Wildlife Encounter Safety Tips You Need to Know Before Visiting Cape Town

by MMC
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Cape Town is home to diverse wildlife, from charming African penguins to playful seals and even playful baboons.

If you visit the Mother City, it is crucial to respect these animals. Here are some tips for interacting safely with these animals:

5 tips for staying safe

Maintain a safe distance

Keep a respectful distance, especially if they are in their natural habitat. A minimum distance of 5 m is still required by law. Although photos are great, make sure they are taken from a distance and do not threaten the animals.

No power allowed

Resist the urge to feed wild animals. Human diet can harm their health and disrupt their natural foraging behaviors. Instead, donate to an animal organization of your choice.


Keep noise to a minimum. Loud sounds can stress pets and interrupt their daily routines.

Avoid direct eye contact

Although it may seem like a friendly gesture, direct eye contact can sometimes be perceived as a threat. Keep a gentle gaze and let them go about their business undisturbed.

Secure your belongings

Wildlife is naturally curious. Keep a close eye on your belongings and secure any food or objects that might attract their attention.

Better understand these animals

Cape fur seals

*Seals may bite if harassed, cornered, stressed and/or upset. *Observe from a safe distance and move away immediately if a seal approaches on the beach. Seals can move quickly over short distances, especially on sandy beaches.
*Do not attempt to touch, handle, chase, feed or throw water on a resting joint.
*Keep dogs on a leash and prevent them from approaching seals at any time.
*Do not sit, touch, take a selfie, feed a seal or pay anyone to do so. This is illegal and harmful to you and the seal.

African penguins

* Always keep a legal distance of 5m from any nesting or gathering penguins. This requires you to stay away from any penguins unless you are on a penguin viewing walk.
*Do not block a penguin’s path to the sea or to its nest. Do not approach a penguin, chick, egg or nest with a selfie stick or camera. *Do not climb on a rock where penguins rest and/or molt.
*Stay outside restricted areas and do not cross clearly demarcated barriers, paths or walks in penguin areas.
*Always look under your car before leaving after seeing penguins. *Penguins bite, so don’t try to touch or feed them.

Cape clawless otters

*Observe from a safe distance. Walk away slowly if approached.
*Otters can bite, so do not try to touch or handle them.
*If you are in a tidal pool, you must move away from the otter, even if it means leaving the tidal pool.
*Keep dogs on leash, under control and away from otters at all times.



*Keep dogs on leash and under control where resting seabirds and actively nesting seabirds are present.
*It is illegal for a dog to chase/harass a seabird.

Whales and dolphins

*Stay 300 m from any whales or dolphins.
*It is prohibited to enter a pod of dolphins with any vessel. If this cannot be avoided, the vessel should be stopped and the pod of dolphins/whales should move away without any disturbance or interaction with any vessel, paddler, swimmer or snorkeler.
*Any stranded whale or dolphin or whale/dolphin in distress or visibly entangled must be reported immediately to the city on 021 480 7700.


*Ensure that no open food should be exposed near the baboons. Do not attempt to feed or approach.
*Walk away slowly or stand still and let the baboons pass quietly.
*Always keep dogs on a leash and away from coastal areas frequented by baboons.
*Ensure that all domestic and commercial waste from any establishment complies with legal requirements for disposal and collection.
*When you encounter baboons while driving, be sure to slow your vehicle, close vehicle windows, lock doors, and stay in the vehicle. Baboons have learned to associate cars with food and may attempt to gain access to the vehicle.


*Failure to act responsibly could result in arrest, fine, or both. *The City will take action against any tour operator, tour guide or establishment that encourages its customers to disobey or mislead them in any way, resulting in illegal behavior in and around our coastal wildlife.
*Tour operators, tour guides and tourist establishments are encouraged to educate and inform their customers in order to avoid any penalties and always ensure their safety.
*Any person contravening laws protecting coastal wildlife may be arrested, prosecuted and/or fined.
*Please report transgressions to 021 480 7700. Source: South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment.

The post office Wildlife Encounter Safety Tips You Need to Know Before Visiting Cape Town first appeared on Tourism in Cape Town.

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