25 April 2014 by Roy Barford

Penguins in South Africa: Where to see them

It’s World Penguin Day and South Africa is one of the few countries in the world where you can see wild penguins, as well as penguins in aquariums.

Penguins at Boulders Beach, near Cape Town. Photo courtesy of Ian Wilson

If you want to see penguins up close, South Africa's coastal cities of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban are where you should be headed. African penguins were declared endangered four years ago, but various programmes have ensured their survival, as well as opportunities for people to get close to these birds and learn about them.

Boulders Beach. Photo courtesy of Tracie Lee

Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are home to wild penguins, as well as penguins in aquariums and rehab centres, while  Sea World at uShaka Marine World in Durban hosts about 70 penguins.

The  Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town offers visitors the opportunity to get right up close with African penguins during its penguin encounter sessions. The daily penguin feeding sessions are among the most entertaining times at this popular establishment. See the video below:

Penguins at Two Oceans Aquarium

African penguins entertain at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town.

Boulders Beach in Simon's Town, roughly 45 minutes' drive from Cape Town, has been rated as one of Lonely Planet's Top 10 Unique Beaches, because visitors there can swim with penguins or get close to them on the beach. There are around 3 000 penguins here and sightings are guaranteed year round.

Sanccob, a penguin rehabilitation centre in Simon's Town, also offers private tours and voluntourism opportunities.

Further east in Port Elizabeth, Raggy Charters offers boat tours to St Criox Island, which is home to an estimated 22 000 African penguins. If you don't fancy going out to sea, you can still get up close to penguins at Port Elizabeth's Bayworld.

Category: Wildlife

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