By Krista Flagg, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Which does not belong in our beach setting: cool waves slowly crashing, bright sun beating down, sandy shores merging into rock formations, and… penguins splashing around? Aren’t those artic animals? Nope, not in South Africa.Seaforth Beach and Boulder Beach are just two of the many beaches located on South Africa’s expansive shores, but the draw for the many tourists that visit is the herd of small, black and white friends that waddle around the area. Although Boulder Beach is the beach famous for its penguins, Seaforth Beach, located less than a five-minute walk down the path, hosts just as many penguins, only minus the entry fee. Here you can not only admire the penguins from the shore, but also swim right next to them or even lay out by their side on the rocks. There is a surreal feeling in the air, a combination of our familiarity with seeing penguins only in zoos or in arctic settings.  I assume they never need to do a penguin huddle for warmth here.

Upon arrival, we set down our belongings and carefully waded into the water, as to not disturb or scare away the penguins. There were penguins all around us; some splashing around, others swimming through the water, and another group socializing on the shore. They seemed to be fairly comfortable, if not a bit hot with the sun’s hot rays beaming down. The penguins also seemed unaffected by the humans hanging out on their turf, and generally ignored us.

Watching the penguins play together up close was an unforgettable experience, and definitely worth the trek out from Cape Town.