Cape Town has some impressive beaches, some even being awarded the enviable blue flag status, but there is one beach that combines sun, sand and sea with a tiny creature that has people enthralled when they come into close contact. We are speaking of Boulders Beach in the quaint seaside and historic town of Simonstown, conveniently on route to Cape Point.
Boulders Beach gets its name from the large and 540 million year old granite boulders, that are striking in their appearance and wind sheltering in their natural functionality. Small rock pools and little bays dominate the area.
This beach, with its wind sheltered bays and safe sandy shores, is home to a breeding colony of tuxedoed little birds, the African Penguins. They are in fact, endangered but approximately 2000 of these African Penguins make this beautiful part of Cape Town their nesting ground. Interestingly, the African Penguins had another name, they were once called the "Jackass" Penguin because of their donkey-like call but it was decided to rename them in a more appropriate sense.
This colony is only one of a few in the world and because of this and the distinctive natural beauty, Boulders Beach has become a famous and popular tourist destination. Naturally, Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area and a nominal entrance fee is charged to gain access. The Boulders section of the park consists of three white sand beaches, one penguin viewing area and three boardwalks.
The boardwalks were built with the African Penguins in mind, they allow keen visitors to wander the winding walkways and get as close as possible to the tiny creatures but keep them safe from inquisitive fingers and allow them the freedom they need in their natural habitat. It's strongly advised that the penguins not be touched or fed, their appearance is cuddly but their beaks are sharp and they can nip.
It's rare for Boulders Beach to be overcrowded even though it is a great hit with kids, not only for the African Penguins as the waddle hilariously around the beach, but the gentle and warm ocean swimming experience. Boulders Beach also has offerings of superb accommodation, a restaurant, so close to the sand you can feel the spray of the ocean, and cafe's. To be on the safe side of time, schedule at least an hour or two for the penguin viewing, a little while longer for clambering on boulders, rock pool exploration and swimming.
Fast African Penguin Facts: