTICC FROM 31 AUGUST TO 3 SEPTEMBER

The 2017 Cape HOMEMAKERS Expo will celebrate this year’s theme A Tribute to Your Home with an impressive range of products and professional services under one roof from 31 August to 3 September at the CTICC.

Packed with inspirational ideas and features, including highlights such as the live by DESIGN, take it OUTSIDE, the Home | Tuis Theatre, the MARKET and Interior Design Challenge, the Expo will offer never-to-be-repeated competitions, deals and specials – the perfect opportunity to explore, consider and purchase all the things you need for your home and garden projects.

live by DESIGN offers a hand-picked collection of on-trend interiors, bespoke décor and fabrics, as well as beautiful soft furnishings for the home.

Turn your outdoors into an oasis at take it OUTSIDE. Showcasing alfresco lifestyle ideas – from outdoor furniture, homeware, cookware and stylish entertaining, to garden décor and tools of the trade.

Pick up insider knowledge on practical DIY, easy home makeovers and great culinary tips straight from the professionals at the Home | Tuis Theatre – your practical guide to beautiful living.

Calling all foodies, the MARKET boasts a tempting selection of mouth-watering treats, boutique wines and artisanal gin and craft beer – everything to tickle your taste buds.

Back by popular demand, the Interior Design Challenge will see two design teams battle it out to create the ultimate interior.

The Cape HOMEMAKERS Expo is proudly presented by HOMEMAKERS, the biggest home enhancement exhibition group in South Africa, presenting four home lifestyle events in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth, reaching 125 000 visitors every year.

Tickets are available at the door or from Quicket (http://www.quicket.co.za/). Adults pay R80, pensioners R70 and kids under 12 enter free. The Expo will be open Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 6pm.

For more information, call us on (021) 511 2800 or visit www.homemakersonline.co.za/exhibitions. To book a stand, simply email expocape@homemakers-sa.co.za.

 

9 Aug 2017

One of South Africa’s oldest towns and Naval base, Simon’s Town (sometimes misspelt as Simons Town) is a picturesque and historical town where many happy memories are waiting to be made just 35km outside Cape Town. From the Toy and Navy museums to the eateries and shops, here’s what you need to see while in Simon’s Town.

Activities

Penguin watching

Visiting the African Penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach is high on everyone’s must-see list and you simply can’t leave without saying hello to our monochrome friends. Boulders is a part of the South African National Parks and all along the penguin viewing path you’ll be able to see penguins in their natural habitat. At Foxy Beach you can also have a swim with the penguins!

Read more about Boulder’s Beach.

Penguin_swimming_at_boulders_beach_cape_town

Boat Trips

Awaken your inner sailor and head to the seas where you can go whale watching (between June and November) and appreciate the splendour of Cape Point from the ocean.

Visit www.boatcompany.co.za for more

Explore the museums

The most affordable entertainment you’re likely to find is at the town’s museums. The Simon’s Town Museum, SA Naval Museum and Warrior Toy Museum have collections that will have you reminiscing.  You can delve into the heart of the Muslim community’s heritage by visiting the Heritage Museum in King George’s Way.

Simon's Town's Warrior Toy Museums

The Warrior Toy Museum in Simon’s Town will take you down memory lane. Picture by Estee de Villiers

Do the audio tour

Walk the main road and explore the local sites with the help of audio guide and local  Maureen Miller. Hear interesting facts about this town’s maritime history and traditions as you enjoy a leisurely 30-minute circular route of 2km. At under R30 ($2), this trip is super affordable. 

Download the Voice Map app and the Simon’s Town Tour at voicemap.me.

Salute Just Nuisance

On Jubilee Square, you’ll find the statue of the Great Dane Just Nuisance who is a legend in these parts. Enlisted in the 1930s, Just Nuisance is the most famous dog in Naval History. There’s also a special display for him at the Simon’s Town Museum and his grave site on Red Hill is also a frequent stop for visitors.

Just NuisanceThe statue of Just Nuisance on Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town

Go diving or kayaking

Let your arms do the work and kayak along the coastline to visit the penguins at Boulders Beach. If you’re looking to get into the water, dive with the experts of Pisces Divers and see how beautiful the waters of Simon’s Town are from below.

