The African continent and wild life are synonymous. South Africa has bragging rights to the unique African penguin and we will celebrate our penguins, together with the rest of the world, on 25 April. The annual northward migration of penguins is on or around April 25th, and worldwide these unique birds are celebrated on that day. Time to take out the tuxedo…
SA’s African penguins are best seen in their natural habitat – free as birds. From Boulders Beach in Simonstown, Stoney Point Betty’s Bay, Robben Island to Port Elizabeth are but a few places one can admire our penguins. The African penguin, also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin is a species of penguin, confined to southern African waters. It is also widely known as the “jackass” penguin for its donkey-like bray, although several related species of South American penguins produce the same sound. This charismatic species is popular with locals and tourists alike and is classified as endangered. When you plan your penguin safari, make allowance for some extra time spent in the Garden Route admiring its wild life.
It is easy to understand why the region from Mossel Bay to the Tsitsikamma is known as the Garden Route – it is a natural garden of mountains, forests, fynbos and water. Not to mention our wonderful wildlife! The Garden Route National Park is home to some 85 species of mammals with the most well-known of these being the Elephant. The forests are home to Bushbuck as well as Blue Duikers while Common Eland can be found on the slopes in the east of the nature reserve, and Common Duiker are sometimes seen in areas with clearing between thickets along the coast.
The Garden Route National Park is one of the best locations for Whale watching, with no fewer than 15 species of Whales and Dolphins being found in the area.
Another incredible find is Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay. It is the world’s first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary and aims to create awareness about the plight of primates and foster a greater understanding of our primate cousins. Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is home to mainly Apex Predators and is home to 74 animals in total of 17 different species. Adjacent to Monkeyland is Birds of Eden, the world’s largest free-flight bird aviary (50 metres high, covering 23 000 square meters of forest). Birds of Eden houses more than 3,500 specimens of more than 280 species, with the focus being African birds.
If the Garden Route sounds like the capitol of Jumanji to you, then it’s time to have a look for yourself!