Boulders Beach Cape Town...
if I were an African Penguin would I live here?!
Boulders Beach Cape Town
Better to make a statement by breaking out and living somewhere different, right? Then again, there's safety in numbers...
African Penguins' Routine - Boulders Beach Cape Town
Luckily for human visitors most penguins in Cape Town don't seem to want to stand out of the crowd and stick it out at Boulders.
They happily present themselves day-after-day and let us watch them going about their business
Then there's basking, bobbing, swimming, fishing, squabbling. A penguin's work is never done it seems!
What penguins do in PRIVATE
There is ONE thing that penguins prefer to do out of the public gaze (OK, maybe two ;)) - nesting! Our African penguins at Boulders have some difficulties here - they find themselves negotiating busy roads (despite being provided with penguin subways), dodging dogs and cats, and even officious (official!) Penguin Catchers, all in search of a private burrow.
Fortunately, Boulders Beach penguins are still managing to increase their numbers and that's good news for a species on the 'Vulnerable' list for conservation.
Boulders Beach Cape Town and Foxy Beach
The main African penguin colony is at Foxy Beach. The beach there is reserved for penguins – humans are restricted to the boardwalks to keep them under control!
Foxy Beach is flanked by two ‘human’ beaches for swimming and sunbathing – Seaforth and Boulders itself. Seaforth is more spacious but Boulders is a gem - a beautiful, tiny rocky bay carpeted in white sand and penguins to watch and swim with (if you’re lucky).
The path between Foxy Beach and Boulders comes highly recommended. A little fishy-smelling but you may get your closest encounter with a penguin here!
They’re incredibly unconcerned about quiet passers by. Look at these chaps I found under the bushes...
These days you are less likely to find yourself setting out to sea with a penguin companion - things are just a little too busy. The penguins at Boulders are not as shy as wild penguins elsewhere, but when the beach gets crowded the penguins stay out of the limelight.
If you want to enjoy Boulders the beach as well as viewing penguins from the Foxy boardwalk, give yourselves plenty of time. Beaching is no fun if you’re in a rush. Pack some snacks (include plenty of cool drinks), sunscreen, hats and cossies. Then imitate the penguins - bask, feed, swim and soak up the ambience!
By the way, there's no secret here - the best time of day to see the penguins is ... anytime! There are loads of them and they go about their business all day long.
Boulders Beach Cape Town -- Penguins' annual timetable
In case you're wondering what the penguins may be doing at the time of your visit, here's the year as the Boulders penguins see it:
So what's moulting?
Moulting is when the penguins lose all their old feathers and grow new ones. They do it once a year. Feathers keep the penguins waterproof while swimming so they don't get too cold. A good feather 'coat' is worth a lot more than its weight in gold to a penguin!
Moulting penguins sit around looking sick and sad. They don't do much except preen their feathers. They can't fish because their coats aren't waterproof. That’s why they feed themselves up beforehand - to get fat enough to keep going for the 3 week moulting period!
Once their new feathers are perfect - yippee! Back to sea to spend the next 6-odd weeks eating themselves back into shape.
Getting to Boulders Beach Cape Town
This will take about 40 minutes from the centre of Cape Town.
Make your way to Simonstown via the M3, Steenberg Road and Main Road.
What does it Cost?
Entrance to Boulders costs R20 per adult and R5 per child, unless you have a Wild card. (If you have Granny along, SA pensioners with ID pay the child rate.)
Oh, and when you leave...
... don't forget to check for penguins!
Can't make it to Boulders Beach Cape Town but you still want to see penguins? Visit the Cape Town Waterfront Aquarium. You may also see African penguins in the wild at Robben Island
You may find the following related pages helpful:
Top Cape town Attractions
Things to Do
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