Story Behind The Lens #3 – Johnny Be Good

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Johnny Be Good

Cape Town is by far one of the most beautiful scenic cities in South Africa.  The city is crowned with the iconic Table Mountain and known as the place where two oceans meet.  The combination of different landscapes attracts a wide variety of wild life.  The cold Atlantic ocean brings one animal in particular, the seal.  Although they are adorable in appearance they are actually very dangerous, especially when feeling threatened. However, that is not the impression you get when you meet Johnny Be Good.  Down at the dock yard of a the small yet very busy harbor in Hout Bay you will find a man who had befriended one these mammals.  For thirteen years he has fed and bonded with a seal that he has named “Johnny Be Good”.

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The bond between these two unlikely friends is clearly visible, they have a language between them that only they understand.  The man puts a piece of fish in his mouth and Johnny comes right of the water and grabs it.  As spectacular as this site may be it has caused a controversial stir.  Environmental groups along with some of the locals are concerned that wild animals should not become dependent on humans for food.  If they do get aggressive and bite they can cause major wounds and possibly infections to humans.  As it remains any wild animal that has been tamed by a human is a topic of huge debate. Many of these unlikely friendships have ended up in tragedies.

Despite all the warnings the man continues to make a small living showing off his unique expertise to international tourists who board the tour boats along these docks.  In exchange for a few coins you can get the opportunity to personally hand feed the seal yourself… that is as long as Johnny stay’s good!

READ: More stories in the series “Story behind the lens” here


Have you ever been to Cape Town? Would you feed Johnny be Good? What are your thoughts about this unlikely friendship?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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This is the second "Story Behind The Lens" photography post. This photo's is about the unlikely friendship between a man and a seal in Cape Town, South Africa. "Johhny Be Good" #capetown #southafrica #unlikelyfriendships #travel #seals


* All opinions are our own.  Image may be used around the web as long as you credit us and link back to our website souldrifters.com. Images may not be used for advertising and commercial purposes. You are welcome to contact us for rates and terms for commercial rights.

Liza Williams

Born in South Africa, fascinated with culture and loves wood fire pizza. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away” Follow me on twitter: @soul_drifters

10 thoughts on “Story Behind The Lens #3 – Johnny Be Good

  • February 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm
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    He sounds a great guy to me. Would love to meet Johnny Be Good. I never actually knew seals were dangerous. You learn a new thing every day.

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  • February 8, 2018 at 4:53 am
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    When did you go? Did you experience the current water crisis that is hovering over Cape Town? I hope (for the sake of the locals) that they recover soon. The seal friendship story is so sweet…13 years is a long time!

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  • February 6, 2018 at 11:24 pm
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    Liza,
    Love the photo and the love between them. Thank you for sharing. In the San Francisco pier, I saw a lot of seals, but never imagined a human connection.

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  • February 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm
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    Wow…a bond between seal and human is incredible. Great story. Thanks for sharing.

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  • February 4, 2018 at 9:41 am
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    Beautiful relationship. There are many such instances where wild animals choose some human as their friend. This makes me happy. Cape Town is on my bucket list.

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  • February 3, 2018 at 6:48 pm
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    Capetown does look incredible, and I would love to visit and see Table Mountain. I’d love the chance to get close to the wildlife, although I’m not certain about getting that close to the toothy end of a seal!

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  • February 3, 2018 at 6:18 pm
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    I love this story! It is the kind of post that makes you think and can bring forth great dialogue!

    To me, this is a touchy topic. It may seem really cute and fin to feed wild animals, but it comes at a risk. What happens if the animal becomes reliant on your feeding it and no longer hunts? Then if something happens to you, are they still able to survive?

    At the same time it is super fun to meet and bond with wild animals.

    Personally, I don’t think I would feel him. It makes me uncomfortable.

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  • February 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm
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    Cape Town is on my list of cities to do in Africa, not for the scenery, but for the hiking trails and checking out Table Mountains. ALso the ocean views are wetting my lips as well. Hope to get out there soon.

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  • February 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm
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    Cape Town is so beautiful! It has it all, ocean, vineyards, beaches, and mountain. I’ve been twice and would happily go again!

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  • February 3, 2018 at 11:09 am
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    I so second you on saying Capetown is one of the scenic cities in SA. I so wish to go cape town sooner for the fact that not only to see the ocean beauty but also to enjoy the wild life. Thanks for sharing . This post is great.

    Reply

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