Annual Penguin Festival in Simon’s Town

It’s that time of year again! The 2019 Annual Penguin Festival will take place this Saturday in Simon’s Town, Cape Town. This is a fantastic opportunity to create awareness of the endangered African penguin species and will be fun for the whole family. Yes, it’s sad and true that African Penguin’s status was changed to endangered in 2010! In fact, according to the last census, there are only an estimated 20,700 breeding pairs of African penguins left on the African continent.

The African penguin has been shifted from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesBirdlife International announced.

“African Penguins have been sliding towards extinction since industrial fishing started around the Cape. The last four years have seen a population crash. BirdLife International has changed their conservation status to ‘Endangered,’” BirdLife South Africa said in a news statement.

National Geographic

All proceeds from the event will go toward SANCCOB’s year-round African penguin and seabird conservation work.

Parking Arrangements

  • Parking for the beach release is available at the Navy’s parking at the end of Martello Road.
  • Attendees can walk up Whalers Way to the Main Road’s pedestrian crossing to reach the festival, following the festival signage from the beach release.
  • There is a stop and drop option on Harrington Road at the venue’s entrance.
  • Event parking is available at the school’s hostels at the top of Harrington Road.

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) will host its 17th annual Penguin Festival on Saturday, 5 October 2019, in collaboration with the City of Cape TownCape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) and South African National Parks (SANParks). Each year, SANCCOB dedicates a day of public celebration to raise awareness of the endangered African penguin species, which is kick-started with a public beach release of rehabilitated African penguins at Seaforth Beach. This year, the festival that follows will take place at Simon’s Town School and the organisation will bring like-minded entities together to exhibit their conservation efforts and educate festival guests on how to make an impact of their own.

The event begins at 10h00 at Seaforth Beach and members of the public are invited to watch the box tipping as the penguins waddle out to freedom. SANCCOB will briefly address the crowd to share reasons for bird admissions and explain the rehabilitation leading to the point of release back to the wild. At 10h30 the rest of the festivities will take place at Simon’s Town School in Harrington Road, within walking distance from the beach release site and adequate parking at the school’s hostel.

“This annual event gives SANCCOB a platform to highlight the plight of the iconic African penguin species and educate the public on how to play their part in supporting our conservation efforts and those of our collaborators and exhibitors. Small changes in their lives such as recycling, saying no to single-use plastics and choosing sustainably harvested fish options can be the first steps taken to work with us,” says Sharnay Adams, SANCCOB’s Education Supervisor. Adams heads SANCCOB’s education department and engages with aspiring, young conservationists from schools around the world on a regular basis.

Attendees joining the crowd at Seaforth Beach from 10h00 will have an opportunity that only comes around once a year in Simon’s Town to see the boxes tipped to release the birds. Expect a fun family day out with rides for children, educational exhibits with an environmental spin by exhibitors, food vendors, boerewors rolls made with love by SANParks Honourary Rangers . . . Entry is free and children can access the Kids’ Zone at R50 per child.


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