Swimming with Penguins or Sharks?

Scuba Diving with Penguins and Sharks Cape Town shershegoes.com

south africa cape town two oceans aquarium diving sharks penguins victoria
south africa cape town two oceans aquarium diving sharks penguins victoria
south africa cape town two oceans aquarium diving sharks penguins victoria
south africa cape town two oceans aquarium diving sharks penguins victoria

I had a free day in Cape Town while my family went to visit Robben Island, the former prison that housed Nelson Mandela for 27 years. Instead of a history tour, I spent the day at the beaches in Cape Town's Muizenberg and St James suburbs and had an afternoon adventure at the Cape Town Aquarium.

The Cape Town Aquarium was an unexpected delight. Located at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Two Oceans Aquarium features shark and penguin exhibitions and all types of marine creatures native to the Indian and Atlantic oceans. Cape Town is situated at a unique point on the western coast of Africa where these two oceans meet. I thought I had “outgrown” aquariums and stopped in by chance after several other tourists got off at the aquarium bus stop. I took a second to think about it, and quickly hopped off after them. There's nothing like traveling a new city by yourself to spur on spontaneity!

Admission is R118 which is about ~10 USD. For how well developed the aquarium was I thought it was a bargain. The coolest exhibits were the sea kelp forest and predator tank.

The first is an actual man-made kelp forest. Kelp grows particularly well in certain parts of the cape, due to high salinity in the ocean and vigorous wave movements. I don't think I've ever seen a sea kelp forest in another aquarium.. This one was particularly magical: it's a huge deep tank with floor to ceiling viewing windows where inside large silvery fish meander through the floating kelp leaves. The tank is a very murky dark green, with a sliver beam of sunlight projecting downward from the top. On the day I happened to visit, Two Oceans aquarium let the penguins into the kelp tank. The guide mentioned they frequently allow the penguins to swim in different exhibits so long as the animals are peaceful together and it gives the penguins a change of scenery. They apparently love how cold the sea kelp tank is and were zipping around constantly!

The second amazing exhibit is the predator tank, which houses sting rays and ragged tooth sharks. If you have an open water 1 scuba diving certification, you can jump in and dive with the sharks, which is an amazing experience. Again, I got really lucky and happened to be at the aquarium during the penguin and fish feeding inside the kelp tank. On these days, you get your pick of the penguins or the sharks! The facility staff took advantage of the feeding moment to take some underwater shots for their own research purposes so I was able to get the perfect shot with the help of their underwater photography lights. To dive in the sea kelp tank, which has vigorous wave movements, you'll need an advanced scuba certification.


Two Oceans Aquarium definitely isn't just for kids. Stop by Cape Town's aquarium next time you're in town for your chance to get up close and personal with some deep water creatures. If you're like me and love to dive, it's bound to be a once in a lifetime experience.

As always, thanks for following along!


Which would you choose, sharks or penguins?  


For family friendly activities, check out Kirstenbosch Garden and this handy packing list for families. Or for more adventure, how about bungee jumping?



Save this post by pinning it for later: 



More on South Africa


Curious about the view above the clouds? Head to Table Mountain

Staying in Downtown Cape Town at the Cullinan Hotel

The Complete Cape Town Beach Guide

The Best Thing to Do in Colorful Bo-Kaap: Learn to Cook Cape Malay Food

South Africa's Answer to Napa Valley: The Cape Town Winelands

Here's How You Can Swim with Penguins in a Cape Town sea kelp forest, no less!

The World's Most Scenic Road Trip: Cape Town, South Africa

The Most Adorable Way to Spend an Afternoon: Penguins at Boulder Beach


Follow Sher She Goes on

Bloglovin | FacebookTwitter | Pinterest | Snapchat | Instagram

SummerSeptember 23, 2015 - 7:55 am

Wooooow! Look at those fish♥♥ This place looks amazing♥♥ You must have had a great time♥♥

SherSeptember 23, 2015 - 12:34 pm

Yes, it was fantastic! Thanks for stopping by

MargaretSeptember 23, 2015 - 2:06 pm

You are so brave to do that! I would probably be scared

JoyceSeptember 23, 2015 - 2:21 pm

I LOVEEE aquariums so this really makes me want to check the Two Oceans aquarium, especially hearing that it’s not just for kids. The man made sea kelp tank looks amazing and the penguins are super cute! They must be happy for a change in scenery… The predator tank looks exactly how it’s supposed to, I guess, scary and intimidating. Love the piercing lights!

