More tourist-ing on the way to the Garden Route.

Sometimes, it’s fun to play tourist in your own town—or, you know, any town.

Funny, coming from me, the anti-tourist. I know.

And sure, I believe the following to be true:

1) There are no “have to’s” in travel. (No must-see’s, no can’t misses. Things are only as meaningful as the value we ascribe to them.) 

2) Tourist traps are just that—traps. (You want me to pay how much to play with a tiger? Which, by the way, I’m pretty sure has been drugged.)

3) There’s nothing better than simply being wherever we are. (Sitting at my “local” cafe all day reading? Check. Wandering aimlessly through a new city? All the time.)

Still, once in a while, the tourist things call.

Because, well, penguins.

Need I say more?

Tuesday before last found me and a friend driving south out of Cape Town, bound for Boulders Beach and Simon’s Town.

Boulders Beach, if you didn’t know, is home to the largest colony of African penguins in town. They come for the slightly-warmer-than-icy water, and stay for the spectacular turquoise water and blinding white beaches.

Oh wait, that’s us. The penguins just come for the warm water. Thousands of them.


And yup, they are adorable.

So there we were, one local and one wannabe-local standing on the viewing platforms along with dozens of other camera’d, sunblock’d and visor’d observers, utterly entertained.

Funny, because the penguins seem committed to accomplishing as little as possible during their stay at Boulders Beach (the ultimate beachgoers). I watched one duo (African penguins mate for life) for a solid ten minutes, and neither moved a muscle.

“Do you wanna do something else?” “No.” “Good, me neither.”

They are also brilliant waddlers and unrivaled loafers.

Afterward, we ate fish and chips, wandered through beachside shops oddly reminiscent of New England charm, and reviewed our pictures.

These are our happy penguin faces.

Sometimes, it’s fun to play tourist.

You get to see penguins, climb spectacular mountains or window shop on streets overflowing with “custom designed African culture.”

Shop on Long Street—my favorite street for tourist-ing.

Fun. Nothing more, maybe, but nothing less, either.

Many penguin acquaintances were indeed made.