When we found out their were penguins in South Africa, there was no question about it: My mom, sister and I would be making a day trip to see them, no matter how far.
Luckily, they weren’t so far after all—just about a 45-minute drive from Cape Town on a very scenic route. So, armed with our token male Richard, we decided to make a day out of it on perfectly sunny South African fall afternoon.
We arrived at the park, paid our entrance fee (around $10, I think), and made our way down a wooden dock. I wasn’t sure at what point we were supposed to be looking for penguins, but as I happened to glance down over the guardrail not 10 feet past the gate, I had my first sighting.
We stood oohing and ahhing over this little guy and a couple of his sunbathing neighbors until we rounded the bend to find this scenario…
Penguins, penguins, everywhere!
Around every bend, occupying every rock, there were families of penguins.
Having never been to Antarctica (yet), I was quite tickled by this sight—especially on a sunny, warm beach at the tip of Africa. Not really the place you’d traditionally expect to find such a critter.
The one (stupid) misconception I had is that we would be free to frolic among them, as well, openly walking the beach, but not so much. For obvious reasons, all tourists have to stay on the wooden viewing platform. Though given the sign above, maybe that’s a good thing!
After we’d logged enough penguin time to satisfy us all and grabbed a bite to eat in a neighboring seaside restaurant, we loaded up the SUV and continued down the road, as we wanted to make it to Cape Point (and back) before sunset, which is quite early this time of year given the seasonal differences in that hemisphere. It was a few miles up the road where we encountered a curious roadblock…
(to be continued next week)