An hour-long drive from Cape Town southwards, along the coastal road through Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town, lives an unusual family. Hidden in a sheltered bay of granite boulders, resides a colony of African penguins. White sandy beaches, peaceful neighbourhood, plenty of swimming spots, Boulders Beach is the perfect place to settle.
A few friendly penguins settled into the beach first in 1982. Now their family has grown, and the colony is almost 3,000. It is incredible that so many wild creatures have made this little part of the Cape Peninsula their home. Remember they are wild animals, and those beaks are pretty sharp!
African penguins are an endangered species. The numbers have dwindled over the last few years, with over-fishing, population, habitat destruction and irresponsible tourism activities. Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve and the beach and walkways are protected to ensure that more little penguins make this beach their home. With the dunes protecting nestling families, hopefully, the diminishing number of African penguins can grow for future generations.
More than 60,000 people visit Boulders Beach every year as it is probably the only place in the world to get this close to these animals. The number of surrounding boardwalks amongst the dunes down to Foxy Beach give even better vantage points. The penguins can be found in the area all year round, with the juvenile birds moulting in January (the smell a wee bit during this time!) and they are fishing out at sea during September and October so the beaches will not be as busy.
These creatures aren’t the only attraction to visit Boulders Beach. The family-friendly beach is the perfect way to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon. It is a protected area for there is an R65 conservation fee and with a limited number of parking spaces.
Boulders Beach is one of the best places for seeing any breed of penguins worldwide, especially without the freezing temperatures.
Please remember that these are wild animals. They are not pets nor are they domesticated. They are not to be touched or tormented, but to enjoy the beach.