Cape Town is not necessarily known for its wildlife, however there is quite a diverse number of animals living in and around the city. They are not generally in large numbers, like the Masai Mara, nontheless they are there and capture your heart, if at least not a snapshot.
Originally called Jackass Penguins (from the noise they make – nothing to do with those 3 idiots that try to kill themselves for money and kudos), due to the typical political correctness of the 21st century, they were simply renamed African Penguins. These little guys, as the story goes, decided about 20 years ago that Cape Point and all its villages were a great place to drop anchor and start a colony (pun not intended). They purportedly started out as 4 individuals, which has now grown to rather a large rookery. They live in and around the established houses, and enjoy sunning themselves without the least care for the humans that flock to see them. This pair were sitting atop a rock (chest height) posing for the camera.
Not the typical place to find an Ostrich, or beach scene for that matter! Ostriches are now commonly found in Table Mountain National Park, part of Cape of Good Hope reserve. Again, the story goes that many years ago (details elude me) large African wildlife was brought to this area as part of a game reserve. Due to climate, size and vegetation (or lack of suitable food) many of these animals didn’t survive, the reserve changed hands, and the remnants of some of these animals can still be found there today (such as antelope and zebra).
While we’re on the topic of animals out of their usual habitats, I give you the squirrel. I’ll bet you’re already one step ahead and have guessed that these cute little furry acorn-eating critters probably didn’t evolve in Africa. And you’d be right. They now inhabit the lovely Oak-lined paths of some of Cape Town’s parks, brought with the sailors from England (as stow-aways or deliberately, not sure). They provide endless amusement for someone like me who is unaccustomed to them. Oh, and they looooooove peanuts, apparently.
The amazing long tail on this bird catches your eye as it flits from tree to tree.
Sunbirds, enjoying the sugar water left out by a lady that sells china.
This was the most impressive display of courtship I have ever seen (except perhaps messages of undying love written in the sky by one of those noisy little planes, while you’re sunbaking at the beach). The male lizard (the bright blue one) ran up to the female (the dull grey one below) and proceeded to do about a thousand pushups at lightening speed, all while ignoring me, with the large camera in his face. He then stopped, looked around (presumably to make sure she was still taking notice) and did another round of pushups (do you see those biceps?)!
No animal stories from Cape Point could be complete without mentioning the Chacma Baboons. Their reputation precedes them, which any drive out of Cape Town city will prove, with hundreds of signs warning of them. This would be why…
Their love for human food, and for stealing it has meant they have learnt not only how to open car doors, but also to listen to whether it is locked to know which car doors to try in the first place. They are also the most mesmerising of all the animals I met on this trip. Whether it is their relaxed nature around us, or their similarities to us I am not sure, but you can sit for ages just watching them. Here is a portrait of one of them, so peaceful and thoughtful.