When you travel to a new place, often you will hear about famous people, history and landmarks that make that place unique. Well, Struisbaai, a little town situated in the Overberg region has a different kind of famous attraction– Parrie.
Who’s Parrie you ask?
Parrie is a celebrity in these parts and is in fact…. A short-tail stingray. These beautiful animals can be found off southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Reaching widths of 2.1m and weighing over 350kg they are the largest of the marine stingray species.
According to townsfolk, the beloved Parrie has been visiting Struisbaai Harbour for over 30 years, initially attracted to fish morsels that get thrown over the side from returning fishing boats. It is thought that this stingray actually recognises the sound of the boats and waits at the moorings for them. Parrie sprung to fame back in 2003 when he made a brief visit to Two Oceans Aquarium but was later returned to Struisbaai when locals demonstrated how loyal they were to their fishy friend.
This gentle giant enjoys human company so much that people can actually get into the water and feed or swim with Parrie and his friends. He is usually recognised as he is larger than the other stingrays that visit the harbour.
Parrie is not only adored by locals but everyone who visits the harbour, including our White Shark Projects volunteers. Below is a video of experienced marine biologist, Tom Slough feeding the stingrays and showing our volunteers how docile these animals really are. It is truly a dream experience to encounter such majestic creatures.
Seeing these beautiful animals is a definite activity you should add to your bucket list when visiting South Africa and the Overberg region.
During these times of lockdown, we are dreaming of a time we can visit Parrie and the picturesque white sandy beaches of Struisbaai again.
For more information on activities in the region – visit overberginfo.com
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Written by Georgina Vermeulen
Marine Biologist at White Shark Projects