More penguins, elephant seals and albatross than you can shake a stick at! All of the allure of Antarctica at half the distance (from the tip of South America that is). One of the world’s last true wildlife spectacles.
Off Queens Road, Cape Town 7995 South Africa
I love jackass penguins, they seriously rule! And in South Africa – or Africa period for that matter, this is where to see them. Beautifully ironic juxtaposition with the Cape Town beaches, sun, sand, surf and sharks. Couldn’t be more surreal, or more real South Africa. A great little spot.
4. Punta Tombo
Florentino Ameghino Department – Chubut Province, Argentina
Amazing. Camelids walking amongst scores of penguins in a desert. Add maras and elephant seals to the equation, and you have all of God’s creatures jumbled up into a jigsaw puzzle that only makes sense to Darwin. Love this place. Amazing beautiful and utterly fascinating.
1013 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands Victoria 3922, Australia
Amazing! Each sunset, hundreds of little fairy penguins emerge from the chilly Southern Ocean, waddle up the beach and into the bushes to locate their chicks, patiently waiting in nest burrows. The Penguin Parade has an excellent visitor facility with arena seating, an educational center and a network of boardwalks, allowing you to observe the penguins up close without disturbing them. This is an amazing thing!
Estancia Harberton, Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina
Ushuaia may be the gateway to Antarctica, but you’ll start feeling the penguin infestation before you are even out the gate. Yecapasela is home to thousands of Magellanic penguins, along with a nice handful of gentoo penguins and rock cormorants. I’m confused as to whether it’s a coastal wonderland or black-tie only convention, but I love it. The universe left magic dust at the tip of South America.
The Antarctic Peninsula is the Antarctica most people get to see. An immense strip of land jutting into the Southern Ocean, it is home to penguins, seals, killer whales and every shade of ice you can possibly imagine. This is also the region of Antarctica most impacted by climate change. It’s an icy world in a state of rapid change. Catch it now before it’s character is lost to us.
Bartolomé Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Probably the most iconic landmark in the Galapagos Islands. This place is fantastically beautiful and even more fantastically interesting. There is a bizarre history of military occupation around the pinnacle and best of all, the penguins live here!
Who’d expect to see penguins in a land that looks surprisingly (or not) like the Lord of the Ring’s Middle Earth? But even weirder than that is, who’d expect to find penguins living in the rainforest?? Well, that’s New Zealand for you, a land of oddities and contradictions at every corner. Here on the South Island, you’ll find three of the world’s most unique penguins – the little blue penguin (the world’s smallest penguin), the rare yellow-eyed penguin, and that rainforest-dwelling fiordland crested penguin. And in such a dramatically beautiful landscape, these are truly penguins in paradise!
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This post was based on The Green Gatsby’s Trip by Skyscanner (formerly Gogobot) custom guide to penguins and originally published by Yahoo Travel in November 2013.
Photos of Emperor penguins (header & top of page): Christopher Michel, Creative Commons.