• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

Find Accommodation in South Africa
Subscribe to our Feed
Posted on: Monday, 11 August 2008

The Penguins at Boulders Beach

Send to Kindle

There’s something very peculiar about standing on a sandy shoreline, basking in the South African summer sun while gazing out across the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean, only to encounter a group of penguins waddling past your beach towel on their way to having a dip.

Well at Boulders Beach, a National Park, just outside Simon’s Town (en-route to Cape Point), nature has been playing the strangest tricks on sun worshipers for some time.

Boulders Beach is home to the ‘Jackass’ African penguin, which has been hanging out along the Southern African coast for… er… donkey’s years, in more recent times living shoulder to knee-cap with the local human population of Simon’s Town.

Named “jackass” after their distinctive Eeyore impersonations, they occur in only 27 other sites, including Robben Island, and despite their large numbers at Boulder’s (some 3000), they are very much endangered.

They especially hit the headlines back in June 2000, when some 1,400 tonnes of heavy fuel oil leaked from the bulk carrier Treasure off Cape Town prompting a massive rescue operation. Luckily, an overwhelming number of Capetonians and tourists rushed to the rescue, and during the following months 10 000 penguins were individually caught and treated successfully.

So, on your visit you might wish to donate a few cents towards the marine wildlife charity Sancob, who continue to be instrumental in protecting and raising awareness of the penguin’s plight.

The site is made up of two interconnected beaches: Foxy Beach – where you can view the entire colony from a newly constructed boardwalk, and Boulders Beach – where you can actually swim alongside them, or at least try – they are extremely fast! Practically everywhere you look, behind every rock and bush, you’ll find them standing around, as if waiting for a bus. Children will absolutely adore their antics, and the adults won’t be able to put their cameras down.

Never in your life, and certainly outside of Antarctica, did you ever imagine that you could get so close to such wonderful and curious creatures. There are only a few places in the world that you’d come across a sign warning motorists to be on the look out for penguins hiding out under their cars!

While you are at it, keep an eye out for the resident ‘dassies’, one of the cutest and cuddliest little fury critters imaginable (a bit like an extremely large guinea pig) who can often be found basking in the sun beside the walkways. They seem to love posing for the cameras.

There is an information centre, selling all-manner of penguin merchandise, (jackets, toys, postcards, videos), complete with an adjacent cinema, and I would very much recommend watching at least a few minutes of ‘City Slickers’, an award winning wildlife documentary about the extraordinary penguin / human co-habitation that constitutes normal everyday life for the residents of Simon’s Town (screened continually throughout the day).

Useful Links:
Simons Town Accommodation
Simons Town Attractions
Cape Town Attractions
Cape Town Accommodation
South Africa Accommodation


Photo Gallery – Penguins at Boulders Beach – click to view enlargements

The SA-Venues.com Team


Photographs, posts and articles filed under "The SA-Venues.com Team" are either very old articles (this blog has been going since 2005!), are a combined effort or have been submitted to us by a third party, the name of which is/should be displayed in or below the actual article. Special offers and general event posts are also found here as they are generally a team effort.

Related Posts: