Take advantage of our Spring Special to get 15% off your accommodation and breakfast at Mariner Guesthouse in Simon’s Town (CTN) – valid until end November 2019. Contact us for a quote: info@marinerguesthouse.co.za and find more information on www.marinerguesthouse.co.za.

Cape Town Travel and Tourism

Spotting a King penguin on a whale watching trip in False Bay/Cape Town – this certainly came as a wonderful surprise!
This bird is far off its normal range as illustrated in the accompanying map, but is in good shape as confirmed by SANCCOB and will remain under their caring eyes for the duration of its visit.
This rare event is a real treat for birders – I wonder what our local African penguins make of it?

Interesting facts about king penguins

The king penguin is the second largest species of penguin at 70 to 100 centimeters (2.3 to 3.2 feet) tall and weighs 11 to 16 kilograms (24 to 35 pounds). In size it is second only to the emperor penguin.

There are an estimated 2 to 3.2 million breeding pairs.

Lifespan is 15 to 20 years in the wild, and up to 30 years in captivity.

King penguins eat small fish, mainly lantern fish and squid and rely less than most Southern Ocean predators on krill and other crustaceans.

Ice and water in Antarctica is primarily salty, making it impossible for most animals to drink. The king penguins stomach, however, has adapted to drinking salt water. Its powerful stomach can separate the salt completely, allowing the bird to drink without becoming dehydrated.

The body is a dark black and grey mix all down the back. They have dark yellow on their bill and the back of the neck. They also have this yellow color on the front as the bit of black there gives way to the rest being all white.

 

To keep warm, King penguins have four layers of feathering.The outer layer of feathers are oiled and waterproof, not unlike the feathering of a duck.

The king penguin is one of the most elegant of all penguin species as it’s long and slender body helps the king penguin to glide through the water with great ease.

The average cruising speed for a King Penguin while swimming ranges somewhere between 5 and 10 km per hour (3 to 5 miles per hour).

 

King penguins are excellent divers and have been known to dive as deep as 300 meters (980 ft)!

King Penguins live on the sub-antarctic islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, as well as Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands and other temperate islands of the region.

King Penguins form gigantic colonies when they come in to shore during the mating season. One colony at South Georgian Island is estimated to have over 200,000 birds.

 

King Penguins are “serially monogamous” – they mate with only one mate per season, working with their mate to hatch the egg and care for the chick. However, unlike some other species of penguin, they’re not so likely to return to the same mate the next year – about 70% will find a new mate the following season.

King penguins are one of the few birds that do not build nests, eggs are incubated under the belly on top of their feet.

It takes 54 days for the eggs to hatch, during which time males and females take shifts incubating them.

 

 

After hatching, parental duties continue to be equally shared by both male and female, with one staying on land to brood the chick while the other goes in search of food at sea.

When the chick reaches around six weeks old, it joins a group of chicks known as a creche, thus allowing both parents to go foraging at the same time, in order to bring back enough food for the voracious offspring.

 

The creche provides the woolly chicks with protection from predators, as well as the benefit of collective warmth.

The chick grows a warm brown fluffy down of feathers. They also grow a thick layer of blubber to keep them warm during the winter months ahead.

The chicks huddle in their creches during the winter months while the parents occasionally come onshore to feed them. In the spring the parents come back and start feeding the chicks again.

At this time, the chicks starts to grow their adult feathers and are ready to go off on their own. Raising a King penguin chick usually takes 10 to 13 months.

Once a young King Penguin does leave its colony it will not return until at least 3 years later when it’s able to mate.

At sea, the key predators of King penguins are the leopard seals and killer whales who wait beneath the surface near the shore for unsuspecting birds.

Some king penguin colonies were completed exterminated. This occurred as a result of hunting in the 19th and 20th Centuries. People hunted the king penguins for their skin, oil, blubber and eggs.

King penguins have legal protection from hunting and the collection of their eggs. According to the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, it is illegal to harm or interfere with any penguin or its eggs.

Today, the king penguin populations in the sub-Antarctic Oceans appear to be thriving and better still increasing in numbers with more than two million breeding pairs of king penguins found around the freezing waters.

Like almost all animals, king penguins ordinarily have round pupils in their eyes. However, this all changes when their pupils constrict. Of all king penguin facts, one of the most bizarre is that, when constricteda king penguin’s pupils are actually square in shape.

Source credit:

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is proof that not all gardens were created equal. Go on, pay it a visit. You can thank us later.

It’s a favourite among locals amd visitors alike for many reasons: picnics on the lawns, hiking up Skeleton Gorge, enjoying a glass of chilled Chardonnay before a summer sunset concert, exploring the many shady trails, and taking in the panoramic views from the canopy walkway, to mention just a few.

THE GARDEN’S HISTORY

Regarded as one of the great botanic gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch—or rather, the land on which it sits—was bequeathed to the government by Cecil John Rhodes. At the time, it was nothing more than ramshackle farmland overrun with pigs. In 1913 a botanist called Harold Pearson set about transforming the land into a botanic garden devoted to the country’s indigenous flora. It now contains over 7000 species of plants from southern Africa. The 528-hectare Kirstenbosch Estate (which includes the Garden) falls under the Cape Floristic Region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kirstenbosch Boomslang

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Situated on the slopes of Table Mountain, just 13km from the city centre, Kirstenbosch includes a fragrance garden, a medicinal garden, 2,500 species of plants found on the Cape Peninsula, a Protea garden (best seen in spring!), a braille trail, and a cycad amphitheatre. There is also the Botanical Society Conservatory, which houses plants from the continent’s more arid regions. To immerse yourself in all that the Garden has to offer, it is worth taking one of the free guided tours that depart from the Visitors’ Centre at 11am and 2pm from Monday to Saturday. If the times are inconvenient, audio guides are also available.

