Penguin Festival in Simon’s Town today

SANCCOB hosts its 16th annual Penguin Festival in Simon’s Town on Saturday, 10 November, in celebration of African penguin awareness. This year’s partners include South African National Parks (SANParks), City of Cape Town, CapeNature and Human Wildlife Solutions.

You’re invited to attend the festival to learn about and celebrate the endangered African penguin, the only penguin species endemic to the African continent. The event begins at 10h00 on Seaforth Beach, where 21 African penguins that have been rehabilitated at SANCCOB will be released back to the wild. The public beach release offers a unique opportunity for attendees to be up close as the birds waddle into the ocean.

Our annual Penguin Festival has become a favourite event for Capetonians, as well as local and international tourists visiting the Boulders penguin colony. After the penguin release, the festivities will continue at Simon’s Town Navy Sports Fields, on Martello Road.

Nicky Stander, SANCCOB’s Rehabilitation Manager, says, “What’s important to us is that the public leaves the festival informed and ignited with passion to work with us to reverse the decline of the African penguin population and other coastal birds we admit. This event is not only a fundraiser but first and foremost a platform to publicise the plight of the endangered species.”

In Simon’s Town, the successful penguin monitoring and management programme is the result of SANCCOB’s partnership with SANParks, Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) and the Environmental Management Department, which is part of the City of Cape Town’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA). Stander adds that SANCCOB is thus proactive in extending its colony assistance by jointly employing Penguin Monitors with its conservation partners to monitor penguin colonies and rescue birds or eggs in unsafe nesting areas when intervention is necessary.

The 2018 event is supported by generous sponsorship from Ocean Basket and Spec-Savers South Africa, with Cape Town vlogger, Mark “Fitzy” Fitzgibbon, as the Master of Ceremonies.

Ocean Basket Marketing Manager Morgan Mynhardt says: “At Ocean Basket we believe in preserving the ocean so we are all able to benefit from its resources. We recently started the Responsible Ocean Citizen programme to focus on adopting new habits, reducing our plastic footprint and becoming ambassadors of the oceans and rivers through various activities, including education, outreach and awareness.

“We actively encourage positive habits like – wherever possible – choosing seafood that has been harvested in a responsible manner or ethically farmed to reduce over-fishing and reducing plastic pollution to conserve ocean populations for future generations.”

This year, SANCCOB’s Penguin Festival offers a kids’ zone with mini rides, an inflatable obstacle course, face-painting and a jumping castle, an edutainment marquee, marine conservation exhibits, a variety of food trucks, boerewors rolls, and a craft beer and wine tent.

General admission is free and entry into the Kids’ Zone is R50. Parking will be available at the venue and at Seaforth Beach. All proceeds go toward SANCCOB’s year-round African penguin and seabird conservation work.