One does not normally associate penguins with Africa but there is a protected colony of Jack Ass Penguins on Boulder's beach in Simons town. A boardwalk lets you walk right amongst them and watch them as they sun and swim.
A visit to Cape Town is not complete without a drive around the beautiful Cape Peninsula. And this drive must include a stop to Boulders Beach, especially if you like seeing penguins or if you're on vacation with kids. Boulders Beach, which is located south of Simon's Town, is home to a large colony of African penguins. The colony started with just two pairs in 1982 but now over 2000 penguins call this place home.
Boulders Beach is part of the Table Mountain National Park and to enter one has to pay an entrance fee. The conservation area is made of two beaches, Foxy Beach and Boulders Beach which are linked by a boardwalk. There are gates and entrance booths at both ends but you only have to pay once and keep the ticket for show at the other entrance. The Boulders Visitor Center is located at Foxy Beach where most of the penguins seemed to be located. You can see them from feet away, however you are required to keep to the walkways. At Boulders Beach you can walk on the beach and swim with the penguins if there are any around - there were a few between the rocks when we visited. It goes without saying that you shouldn't try to pet them or harass them in any way. The beach, with its huge boulders is a lovely place to visit, even without the penguins. I thought this will be a short stop but my kids really enjoyed the beach and the penguins so we spent almost all morning at Boulders Beach.
Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area and an entrance fee is required to access these sandy shores that are home to the tuxedoed little bird. Strictly controlled access to this beach by the SANparks authority ensures that it is always clean and tidy and that the facilities are well maintained and spotless. These facilities include toilets and outdoor beach showers. The beach is seldom crowded and is a real hit with little one’s as it offers a very gentle and warm ocean swimming experience.
Standing at just below a foot tall, the diminutive African penguins waddling onto shore, jumping into the sea or just sunbathing are quite a sight to see. Along the southern Cape Peninsula, just past Simonstown, there are several turnoffs for the Boulders Beach area. The second turnoff has the fewest tour buses and leads to a walkway above penguin nesting areas, to a beach where one can swim with penguins, or to another more secluded beach with fewer penguins but nice sheltered swimming areas and boulders.
This is a must do! Penguins have so much character and are so fun to observe! Go into Simon's Town and follow the signs to the Boulder Colony. There is a public parking lot and then you have to walk south for about 10 minutes. A while ago, it didn't cost you money to see them and you can walk out right onto the beach. Now, you do have to pay and a raised wood decking is about as far as you can get onto the beach. However, the decking provides some pretty good viewing.
I could not find an official website with visitor information. Currently, the cost for viewing is 45 rand for adults and 20 rand for children.
Please see my travelogue for more penguin pics! Here is the link:
At Boulders Beach in Simon's Town, you will find plenty of penguins. One tip to save your money!! --- instead of buying the tickets to go to see the penguins, you can do this --- while coming from Cape Point, you will find Belview Road on the right, take that and park the car there, then walk along to find scores of Penguins by the sea and further if you walk across the ticket office and along the park you will see so many penguins in their natural habitat, feeding young ones, sleeping, hopping around etc. It was such a beautiful sight and we spent an hour easily.
Very ideal to have a picnic in that area!
To some people it is a surprising fact that there are penguin colonies in Africa. That’s reason enough to see these sympathic animals. In the 1980s, the african penguin (or jackass penguin, because of the sound they make) was an extremeley endangered species. Today, the population has risen again to a stable level, but preservation measures are still necessary. You can see the penguins from several places at Boulders Beach, but I would like to recommend the bird sanctuary. In early 2012, the entry fee was R45. You’ll get some basic information about the penguins and the chance to come close to the animals. The money is used for further preservation activities. The smell of the penguins is not the most pleasant, especially when they are chaning their feathers. But that should be nothing to worry about. You can easily visit this spot on a daytrip around the Cape Peninsula, where you’ll enjoy the diversity of this flora and fauna.
Boulders Beach is a sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders, from which the name originated. It is located in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon's Town towards Cape Point, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is also commonly known as Boulders Bay.
It is a popular tourist stop because of a colony of African Penguins which settled there in 1982. Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
Although set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where this vulnerable bird can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment.
From just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony has grown to about 3,000 in recent years. This is partly due to the reduction in commercial pelagic trawling in False Bay, which has increased the supply of pilchards and anchovy, which form part of the penguins' diet.
Bordered mainly by indigenous bush above the high-water mark on the one side, and the clear water of False Bay on the other, the area comprises a number of small sheltered bays, partially enclosed by granite boulders that are 540 million years old.
The most popular recreational spot is Boulders Beach, but the penguins are best viewed from Foxy Beach, where newly-constructed boardwalks take visitors to within a few meters of the birds.
It is also a popular swimming beach, although humans are restricted to beaches adjacent to the penguin colony.
Most probably the penguins r so used to have so many human visitors, as they dont run away but even go on w their own shows to each other as we shoot photos ... :)
Boulders Beach is world famous for its colony of African penguins that have been living here since 1983, when the first couple of these interesting birds appeared in the neighbourhood. Today there are about 2500 individuals in the colony.
There are two possibilities of observing penguins at Boulders Beach. The first one is free of charge. From the car park you can take a path called Willis Walk. You will see penguins among the vegetation along the path. When you reach the end of it there's a small car park from which you have a view over Boulders Beach and recreational area which is accessible for those with the tickets. The other option is to enter the Boulders National Coastal Park ( admission fee is R 30 = 4.20 US dollars). Here you can see the birds from specially designed board walks and viewing platforms. This main penguin viewing area is called Foxy Beach and is only for penguins use. Through another entrance, near the end of Willis Walk you can get down to the Boulders Beach where you can observe penguins from a short distance or, especially in summer, share a swim with them. But be careful not to get too close, as the penguins are said to have a nasty bite.
African penguins are not big. They measure about 50 cm and weigh between 2.5 and 3.7 kg. Their characteristic feature is a black stripe curving across the top of their chest. Their young have the blue/ grey backs and white bellies without that black stripe. African penguins are "steady in love" and have the same partner for years.
No, its not some sort of mistake, if you visit Boulders Beach, you will see Penguins walking around in the sun on the beach.
Located in a gorgeous spot between Simons Town and Cape Point is this world renowned beach that houses the unique African Penguins that are seen as a vulnerable species.
Only about 10% of the original 1,5 million penguins are still around, so really worth seeing them.
The drive to Boulders will take around 40 minutes and is very very scenic.
Here you will see the colony of the African penguin on the beach and by the broadway. Nice place to check out. Bring a camera you will take lots of pictures. Boulders name comes from a cluster of large granite boulders breaking the coastline and providing numerous sheltered inlets and reefs.
Not much to say here. I was so looking forward to seeing the penguins... and see them I did. It was not quite as I imagined it to be - the penguins are on Boulders Beach - you are not. You are on a boardwalk that juts (just) onto it. You have to go through a visitors centre to pay to get in and, whilst these penguins really are wild and their environment is human-free and rather extensive,,, it has the feel of viewing them as you would in at a zoo!