Please don’t feed the baboons

One of the most visually stunning things i did in Cape Town was to take a day trip to the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Point. If you’ve ever studied Oceanography, you know this is the place where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet. Okay, that’s not true but for years people believed that. The Cape does mark the point where ships would begin to travel more eastward than southward.

If you want to visit The Cape, you’ll need to make this a day trip. It’s a very long ride from Cape Town but there are plenty of scenic stops along the way. Pay attention because we saw lots of wildlife: camels and ostrich as well as Southern Right Whales swimming in the bay.

When you arrive, walk up to the lighthouse for some breathtaking views. The lighthouse has an interesting history, nautically speaking. It was built at the top of the rocks where ironically the fog sits during bad weather. After the lighthouse was built, they couldn’t figure out why ships were still crashing on the rocks below. Once the issue was discovered, a second lighthouse was built much lower on the cliff so ships could see the light and take warning.

The original lighthouse at Cape Point, SA, built too high to actually help ships.
The original lighthouse at Cape Point, SA, built too high to actually help ships.

The Cape itself sits on a conversation area of vegetation. There is a lot of plant life and animals roaming free. Including baboons that are, in fact, as aggressive as the stories you will hear about them. As soon as we got out of our car, we witnessed baboons jumping on buses, running in minivans and running out with whatever loose food or bags they could grab. It sounds comical but baboons, i learned, are pretty stinkin’ big with some scary looking teeth. It’s not so funny when they are running at you screeching.

The guy who brought us here, Bryan, was a straight talking guy and made us put any and all food in sealed bags before we got on the preserve. It kind of blew my mind that not everyone followed the same procedures. It was even more astonishing how many people actually ignored the direction and left food out in the open anyway. Although baboons aren’t my favorite animal, i think this is mean. So please, whatever you do, don’t feed the baboons. If you do, and you get your food stole or you get spit on, i won’t feel sorry for you.

On the way back, be sure to stop at Simonstown to see a flock of South African penguins. When this boulder community was opened, it was home to two breeding pairs of penguins. When i visited, they had more than 3,000. They happened to be molting –dropping their feathers– when i visited. Since penguins have almost no body fat, this means they aren’t moving much.

The penguin flock at Simmons Town, just kinda hanging out because they were molting.
The penguin flock at Simmons Town, just kinda hanging out because they were molting.

To cap off our day, we stopped out at Kirstenbosch Gardens. If you don’t follow gardening, allow me to tell you that these gardens are considered one of the best in Africa. They have something like 22,000 plants throughout the gardens. It was a beautiful stop and a nice walk after spending so much time the car.

Author: Judi Kennedy

Wanderlust. A professional aunt, fitness enthusiast, dog owner and avid reader the rest of the time.

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