Penguin Island Boat Cruise in Port Elizabeth to St Croix
Please note that Raggy Charters was the only successful applicant for the Boat Based Dolphin & Whale Watching Permit for Algoa Bay, South Africa. There was only one permit issued. The permit was issued on the 20th June 2011 by the Department of Environmental Affairs, which allows us close encounters with whales and dolphins. Although there were many factors that counted towards the allocation of the permit, we believe that we were successful because of our commitment to marine conservation and education. Most of the funds generated by our tours go towards The Penguin Research Fund which is trying desperately to explain the dramatic decrease in the African Penguin population and rectify this situation. Raggy Charters also undertakes regular beach clean-ups in the Port Elizabeth area and has started an initiative to offset our carbon footprint by planting at least one indigenous tree for every boat cruise we do.
Cost is R1400 per person (R850 for children under 12), although there may be discounts for groups of 10+. Please email us directly to make a booking. Gift Vouchers are also available to purchase online, which make a great birthday/christmas present for family members (locals please enquire about prices).
If you're interested in our favourite African penguins then why not check out the Penguin Patrol; a fun and educational day out in Port Elizabeth!
We meet at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club in the Port Elizabeth Harbour at 8.30am, departing soon after and returning by 12.00pm (Pre-booking required). Light refreshments and snacks are served during the cruise and there is the option of having lunch afterwards at the yacht club.
We start off the tour with a harbour cruise and full safety briefing, after which we exit port and set a course for the islands.
St. Croix Island is home to 22,000 breeding pairs of African penguins, the largest breeding colony found in Africa (though we have lost 70% in 10 years). It is here where guests will get a close-up encounter with these comical birds. The African penguin’s breeding season reaches its peak between March and May, when guests may be able to see the chicks from the boat. As well as African penguins, both St. Croix and Brenton Island (a smaller islet close by) are inhabited by the endangered African black oystercatcher, white-breasted cormorants and Cape cormorants. The St. Croix Island group, along with the Bird Island group, recently became part of the Addo Elephant National Park, allowing rangers to patrol the islands in aid of conservation efforts to protect the African penguin population. As they are Marine Protected Areas, please note that guests are not allowed to actually go on to the islands.
During this cruise guests also have the possibility of spotting bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, humpback dolphins, bryde’s whales, minke whales, Southern right whales, humpback whales, Cape fur seals, various species of sharks, Cape gannets and various species of pelagic birds including terns, petrels, skuas, shearwaters and albatrosses.
Both catamarans have a specially designed viewing platform which allows the guide to have the best possible view of the bay and thus chance to see any animals that may be present.
*Disclaimer: Raggy Charters cannot guarantee animal sightings on any cruise. Raggy Charters offers guests the opportunity to view wild animals which will move around at their own will and therefore we cannot be held responsible for the movements of these animals. Guests who are taken to St Croix are guaranteed to see African penguins, and therefore no refund will be given if other marine animals are not spotted. If absolutely no animals are sighted compensation, in the form of a free ticket for the next boat trip, may be given at the discretion of the skipper.*