Facts about the African penguin

Karl Svendsen 31 July 2017
Part of the South Africa Safari Collection
Back to the Our Blog

The African penguin's genus name Spheniscus refers to its wedge-shaped body, whilst the species name (demersus) is Latin for sinks or plunges. Otherwise referred to as the Jackass Penguin because its calls sound similar to a donkey, the correct name is 'African Penguin'.

 

  • The African penguin is endemic to the coastal areas of Southern Africa and is the only species of penguin that breeds in Africa.
  • It is classified as endangered and is listed under Appendix II of CITES due to the advent of industrial fishing in the Cape region.
  • They mainly eat fish (anchovies, pilchards, sardines, mackerel, and herrings) but they have been known to also eat squid and crustaceans.
  • They have been recorded diving to a depth of 130 m, but normally hunt at around 30 m. 
  • They stay within 20 km of the colony when foraging, and only hunt during daylight.
  • The average dive lasts just over 2 min.
  • They can reach a top speed of 20 km/h when hunting but normally cruise at around 7 km/h.
  • The average African penguin is 60 cm in body length and weighs between 2 kg and 3 kg.
  • They reach sexual maturity at 4-years-old and lay one or two eggs at a time. The incubation period is around 40 days.
  • In the wild, their life span is around 10 years.

The best place to view African Penguins from the mainland is Boulders Beach, Cape Town.


Some related info

Exploring the Garden Route - Annemarie’s South African safari

Annemarie’s South African Safari Route Map I had the absolute privilege of chatting to Annemarie Barnes, a Canadian high school English teacher currently living in Switzerland, who spent two weeks travelling through South Africa with her husband in April 2015. Together, the couple ventured to the most scenic parts of the Western Cape province, exploring Route 62 - which passes through…

Three Famous South African Shipwrecks

Once people believed that the world was flat and it took a few brave and intrepid souls on ships with billowing sails to educate those back home about the vastness of our earth. As technology and the resulting pressures of an emerging economy began to impact our ancestors’ lives, so too did the need to expand empires and seek greener pastures. Over time, the great explorers of the time…

Five reasons why you should visit Phinda Private Game Reserve

Snorkelling, diving, game watching, cultural learning and beautiful accommodation are the hallmarks of the Phinda Private Game Reserve. This small but powerful reserve is home to facinating wildlife species and a unique ecosystem that never fails to enchant visitors. A great alternative to the Kruger National Park, with just as much game and activities to enjoy, Phinda should be on your…

Two weeks in South Africa - a holiday itinerary

South Africa is a popular choice amongst travellers wanting to experience their first African safari. In fact, according to South African Tourism, it’s estimated that close to nine million people travelled to South Africa in 2015. If you’re planning on going on a safari to South Africa, here’s a great itinerary two week itinerary to use. Spend five days in Cape Town Best time to visit…

Incredible Lives: The Basotho Shepherds of the Drakensberg

If you are planning to visit the beautiful South Africa, with it’s eleven official languages and a multitude of cultures, you should be prepared to come across the distinct Basotho people. The Basotho are native to the independent, and land-locked Lesotho, as well as the Drakensberg region of Kwazulu Natal. The Basotho people are one with the mountainous terrain of the highlands and the…

Three of the best Hiking spots in the Drakensberg

The Drakensberg mountain range is not only dizzying but also stunningly panoramic. The infinite beauty of this region seems to go on and on, only punctuated by a series of supremely huge rocks that lie majestically under an unpolluted South African sky. Welcome to the Great Escarpment - one of the most sought-after hiking destinations on the planet. The Drakensberg mountain range…

You Might Also Like

 | Kruger to the Mozambican coast

Kruger to the Mozambican coast

Combining the bush and the wildlife found in the famous Sabi Sand in the Kruger National Park with a tropical stay in one of the sublime lodges of Mozambique's Ponta Mamoli...

 | Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari

Spot the Big Five in Thornybush Private Game Reserve and enjoy the majesty of Zimbabwe's roaring Victoria Falls ...

 | Blissful 4-day Kruger Safari

Blissful 4-day Kruger Safari

Experience luxury in the Kruger Park ...

 | Luxury Cape Town and Kruger Safari

Luxury Cape Town and Kruger Safari

Explore two of South Africa's most desirable locations in this whirlwind safari tour...