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The African Penguin

February 5, 2015

Now, when I think of penguins I often picture them in snow covered winter wastelands. Imagine my surprise when I came across some of these creatures sunbathing on a beach in South Africa. Boulders Beach is home to one of two South African jackass penguin colonies, the other being just up the coast at Betty’s Bay. After coming to terms with the fact that I was not hallucinating, my friend and I laid down on our towels and watched some of the warm-weather birds waddle past us to the water unperturbed. We giggled and talked about how ‘cute’ they were. The peacefulness of the waves rocking against the boulders was a natural melody and soon, the sun lulled us in for an afternoon nap. I was in pure bliss.

Suddenly, I felt a harsh jab. I quickly looked around to my friend only to find her still asleep. Another jab sent me jumping to my feet and grabbing at my ankle, now throbbing in pain. It was only then I noticed a small, smug looking penguin staring up at me.

 

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Even as I stood there, towering over him, he looked at me with such satisfaction. This contest continued for another few moments until I got frustrated at his stubbornness. I took a couple of steps forward and shoed him away. As if mocking me, he tilted his head back, opened his beak and flapped his wings before turning and waddled off to annoy the next intruder to his beach. I’m not sure how Antarctic penguins are, but the African penguins have rightfully earned their name: jackass.

 

Boulders Beach is one of the most memorable places I’ve ever been. The beach itself is scenic and could be straight out of a movie, add the penguins and you’ve got an experience to brag about to your friends. Whales often come near to the boulders so you can see them as well at the right time of year. Boulder’s Beach is located in Simon’s Town, a charming fishermen’s village with a slight New Orleans flavour architecture. If you are planning on a trip down south, this is a place that you will desperately not want to miss out on.

Alesi Enriquez

I was born in the US although I've been living in Amsterdam for the last few years. I am an avid traveller in the city as well as the wild, I'm always ready for a new adventure!

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