For more info visit piscesdivers.co.za & kayakcapetown.co.za

Shark Cage Diving

If you want to see the famed great white shark up close in False Bay, then you’re spoilt for choice as companies like African Shark Eco Charters, Shark Explorers and Shark Expeditions Apex offer an array of shark diving experiences – all setting out from Simon’s Town.

Visit www.ultimate-animals.com | www.sharkexplorers.com/ | www.apexpredators.com

Get a bite to eat

Fresh Fish

Dine on a seafood platter, oysters, prawns or the catch of the day at local favourite Bertha’s as you look out onto the harbour. For classic fish and chips, check out the Salty Sea Dog just across the way in Wharf Street  If you’re heading towards Cape Point, stop over at the Black Marlin for great views and a relaxing atmosphere as you enjoy some fresh seafood.

Bertha's restaurant

Coffee, pastries and something sweet

The Sweetest Thing offers an exceptional array of mouth-watering cakes, pastries, pies and sweet treats that are proudly local. Stop by Monocle & Mermaid for a hot cup of coffee, pastries or wrap and browse their local art and music on sale while soaking up their charming décor.

Shopping

Visit the Jubilee Square for all kind of craft and souvenirs and pop by the Little Shop on the Square for more. There’s also a great selection of vintage, second-hand and charity stores along the main road, so keep your eyes and ears open for a bargain or ten.

For more information visit www.simonstown.com 

Nothing prepares you for your first whale and the impact that seeing it has upon you. Perhaps it is their immensity. Definitely it is the whales’ authenticity and the absolute trust they show towards us. But mostly it is the overwhelming sense of awe, of joy, of having been touched by something greater than oneself that translates into 13 million people around the world enjoying organised whale watching annually.

WHALE WATCHING IS ONE OF THE WESTERN CAPE’S BIGGEST DRAW CARDS

For those of you who haven’t yet sat in a boat, or stood on land, and marvelled as a whale the size of a jumbo jet rises out of the water just in front of you, or glides past and ‘catches’ your eye, then you have yet to become obsessed with watching these gentle giants.

For others, for whom a commune with the whales is an annual pilgrimage; an event that gains the kind of precedence bordering on compulsive, a visit with these mammals of the deep takes on an element of ritual and renewal. The experience of a whale’s willingness to share themselves with humans, despite the atrocities we have and continue to employ against them, is humbling.

For an unforgettable experience we recommend Simon’s Town Boat Company to take you on a magical journey and see not only Southern Right Whales up close, but so much more.

The western half of False Bay – stretching from Strandfontein all the way to Cape Point is one of the finest boat based whale watching sites in South Africa. This area is sheltered from the open ocean, surrounded by stunning views & provides an ideal winter home for the Southern Right Whales. They visit each year between June & November to mate, calve, or simply to get away from the icy Antarctic winter. Interacting with these gigantic & magnificent mammals (the size of 12 elephants) alongside our boat is an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Be ready to photograph one breaching or giving you a friendly wave with its tail!
Sightings of Brydes whales, Humpback whales, Orcas and Dolphins are also common. 

Trips depart daily at 10:30 & 14:00. Booking is advisable!
This tour is operated from our marina by Ocean View Masiphumelele Fishing (PTY) Ltd. who is the sole permit holder for boat based whale watching in False Bay (Permit No. 0806336).

Visit their website, www.boatcompany.co.za, to make your online booking.

 

Credit: boatcompany.co.za & SAvenues.com

26 Julie 2017

Cape Town was recently voted the second cheapest city to live in the world, although locals may beg to differ. Luckily we’ve put together a guide to how you can navigate the Mother City in a truly wallet-friendly way.

Our advice: print this guide out and keep it in your ever-so-empty back pocket.

CONQUER CAPE TOWN’S GREAT OUTDOORS

Take a full moon hike up Lion’s Head

A fan of hiking and outdoor activity? We’ve got the scoop on of Cape Town’s finest outdoor experiences. Between Table Mountain and Signal Hill you’ll find a mountain steeped in romance and tradition. Climb the mountain just before sunset and enjoy a picnic with a few good folks and the breathtaking view of Camps Bay and Cape Town, basking under the lighting of a majestic Cape Town full moon.

Swing on the Sea Point Promenade

A visit to Sea Point is not complete without taking in the crisp ocean air along the stunning seaside promenade. The promenade is frequented by walkers, cyclists and skaters – a sunset jog is a fantastic idea. Can’t afford an outing to a theme park? Get in touch with your inner-child and swing high in the air at one of the grassy parks or flex those muscles at the innovative outdoor gym. Cape Town is characterised by its amazing sea views and Sea Point exhibits this by providing a perfect vantage point.

Drink in nature in Cecilia Forest

Cape Town’s vast natural beauty is something unmissable and all the serious hikers should head over to the Cecilia Forest to catch a glimpse of the legendary fairies and take a sip of fresh mountain water to revitalise their bodies, whilst opening their minds. Start your hike where Hohenort Drive meets Rhodes Drive in Newlands. The glades, streams, waterfall and mossy paths will soothe your soul and leave you in a state of equanimity.

Experience Cape biodiversity at Green Point Urban Park

Green Point Urban Park is an amazing sphere of natural beauty. It’s spacious and perfect for you to get to know the plant species around you. The setting is an immaculately landscaped greenway that is equally informative for children and adults. The cleverly designed biodiversity garden contains over 300 clearly labelled Cape plant species, making it a free alternative to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Afterwards, unwind on the sprawling lawn and enjoy a packed picnic with your family or friends.

Feed the squirrels in Company’s Garden

Just as the Company’s Garden used to enchant ocean-weary travellers who’d arrived to a strange land years ago, today this green patch continues to charm tourists and locals alike. Hemmed in by the busy streets of the CBD, the winding avenues of oaks, the inviting carpet-like lawns and the mosaic of indigenous herbs and succulents are ideal for a few hours spent lazing away a spending-free day. Not to mention, who can resist the cute and fluffy squirrels climbing the trees and hopping right up to you? These bushy-tailed animals don’t want your money, just a few peanuts will do. Bring a picnic blanket and goods from home and come enjoy the idyllic setting with someone special or your loved ones.

Hang up your hammock in De Waal Park

De Waal Park is a community park situated in the heart of the City Bowl. Renowned for its wide variety of trees and its social doggiesphere, both adults and children can kick back, hang up a hammock and take a nap. This is also the perfect spot for some quality time with your family or a relaxing, romantic retreat for couples. Pack a picnic basket and a blanket and have a tranquil day surrounded by the beauty of nature under Cape Town’s sweet sun.For more outdoor options check out our overview of parks in Cape Town. Enjoy some of SA’s hottest local music acts at De Waal Park Summer Concerts

Music concerts are another big part of summers in Cape Town. You usually have to pay to see some of these local music acts, but during magnific summer days De Waal Park plays host to musicians, who get spectators dancing and singing along to some of their favourite local songs. The wonderful thing is that this musical journey is free of charge and the venue it is hosted at, is organic and conducive for a really chilled vibe, suitable for the entire family. For more on De Waal Park Summer concerts check out: Concerts In The Park.

 

Surf at Muizenberg beach

The surfing culture out at surfer’s corner in Muizenberg has been alive and well for generations now. This little coastal community is filled with friendly faces and awesome vibes. Come rain or shine, cold or hot – the waves are actually best in winter – one of the most legendary ways to reconnect with Cape Town’s majestic oceans is by riding the swells that ebb and flow at Muizenberg beach (or any of the Cape’s iconic surf spots). Get there early to miss the traffic jam! You won’t need a cent to make a day of it.

Take the family on a Muizenberg meander

This walk on the beach occurs every Saturday after that month’s full moon. The family-friendly event focuses on making the Muizenberg beach a safer space for all, but is a fun night out for all ages. The walk commences from Knead Bakery at 6:15pm and attendees are welcome to bring a group of people with – the more the merrier after all!