If you have little ones, you simply must take them to see the cycad amphitheatre. Dotted among the cycads are life-sized anatomically correct sculptures of dinosaurs and a pterosaur! Kirstenbosch also features a sculpture garden, where you’ll find an ever-changing exhibition of African stone sculptures, and bronze animal sculptures by Dylan Lewis. Your kids will also enjoy a walk along the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway – affectionately known as the Boomslang. This 130-metre steel-and-timber bridge snakes its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum, providing stunning views of the Garden and the Cape Flats.

All that walking is bound to work up an appetite, and – if you haven’t packed a picnic – there are a number of options for satiating your hunger. Visit the African themed Moyo restaurant for a hearty lunch, or pop into the Kirstenbosch Tea Room for scones, cake and cucumber sandwiches. You can even pick up a picnic hamper from either of these restaurants. For a quick coffee fix, Vida e Caffe has you covered.

WHEN TO VISIT

While the Garden is spectacular all year round, you’ll see the fynbos at its best from August to November. However, summer has its own charm in the form of the Summer Sunset Concerts every Sunday evening and the open air Galileo Cinema on Wednesday evenings.

 

Source Credit: www.capetown.travel

Join us at Seaforth Beach at 10am and then follow on to Simon’s Town School for a fun-filled festival, in celebration of African penguin awareness.

SANCCOB’s 17th Annual Penguin Festival in collaboration with the City of Cape Town, Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) and South African National Parks (SANParks) kick-starts with a public release of rehabilitated African penguins for all to witness how they waddle back to where they belong. It’s an experience not to be missed as we count down to tip the boxes!
This year Kfm’s mascot, Rocket, will also tip a box.

From 10h30 the festival will take place at Simon’s Town School in Harrington Road, within walking distance from the beach release site and parking is available at the school’s hostel.

There will be educational exhibits with an environmental spin by exhibitors, food vendors, boerewors rolls made with love by the SANParks Honourary Rangers, and a designated craft beer and wine area.

Entry is FREE and children can access the Kids’ Zone at R50 per child. Regrettably, no dogs are allowed at this event.

This annual event is a platform to highlight the plight of the iconic African penguin species and educate the public on how to play their part in supporting SANCCOB’s conservation efforts and those of all collaborators and exhibitors.

Parking:
• Parking for the beach release is available at the Navy’s parking at the end of Martello Road.
• Attendees can walk up Whalers Way to the Main Road’s pedestrian crossing to reach the festival, following the festival signage from the beach release.
• There is a stop and drop option on Harrington Road at the venue’s entrance.
• Event parking is available at the school’s hostels at the top of Harrington Road.

Find out more at https://bit.ly/2ZqWCVu

Source Credit: SANNCOB

It’s almost time to collect and document the trash littering South Africa’s coastline. Yes, on 21 September 2019 volunteers in South Africa will come together as part of SA’s commitment to Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD).

What is International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD)?

Every year, volunteers from more than 100 countries come together (like they’ve done 30 years prior) to participate in a Cleanup event near them.

As Cleanup and Recycle SA Week usually falls within close proximity to ICCD, it is quite fitting that SA should take part in International Coastal Cleanup Day. In fact, it is said to be one of the highlights of the week. Apart from various cleanups over SA, South Africa will join the world in partaking in ICCD by also launching the Source to Sea Programme as well as announcing the new cycle of the Working for the Coast program.

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, the theme for plastics will also be carried through.

“It is thus important and relevant that the department will continue to carry through on the theme to address marine pollution and waste management during the launch of the new cycle of the Working for the Coast program and the Source to Sea pilot project.

“The International Coastal Cleanup Day (WFTC/Source to Sea Pilot Project) will be implemented under the theme and key message detailed as “Nature knows no waste” and “ A litter-free land is a litter free ocean”.

How to get involved:

1.You can start by downloading Ocean Conservancy’s app called Clean Swell to document the trash you collect.

This is done in order for the Ocean Conservancy to collect data on trash in the ocean.

Interesting revelations:

In 2017, the Ocean Conservancy collected data from the combined global cleanup in that year and revealed that 789 thousand people collected 9285 tonnes of waste over 30472 Kilometres of the coastline.

According to Getaway Magazine, in South Africa, the 2017 coastal cleanup saw 16298 people participating in the clean-up, picking up a total of 12694 Kilograms of waste. Of the 16298 volunteers, 4755 recorded what they picked up, providing data that helps with highlight culprit waste materials that are prominent in coastal environments.

The data indicates that food wrappers, especially chip packets, made from multi-layered plastics have been increasing in numbers on a yearly basis. The food wrappers were the fourth highest item collected in 2016 and were the prolific collected item in 2018. Other items include asthma pumps, single-use baby diapers and disposable syringes which were also recorded in larger numbers in the 2017 cleanup.

Here is how you can get involved with the Simon’s Town International Coastal Cleanup Day:

WHEN: 21st September 2019 International coastal clean up day TIME: 0830-1030 🌍🌊🐋
WHERE: 8am Registration at Glencairn hotel, Seaforth and millers point parking. The clean up will be Glencairn beach, Seaforth, Windmill, Frank’s bay, Fisherman’s Beaches and Miller’s Point.
WHAT: Beach clean for International Coastal Clean up day
PRICE: FREE

Bring a hat and gloves. Bags will be provided.

Source Credit: www.thesouthafrican.com

 

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