February 12, 2006

Travel Report: Boulders Beach in close up

Follow-up to Travel Report: Big skies into Cape Town from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

The Cape Peninsula curves out into the Atlantic Ocean like a great arm, catching passing marine life in its grasp. To its east, False Bay provides shelter and a few vital degrees of warmth. Dolphins, whales, sharks, sea-birds and humans enjoy its waters and beaches. Of the many settlements along the mild coast of the bay, Simon's Town stands out for a unique combination of reasons. As a finale to my trip, I planned to stay for a couple of days, renting a small rondavel (thatched hut) in the well kept Caravan and Camping park.

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If that sounds like rather humble accomodation, consider the views available within just a one minute walk…

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And the neighbours, who employ rather unusual security guards to man their gates…

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For the southern end of town is home to one of the world's most famous beaches, Boulders…

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During the hours of darkness, I discovered, the penguins roam freely. I seemed to be surrounded with them and their strange braying calls. You may recogise them as of the sub-species Jackass, a most appropriate name. That is now considered by the penguin-naming authorities to be some kind of insult. And so as with many things in South Africa, they are renamed: the African Penguin. The birds themselves don't care. They know who is in charge in this town, and neither nomanclature nor penguin-proof fences will stop them.

Besides, we humans get our own back, both through overfishing and through the less serious persecution of the tourist camera…

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The reward for us may be that perfect souvenir snapshot…

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Or the childhood memory of a game of penguin netting…

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But remember these are sensitive creatures, and if you try to walk like a penguin…

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They may well confront you for your mockery…

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Signs dotted around this National Parks Board managed beach warn that penguins can bite, but more usually they just retreat into the sea…

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They do, after all, have a much nicer beach reserved for their own use…

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What a marvellous place for both penguins and people.

Part 9, Simons Town day 2

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. That seems like such an amazing place, would love to visit some day. I have never been to South Africa, when is the best time to go?

    12 Feb 2006, 12:13

  2. Dries Venter

    Udayan, SA is a year-round tourist country: you will always find somewhere warm and pleasant. Cape Town and the Southern Cape coast ar best around March/April (but as you have probably read here, the weather is a bit erratic at the moment)

    21 Apr 2006, 20:48

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