PUT ON YOUR THINKING CAP

Fall in love with books at the Centre for the Book

A unit of the National Library of South Africa, the Centre for the Book aims to promote a culture of reading, writing and publishing in all local languages. Look out for their reading–related activities and events such as poetry readings, writing groups and workshops. A visit to their soaring wood-panelled interior will inspire even the most reluctant bibliophobes.

Borrow a book at the Kloof Street Library

Sunny day? The friendly staff at Kloof Street Library will help you choose the perfect novel, African heritage or children’s book, to enjoy in their delightful garden. This quaint library is situated in an old gabled house at the top of the CBD’s buzzy Kloof Street.

Network at Creative Mornings

One Friday of every month a group of creatives get together at different locations to network and share ideas and insights. Started by Capetonian Catherine Henderson in May 2010, the regular 20- to 30-minute morning talks feature one creative speaker and free coffee and snacks. So, start the morning inspired and filled with new ideas.

 

Join in a Pub Quiz

If you have a thirst for knowledge and beer on tap then throw your hat into the ring for quiz night at your local pub. Most of them have a small fee, but luckily Aandklas in Stellenbosch is for FREE! Take a bunch of mates to their Thursday quiz, have a ball and enjoy seeing how good your general knowledge is!

GET TO KNOW YOUR HERITAGE

Amble along Signal Hill

Signal Hill is located next to Lion’s Head, with stunning views of the Atlantic. It’s home to a number of historic features such as the Signal Hill cannon, which originally notified the public when a ship was in trouble. This old Capetonian tradition still takes place every day on Signal Hill, just below the mountaintop. At 12h00 exactly, the Noon Gun is fired – an opportunity for people to set their watches (and block their ears).

Check out the Just Nuisance Monument

This monument in Simon’s Town commemorates Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who befriended the Royal Navy and made such an impression that he was enlisted, wore a sailor’s hat, turned up at functions and did much to boost the morale of sailors at sea. You can also visit the Simon’s Town Museum, which displays his papers, collar and photographs.

Visit all the Iziko Museums

The Iziko Museums regularly have free entry days (usually on public holidays), which make for prime opportunities to explore the extensive art, social and natural history collections housed in these Cape Town institutions. Particularly interesting is the Bo-Kaap Museum, which showcases Islamic heritage  and culture in South Africa, and is set in the historic neighbourhood that is home to many Muslims and descendants of freed slaves. Additionally, The Planetarium, a celestial dome in the South African Museum Building in the Company’s Garden is an incredibly entertaining day out.

FILL UP WITH FREE FOOD AND WINE

Visit the Century City Natural Goods Market

For a free family-friendly outing in the Northern Suburbs, gather the kids and head over to the Century City Natural Goods Market on the last Sunday of each summer month (October to April). Set on the grassy expanse next to the large wetland and bird sanctuary of Intaka Island, this outdoor market is ideally located for a lazy weekend day spent soaking up the sun. No-charge entertainment, like jumping castles, train rides and magic tricks, is on offer; though the expansive green usually provides the little ones with room to engage in more than enough activity. For adults, a variety of artisan stalls are available for your browsing pleasure and live local music acts provide the backbeat to a leisurely day.

Taste some tipple at Wine Concepts on Kloof

This CBD-based wine store has free wine tastings, every single day! Yes, you read that right, you can sip ’n swirl some of the best wines around all for mahala. Tastings take place from 4pm until 7pm on Mondays to Fridays and on weekends from noon until 3pm. And what’s more, you get a cool 10% off any of the wines put up for tasting that day.

Show & Tell at The Drawing Room

This Observatory-based café and art gallery has a variety of exhibition openings and show & tell’s for the public. Known for the delish food and a good cuppa joe, art lovers can catch the work of up-and-coming artists or mingle with like-minded individuals. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details about upcoming events.

Sample the fare at Neighbourgoods Market

Get a little gourmet Saturday treatment from 9am to 2pm. The bustling Neighbourgoods Market is every foodie’s dream, stocking items from over 100 speciality traders offering fine food, wine and local produce. There are plenty of chutneys, cheeses cakes and wines for you to sample here. A little forward planning for that pay-day picnic never hurt anyone.

More wine tastings (hiccup) at Tjing Tjing

There’s no reservation needed at Tjing Tjing for their free wine tastings on Wednesdays. Just stop by from 5pm onwards to sample some top-drawer blends and meet the winemakers.

