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Penguin Nature Reserve

Penguin Nature Reserve

Penguin Nature Reserve

One of the most beautiful coastal routes in the Overberg region, where mountains hug the coast line, is called Clarence Drive. Clarence Drive is said to be rivaled only by Chapmans Peak Drive on the Peninsula. And it is Clarence Drive that will lead you to the Penguin Nature Reserve in Betty's Bay, home to the Stony Point penguin colony. The penguin colony, is one of only a few mainland based penguin colonies as historically penguins only nested on islands, to keep away from predators. One of the other mainland based colonies is the one at Boulders Beach in Simonstown. The colony which is only 90km from Cape Town first began in 1982 when a breeding pair of penguins, which experts presume came from Dryer Island, landed in the area and decided to stay. Visitors to the colony can view the penguins from a number of boardwalks and viewing decks which were erected between 1987 and 1989 along with protective fencing.

Although there is no official size for the colony, locals believe the birds currently exceed five thousand with the colony growing at a steady rate. This is causing a stir in the community as some believe this growth is not sustainable as there is no natural predator within the reserve area. This area is also the breeding ground for Bank Cormorant, alongside the more common Crowned, Cape and White-breasted Cormorants.

The best times to view the birds are early in the morning or late in the afternoon when they return from their fishing expeditions which sometimes exceed 20km's. Although the breeding colony is fenced off it can still be visited daily from 09:00 in the morning until 17:00 in the afternoon with an minimal entrance fee.

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