A Close Encounter with African Penguins at the Stony Point Sanctuary

Penguins at Stony Point Sanctuary, South Africa
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A note to my readers: The world is gradually easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, but it will be a long time before we can travel freely again. For many of us that will mean staycations and more local travel, but I will continue posting new content for you to read at home and to inspire your future travels. Happy reading and stay safe!

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I wanted to see African Penguins while I was in South Africa but I didn’t fancy battling through the crowds to get to Boulders Beach. So the Stony Point Sanctuary, at Betty’s Bay on the Garden Route, was a logical alternative. Thousands of penguins, spectacular scenery and only a handful of other visitors. What more could we ask for?

Penguins at Stony Point Sanctuary, South Africa
African Penguins: An Endangered Species
The sanctuary is set in an old whaling station and the first thing we noticed was the smell: 2000 pairs of penguins can produce a lot of guano! But we quickly got used to it and paid our R10 to enter the boardwalk area where we could look down at the birds. From here we could read the information boards, watch the penguins coming and going, and listen to the waves crashing onto the rocks below.
Penguin shelters at Stony Point Sanctuary
Shelters have been built to encourage the penguins to breed
African penguins have become endangered over the last century, their numbers reduced by oil spillage, over-fishing and competition for food from an expanding population of fur seals. Stony Point was established as a colony to encourage breeding, with a protected area and specially constructed breeding boxes. The policy has been successful and the number of birds has increased: this is one of very few places where African penguins will breed on‑shore.

The Varied Wildlife of Stony Point

But Stony Point is not just about penguins. There are four different types of cormorant to spot and tiny lizards dart between the rocks.
Watchtower, Stony Point Sanctuary
Cormorants cluster around the old whaling lookout tower at Stony Point
Girdled lizard at Stony Point Sanctuary, South Africa - www.worldwidewriter.co.uk
A girdled lizard sits astride a rock


Then there are the dassies (properly known as the rock hydrax). Surprisingly, this inquisitive and furry creature is the only known relative of the elephant.

A friendly (and inquisitive) rock hydrax


With so much natural life around us it seemed as if we, the humans, were the interlopers. We took a last look at the penguins and the sea and turned away, leaving the penguins to enjoy their sanctuary in peace.


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4 thoughts on “A Close Encounter with African Penguins at the Stony Point Sanctuary”

  1. I love penguins. Stoney point looks like a great place to see African penguins and other wildlife without jockeying for position with other humans. Very interesting that the rodent-like rock hydrax is related to elephants!

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About WorldWideWriter

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


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