Hang out at the City Bowl Market

Housed in a historic hall on Hope Street in the middle of the CBD, the City Bowl Market is a wonderful collection of stalls featuring vintage clothing, great coffee, Nutella-filled crépes, wooden arts and crafts and so much more. Walking around and chatting to the warm and friendly locals will cost you absolutely nothing. The market is open every Saturday between 9am and 2pm and every Thursday evening between 4:30pm and 8:30pm.

Keep it real at the Bay Harbour Market

Described as “a real place for real people”, the Bay Harbour Market (also informally called the Hout Bay Market) is the epitome of Cape Town’s relaxed atmosphere. Trading times are Friday 5pm to 9pm; and Saturday and Sunday 9:30am to 4pm. Keep it real, keep it free and head down to this original and interesting gathering to see what beautiful things people are creating. You might catch a clown entertaining the kids or a musician singing his heart out.

GET INTO THE ARTS & CULTURE SCENE

Take a diamond tour at Shimansky

Embark on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at experts delicately shaping platinum, learn about the factors that affect the value of a diamond and witness the result of human expertise in Shimansky sparkling showroom. Although the tour is free, you or your girlfriend/wife/partner may emerge doe-eyed for diamonds. Read about the Shimansky diamond tour.

Attend a poetry reading at A Touch of Madness

Situated in an old Victorian house, this Observatory-based restaurant and bar is well-known for its crazy delicious food and madcap atmosphere –the name says it all. If you’re strapped for cash, you can attend their weekly poetry evenings every Monday from 8pm until 10pm. The line-up changes from week to week so come with an open mind and hear from some of Cape Town’s budding poets.

Catch contemporary South African art at Whatiftheworld Gallery

WhatiftheWorld Gallery provides a platform for established contemporary artists and gives collectors the opportunity to discover new artists. Plus you can peruse these works of art for free.  It’s run by one of the co-founders of the NeighbourGoods Market and was one of the first galleries to open in Woodstock. They also represent some of SA’s finest designers (not just artists) – check out their website for more info that you can include. Find more galleries here.

See edgy urban art at Worldart Gallery

Openings at this CBD-based gallery tend to spill out onto Church Street, a pedestrianised mall brimming with African art and craft. Worldart specialises in accessible urban art by young local talent, many of whom are illustrators and street artists.

LIFT THE BANK BALANCE BY LIFTING THE SPIRIT

Walk a dog and make a best friend

If you can’t lift the bank balance why not lift the spirits? TEARS, which is located just off Kommetjie Road on the M5, is a non-profit organisation that rescues abandoned dogs and cats. Donate your time and take part in their dog-walking programme. We guarantee that after a few hours with a furry friend, you’ll feel like a million bucks. Email tears@tears.org.co.za for more information.

Plant a tree and help Greenpop grow

Greenpop plants trees, runs educational programmes and hosts restoration festivals all in the name of a greener future. The NGO spearheads fun events aimed at raising environmental awareness: plant days at schools and football fields, jam sessions in Long Street’s car parks, bicycle rides in Cape Town and tree planting projects in Zambia. You can get involved for free by signing up on their volunteer database.

The Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour

The Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour Is a 60 to 90 minute walk that starts and ends at The Woodstock Exchange in Woodstock. The tour forms part of the Township Art Tours program run by Juma Tours and includes a tour of murals, installations, graffiti and a gallery visit in the greater Woodstock area. There are daily tours that run at 10am; 12pm; 14pm; and 16pm. Get in on this cultural experience. Bookings can be made on routestreetart@gmail.com. The tour is free but gratuities are welcome.