SherSeptember 23, 2015 - 5:30 pm

Go go go Joyce! :)

AnikaSeptember 24, 2015 - 1:31 am

such gorgeous pictures! love the colors and everything :)

SherSeptember 25, 2015 - 9:37 am

Thanks Anika!

SherSeptember 25, 2015 - 9:42 am

Hi Summer – I did! I love fish haha there was even this cool tank where you could crawl into the middle so that you were right inside the fish tank! so cool

FrancoisSeptember 27, 2015 - 12:31 pm

Awesome! I love the 2 Oceans aquarium, one of my favourite places :) You should check out our site too for things to do in CT if you are still around….

SherSeptember 28, 2015 - 12:36 am

Wish I had known about your site before I visited Cape Town! Thanks for stopping by Francois

Doreen PendgracsSeptember 28, 2015 - 9:36 am

Such amazing pics! Thx so much for sharing. I’m swam with a nurse shark, but never a penguin. :-)

SherSeptember 28, 2015 - 5:06 pm

Thanks Doreen. Wow, with a nurse shark? That would totally freak me out haha! Very cool

[…] it’s a short 15 minute walk to Victoria’s Wharf for shopping and dining and also close to the Two Oceans Aquarium. The hotel has amazingly friendly staff who also run an hourly shuttle which is really convenient! […]

GemmaSeptember 29, 2015 - 9:24 pm

Stunning photographer – what camera do you use and waterproof equipment?

TiffSeptember 30, 2015 - 12:14 am

This is way too cool and on my list Sher!
I hope I find myself in Cape Town soon :D

Also, thanks for stopping by my blog :)

SherSeptember 30, 2015 - 9:08 am

Hi Tiff, definitely go! I found a new taiwanese food spot here in NYC and am excited to go check it out this weekend. I really miss good taiwanese food..!

SherSeptember 30, 2015 - 9:09 am

Hi Gemma – thanks! I use a canon mdiii and my iphone. I got a gopro recently and have been using that for underwater stuff – hope that helps!

TiffSeptember 30, 2015 - 10:19 pm

Oh my Sher you did!!!!! You like Taiwanese food?!
Tell me how it goes, I do wonder how does the Taiwanese food in NYC takes like :)
(felt really cool that someone told my on blog that she is gonna check out TWnese food this weekend, felt very blown away!!!!!)

Joe AnkenbauerSeptember 30, 2015 - 10:33 pm

I would love to swim with Penguins! I’ve already swam with sharks a few times, but no penguins. So awesome!

[…] the African continent so it’s well worth a visit! Another great place to view them is at the Two Oceans Aquarium near Victoria’s Wharf – where you can even swim with them! To get to Boulders Beach, it’s best to rent a car or hire a […]

SherOctober 1, 2015 - 9:49 am

wow! I’m hoping to swim with some sharks soon Joe! :)

SherOctober 1, 2015 - 9:50 am

yes, i’m taiwanese. it definitely doesn’t taste as good as in asia but it’s still delicious! i really crave it sometimes. i’ll report back how the restaurant is :)

James | The Globe WanderersOctober 1, 2015 - 11:07 am

This looks like a fantastic experience. What a cool opportunity for some underwater selfies ;)
Great photos. Will be adding this to ‘the list’.

TiffOctober 2, 2015 - 3:24 am

ahhhhh, can’t believe I met a Taiwanese from blogging!!!! :D
Enjoy your trip in South Africa and can’t wait to hear more about how food is there in NYC :D

Isabela MarianoOctober 2, 2015 - 3:43 pm

You found Nemo – and lots of them! Yay!

That’s such an awesome experience! :)

Kimberly ErinOctober 4, 2015 - 6:45 pm

I went swimming with penguins in the Galapagos and it was an absolute dream! I would love to do it again at any moment…I am ready to go!

ElizabethOctober 5, 2015 - 7:17 am

Wow! I though they were pics of you diving somewhere and thought wow what great colour for underwater! LOL It looks like a fun acquarium.

SherOctober 5, 2015 - 10:07 am

Hi Kimberly! Wow, the galapagos? That sounds amazing, I really want to go there soon and see the giant tortoises.

[…] Here’s How You Can Swim with Penguins in a Cape Town sea kelp forest, no less! […]

[…] Here’s How You Can Swim with Penguins in a Cape Town sea kelp forest, no less! […]

[…] Here’s How You Can Swim with Penguins in a Cape Town sea kelp forest, no less! […]

Penguins at Boulders BeachOctober 6, 2018 - 10:54 am

[…] Read more: Would you rather swim with penguins or sharks? […]

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *