The East London Aquarium, Eastern Cape
Did you know?
Penguin chicks bred at the aquarium have been exported to the U.S.A, Israel, Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.
While it's not the biggest aquarium in the country, the East London Aquarium, opened in 1931, is the oldest and contains a number of excellent displays that make it a must-see for visitors to this charming coastal city.
Unique to this Eastern Cape aquarium is the display housing three Cape Pigmy clawed lobsters – the only specimens of their kind ever housed in captivity. As impressive is the colony of African penguins that produces an average of 20 chicks per year, most of which are later exported to zoos around the world.
This aquarium in East London has always played an active role in the conservation of the Eastern Cape coastline and its estuaries, serving as a haven for injured and oiled sea birds and mammals, including turtles and dolphins, that are washed up on the region's beaches.
The East London Aquarium's prime draw card, however, is the wooden boardwalk protruding across the surf that serves as a whale-watching deck during whale season (July to September) and was recently named part of the official Cape Whale Route.
The deck, hovering 11m above the ocean, offers visitors hours of prime whale-watching and the aquarium makes sure everyone knows when whales are in the area by flying a pair of very visible blue flags as soon as any are spotted.
While the deck is used primarily for viewing Southern Right whales migrating southwards to their Antarctic feeding grounds, other denizens of the deep routinely make an appearance, including humpback whales (most prevalent in November), common and bottlenose dolphins, and even the odd killer whale or two.
And if no whales deign to make an appearance, you can always console yourself with a visit to the aquarium's shark tank or one of its fun seal shows.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
East London Aquarium
Tel: +27 (0)43 705 2637