20 Julie 2017 1

Scientific Facts

Scientific Name: Spheniscus Demersus
spheniscus = Greek, small wedge (their formation when swimming)
demersus = Latin, plunging
Class: Aves
Average Statistics: Weight – 2,1 To 3,7 kilograms (4.63 To 8.16 pounds)
Height – 50 cm (19.7 inches)

Description

Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds, which live in the southern oceans in climates as varied as Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands on the equator. There are seventeen species in all but the African Penguin is the only one to inhabit the African continent and its inshore islands. It used to be known as the Jackass Penguin, on account of the braying sounds which it makes on land, but the name ‘African Penguin’ has now been adopted to distinguish it from the Jackass Penguin found in South America, which is slightly different in appearance and behaviour. Another name that is occasionally used is the Blackfooted Penguin. The closest relatives of the African penguin are, in fact, the Humboldt and Magellanic penguins of South America and the Galapagos penguins of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Penguins are ancient birds, probably evolving about 65 million years ago, at the time that dinosaurs became extinct. Since penguins are well adapted to the cold, the South American and African penguins feel the heat on land and have evolved various ways to cope with the sun. African penguins have a black stripe curving across the top of the chest. They are insulated by air trapped between their feathers. This makes the birds extremely vulnerable when they are moulting, which they do annually, and for this period of about three weeks (at Boulders about November) they are land-bound, getting thinner and more bedraggled until the moulting process is completed. Before moulting they eat hugely and put on about 30% more fat. Moulting takes about three weeks, during which their weight almost halves. Although the African penguins are quaintly clumsy on land, and ungraceful emerging from the water, in the sea they are extremely skilful swimmers, reputedly reaching speeds of 24 kilometres (15 miles) per hour. Rather than using their feet to swim, as many aquatic birds do, they use their wings that have been modified to form extremely efficient flippers. Their webbed feet are used mainly when swimming on the surface of the water. Their feathers have become very small and waterproofed, overlapping to provide better insulation. The African and South American penguins have shorter feathers than the Antarctic birds, since they do not face such great cold. Penguins also have heavier bones than most birds to enable them to dive. African penguins live an average of 10 to 11 years but sometimes reach as much as 24 years.

Range & Habitat 

African penguins inhabit twenty-seven sites. Most are on inshore islands, of which the best known is Robben Island. There are only three of them on the mainland sites. The largest existing colony is on St Croix island near Port Elizabeth, with about 50 000 birds. Dassen Island off Yzerfontein, once home to over a million penguins, now has about 30 000, while Dyer Island near Gansbaai has about 20 000. The most remarkable of the mainland colonies is Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town with over 2500 birds.

Diet & Eating Habits 

African penguins feed mainly on small pelagic fish (fish which swim on the upper layers of the open ocean) like pilchards, anchovies, horse mackerel and herrings. Competition with commercial fishing has forced them to adapt their diet. They now also eat squid and small crustaceans as well. Since penguins are capable of diving considerable depths, up to 35 metres, remaining under water for 1½ minutes, they can reach fish that other birds cannot. Sometimes they travel considerable distances to feed, up to 30-70 kilometres, although they have been known to travel over 200 kilometres. Particularly when they are feeding demanding older chicks, penguins will spend much of their days at sea feeding. On average a penguin will eat about 300 g of fish a day, although this will increase to over 1 kg before moulting or when feeding older chicks.

Reproduction

There is little distinction between male and female African penguins, although the male is slightly larger and has a longer bill than the female. Penguins are usually about 4 years old when they begin breeding. African penguins will remain with a single partner for many years, producing one or two eggs a year. They only separate normally if breeding has failed for some reason. They can breed at any time of the year, but the Boulders population tends to breed in March to May. The incubation period lasts forty days, and the fledging period from 60 to 130 days. Young penguins have blue-grey backs and white fronts, without the black and white markings of their parents. Originally the African penguin nested in guano (hardened bird droppings, in the past several metres thick) but when this was mined for fertiliser in the nineteenth century they were forced to adapt to other conditions. Now they nest in crude shallow burrows dug out of the sand or under beach vegetation. The main reason for digging burrows is to protect the eggs and chicks from the heat of the sun. Antarctic penguins do not do this. Penguins prefer to return to the same nesting site every year and will persevere most determinedly to get back to their old nests. At Boulders they have been known to climb over the fence that was erected to prevent them from spreading inland. Incubation of the eggs lasts for about forty days. When the babies hatch, they are already covered in a layer of gray fluffy feathers which provide them with insulation and waterproofing. The parents share the nesting and feeding duties. While one partner stays behind, without food or water, for about two and a half days, the hunting partner will swim as much as ten miles out to sea to find tasty food. The babies are usually fed in the late afternoon. The parents regurgitate partially-digested fish into their mouths. Parents continue to keep close watch on their chicks for about a month and the chicks leave the nest after about two months. This can take much longer, however, if the parents have not been able to supply them with enough food. Going to sea is the most hazardous time of a fledgling’s life – only about half the birds that go out for the first time return home. At this stage remain at sea for many months and only return home for their first moult. Young penguins continue to stay out at sea for long periods, sometimes travelling great distances. Only in their 3rd to 4th years do they come back to their homes to mate for the first time. At Boulders the penguins are relatively safe although cats and dogs have attacked them. One of the greatest problems now is that they like to stand under warm cars and several have been run over.

