Betty’s bay is a very small town about an hour from Cape Town, the drive is quite lovely going around the coasts and through other towns with interesting things to do, making the road a little longer if you decide to stop along the way, but something to enjoy.
Betty’s bay has two main sites to visit. The first is the Harold Porter Botanical Garden, this is a very large (about 10 hectares) beautifully made up gardens to be walked through and enjoyed, with benches available and many picnic spots. The natural fynbos (a type of plant biome that is found in South Africa – directly translated means fine-bush) section is around 190 hectares, where there are some walks to be done, with waterfalls and all sorts. This National Botanical Garden is home to many fauna and flora, with roughly 1600 plant species, 100 species of birds, a few mammals and plenty of insects, frogs, reptiles and spiders.
Further down the road near the coast you find the Stoney Point African Penguin Colony, this is one of two main breeding sites of the African penguins (Jackass penguin, given the name by its donkey like call) on the South African coast, the other is Boulders beach in Simons Town. This colony is thought to be newer than most, due to the area having fewer predators, mainly the Cape mountain leopard. These birds do not fly so they nest on the ground under boulders or in small holes in the guano (accumulated excretion from the birds).
You are able to walk on a path in between these birds, watching them live their natural day to day lives. During the season with their young starting to hatch (during March and May) till they start to fledge at (2- 4 months). This is when I find it the most fascinating to visit, as they are very busy with feeding their demanding and forever hungry chicks, meaning the parents are always kept busy and, on the move, also this is the time when the clumsy chicks are finding their feet and exploring their new surroundings. There are plenty of other seabirds to be seen in the cormorant family, if you are a keen birder.
I often go to Betty’s for a relaxing day out in the sun, with plenty of smiles and giggles provided by the penguin chicks.