Encounters for Animal Lovers near Cape Town

We are animal lovers. When we travel, we consider it a special bonus to be able to interact with and photograph animals.  There’s something special about encountering a particular animal that you may find exotic or that you’ve wanted to see for a very long time.IMG_1140

Cape Town, South Africa is a beautiful destination with charm and beauty.  As a travel destination it is also a great jumping-off point to see some of Africa’s most beautiful creatures without going on Safari.

African Penguin colony in Simon’s Town at Foxy beachDSC03020

Living in colonies along the coast and islands of South Africa, the African Penguin can be seen by travelling just an hour from Cape Town to Simon’s Town.  DSC03015African Penguins are small, cute and dressed to the nines!  IMG_1127Though the African Penguin is endangered, the colony at Foxy Beach is quite large, containing over 2,500 members. IMG_1194 It is only a short walk from a pay-parking lot to Foxy Beach entrance.  DSC02936A well kept boardwalk snakes its way from the entrance down to the water where you’re merely feet away from hundreds of penguins going about their very important penguin business.  Don’t forget your camera.  IMG_1134These fancy little birds always seem to be posing!

Hours:

Dec/Jan 7:00-19:30

Feb/Mar 8:00-18:30

Apr-Sept 8:00-17:00

Oct/Nov 8:00-18:30

Cost:

Adults (Children 12 & up) R60

Children (2-12) R30

A walk with Cheetahs at Cheetah Outreach in Somerset WestDSC02766

About 45 minutes from Cape Town, Cheetah Outreach sits inconspicuously off the N2 highway.  IMG_0844Its purpose is the breeding and placement Anatolian Sheppard dogs.  The dogs are placed as puppies with livestock and grow to become very protective of their family.  They guard the herds and flocks from predators like cheetahs which in turn prevent farmers from trapping or killing the animals that may prey on their livestock.  The breeding program is a success; less farmers are killing endangered Cheetahs since it was implemented. The funding for the breeding and training of the dogs come from the public visiting and donating to the Cheetah Outreach and we felt good that we gave our money to a worthy cause.DSC02727Visitors, excluding young children, can visit early before the park opens and join the Cheetahs and their handlers on their morning walk.  It is a very special thing to walk side by side with such a magnificent and powerful animal–a rare opportunity that should be embraced.  Our walk lasted about 45 minutes.  DSC02798We joined two, rather large, 10 month old Cheetahs as they explored the grounds around their enclosures, stretching their long legs before the park opened to the public. DSC02793 Afterward, we saw a short film on the history and mission of the organization and then had an opportunity to interact with a number of beautiful animals in the enclosures there.IMG_0718Visit Cheetah Outreach’s website for more information.DSC02920

Hours:

Open daily 9:30-17:00 with encounters beginning at 10:00. The Cheetah cub walks need to be reserved in advance and Cheetah outreach will coordinate meeting time after reservation is made. 

Cost:

Entrance fee: R10 during the week & R5 on weekends

Encounter prices vary depending on which animal you’d like to interact with. Refer to the price list here

In a cage with Great White Sharks near Kleinsbaai (Bucket List Alert!)IMG_0234Roughly two hours drive from Cape Town, Marine Dynamics offers an expedition to hopefully see Great White Sharks in the frigid waters between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock named Shark Alley.  Shark Alley is so named for the amount of White Sharks that frequent the area drawn by the (apparently delicious) seal population on Dyer Island.  IMG_0370Shark Alley offers visitors a chance to catch a glimpse of perhaps the most infamous predator in the sea and our expedition with Marine Dynamics did not disappoint.  When we arrived, we were greeted by friendly staff who gave us some information about what to expect on our afternoon trip based on weather and the amount of sightings that morning.  Before the expedition, we were fed a light lunch of lasagna and salad to settle our stomachs. DSC02667 After a short safety and informational video, we walked down to the boat named Slash Fin (named for a locally famous shark) and we were off.  We had exceptionally great weather.  Blue, cloudless skies and virtually no wind ensured the waves were almost non-existent and visibility in the water was high.  IMG_0341Nearly as soon as we arrived at our destination, sharks began to curiously appear, drawn by the oily trail the staff on board scented the water with.  We very quickly donned our wetsuits and took turns in the cage that hung, affixed to the side of the vessel.  Sharks of various sizes investigated the waters around the boat for hours. DSCN2271 The views and photos from the two decks of Shark Fin were nearly as exciting as the experience of being in the cage itself.IMG_0251

When to Go:

The best time for shark diving is between the months of April and August/September. Head on over to Marine Dynamics to book your trip now!

Cost:

Adults R1,750.00

Children (under 12) R1,000.00

 

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