Not all penguins are black and white. Some rather colourful penguins made their home in Gansbaai last week.

The objective of the campaign is to create an interest in Gansbaai’s attractions by encouraging visitors to explore more and stay longer. Eight colourful giant penguins decorated by various artists will be placed at sponsored locations throughout Gansbaai.

Colourful penguins gathered at APSS in Gansbaai last week at the start of the Gansbaai penguin tourism campaign. These eight penguins will be displayed at various spots throughout the town highlighting the different attractions offered to visitors.

Glenda Kitley, manager of Gansbaai Tourism, says the objective is simple: Follow the penguins, discover the places, taste the food, and experience the moments that the greater Gansbaai area has to offer.

“Gansbaai area is known as the Natural Adventure Destination and is renowned for the Marine Big Five, blissful beaches, fynbos, fabulous food and fine wine, and much more. Plot your penguin route, place yourself in the penguin picture and present the penguin proof and stand a chance to win prizes. The penguins are sure to delight young and old and hopefully the real ones will enthral,” she says.

The campaign was officially launched on Friday 23 August at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS), where the colourful penguins gathered to have their photos taken before heading off to their respective ‘homes’.

APPS, a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, has become a key place to visit in Gansbaai and was the inspiration for the campaign. The African Penguin is an endemic species to South Africa and Namibia – with an estimated 15 000 breeding pairs left in South Africa, the species has been on the endangered list since 2010.

Guano scraping for agricultural fertilizer destroyed their breeding habitat leading to predation during the crucial fledgling stage. According to estimates, more than 13 million eggs were harvested and considered a delicacy, and these two factors caused the initial crash in numbers. Now the penguins face issues of predation by gulls, seals and sharks; together with oil drilling; marine pollution; and a lack of fish with overfishing in their crucial hunting grounds.

The aim of APPS is to help rebuild the population of African penguins on Dyer Island just off the coast of Gansbaai.

The colourful penguins have been sponsored by various businesses and can be found at the following locations: The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, Gansbaai Tourism, Marine Dynamics, Lomond Wine Estate, Blue Goose Restaurant, Xplorio, Saxon Lodge and Pearly Beach. Each penguin has been decorated by artists with a focus on all that Gansbaai has to offer. All the penguin stories can be found on Xplorio Gansbaai at xplorio.com/gansbaai/gansbaai-penguin-campaign

Quarterly incentive prizes are available for those who visit all eight penguins and share them on Gansbaai Tourism’s Instagram with the hashtag #gansbaaipenguins #capewhalecoast. Tag @gansbaai-tourism and the venue of the penguin.

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