Just around the corner from the seaside village of Simons Town – we find the famous colony of Jackass Penguins, so called for their hilarious braying call. This is Boulders Beach
This is a truly special experience and Table Mountain National Park staff are knowledgeable and offer guided tours. After you have fallen in love with the penguins head to the secluded Boulders Beach and take a swim in the comparatively warm waters of the False Bay.
Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is ideal for kids as immense boulders shelter the cove from currents and large waves – but please always take care. Also, don’t touch or feed the penguins. They might look cute and cuddly but their beaks are as sharp as razors and if they feel threatened they have no qualms about nipping the odd finger or nose.
Swimming at Boulders Beach
The ocean here is good for swimming and the big, round boulders on the sandy beach provide some shade and shelter. Since it forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, there is an entrance fee, which goes towards paying for conservation of the endangered African penguins that live here
On a sunny Summer’s day, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a few hours soaking up the sun and watching these facinating creatures.
Get Up-Close And Personal With The Penguins
A good way to see the 3 000 African penguins (Sphenisus demersus) is from the wheelchair-friendly wooden boardwalk at Foxy Beach, accessible via the information centre on Kleintuin Road.
These flightless birds roam freely around the area, so you can get close to them, but please don’t disturb them. They can bite – a warning sign is when they move their heads from side to side.
The Boulders colony was set up in 1983 and is one of very few mainland penguin colonies.
The Penguins Of Boulders Beach
These fast-swimming, deep-diving, braying birds have thrived in their protected home. Their nesting season is from February to August – they nest in simple burrows in the sand or under plants – and the birds moult in November and December.
The park is also home to other birds and small mammals, and you may see whales, seals, sharks and dolphins in the bay.
Contact the Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centre in Simon’s Town to find out more about kayaking and boating trips, accredited guides and operators, and accommodation in the area.
African penguins are about 60cm in length, and weigh between 2.4 and 3.6 kg. They have a black back and a white belly with a black chin and face patch separated from the crown by a broad white band. They have a narrow black band across the chest and down the flanks towards their legs.