The Boulders Colony 

In 1983 a pair of African penguins were spotted on Foxy Beach at Boulders and in 1985 they began to lay. Since then the colony has grown rapidly, increasing initially at about 60% a year. By 1997 there were 2350 adult birds. Such a quick growth of the colony was the result of immigration, particularly from Dyer Island, as well as by reproduction. Birds have probably come to False Bay because of the good fishing available since commercial purse seine fishing has been banned in the Bay. Although Simon’s Town is very proud of its penguins, nearby residents suffered badly as the birds invaded their gardens, destroyed the undergrowth and were generally very noisy and messy. The great increase in tourists has also been a problem. As a result, the area has now been taken over by Cape Peninsula National Park, the birds have been restrained from wandering inland by a fence, board walks and an information room have all been established. Boulders still remains the only place in the world where one can actually swim amongst the penguins as they have continued to invade more beaches. They are remarkably untroubled by people but one should avoid harassing them by getting too close or chasing them. Beware!! They have a vicious bite.

The Calendar Of “Penguin Activities” For Boulders

January : Juveniles moulting and adults feeding up for breeding season.
February To August : Breeding season.
September To October : Penguins at sea, feeding up for moulting.
November To December : Moulting season.

Conservation

Because they live so far north, and in a relatively accessible region, African penguins have been particularly vulnerable to human depredation. From the time of time of the first Dutch settlement at the Cape in 1652 penguins were an invaluable addition to the settlers’ food supply. Penguin eggs have also been regarded as a delicacy and were sold and eaten well into the twentieth century. In more recent times the decline in food supply has forced penguins to adapt their eating habits. Seals, which used to share the same small fish, now increasingly prey on the penguins instead. Oil spills from tankers are also a hazard since the oil clinging to their feathers affects their insulation. As a result of all this, there has been a serious reduction in their numbers, and African penguins are now regarded as an endangered species. There were several million African penguins in the nineteenth century. In 1930 there were still over a million birds but there are now only about 179 000 left. All the penguin breeding sites are now protected. At Betty’s Bay, another mainland site, a fence has been erected to prevent disturbance from people and predators. This colony has now grown to about 100 pairs. Nevertheless, threats to their safety remain.

Organisations Concerned With The Preservation Of The African Penguin

SANCCOB

(the Southern African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) was formed about twenty years ago to rescue penguins from oil spills and other disasters. It operates a rescue and rehabilitation centre for injured seabirds near Tableview in Cape Town. SANCCOB is funded solely by membership fees and public donations, and has been scientifically proven to be the most successful sea bird rehabilitation centre in the world. In 1994, when the tanker, the Apollo Sea, was wrecked off the Cape Town coast, about 10 000 birds were oiled. About half of these were saved. Much was learnt from this and other disasters. When another major oil slick threatened the penguins after the bulk ore carrier, Treasure sank off Robben Island in June 2000, an even larger rescue operation was conducted. Over 18 000 oiled penguins were rescued and cleaned. More than 19 000 unoiled penguins were trucked to Port Elizabeth, where they were released. It was hoped that the oil would have dispersed by the time they returned home. They proved to be efficient navigators. Three of the rescued birds, named Percy, Pamela and Peter, had transmitters attached to their backs. All made it home safely, finding their way speedily and with remarkable accuracy.

 

credit: simonstown.com

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