Boulders Beach – A Special Area For The African Penguin

This post is about Boulders Beach – A Special Area for the African Penguin. People may travel long distances to Southern parts of Australia, Patagonia in Argentina or New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic to enjoy the sight of penguins. Other places tourists may visit to see penguins include Galapagos Islands near Ecuador and the Atka Bay in Antarctica. For those with little financial muscle, the African penguin is ideal and can be seen in its colony near Cape Town in South Africa or the coastlines of Namibia.

Boulders Beach – A Special Area For The African Penguin

Boulders Beach Penguins


In 1982, Boulders Beach witnessed the settlement of some penguins now referred to as Spheniscus demersus or Black-footed Jackass penguin. Boulders Beach has over 10,000 penguins owing to the strictness of personnel who manage the beach under Table Mountain National Park. They do not allow people to come into close contact with the penguins. The penguins have sharp beaks which may hurt you, and so it is for your own safety that the authorities restrict close human contact with them.

If you are driving, they advise drivers to check for penguins under their vehicles to avoid running over them. No poaching of penguins is permitted and strict measures have been put in place to ensure their safety.


Many people may ask why Boulders Beach is the preferred destination for tourists. Of course, expectations are high as you think of visiting boulders Beach. If it is summer, the breeding season will be on. You expect to find small to medium-sized penguins with an average height of two feet. They are unable to fly. They pair themselves during the mating season.


When the female penguin starts laying eggs, the male one looks for comfortable twigs and grass. This is the starting period for parenting which will continue throughout the summer. The incubation period for the eggs is one month and one week or 38 days to be exact.


Many penguin chicks cuddle together not only for warmth but also for special protection against the possible predators such as elephant seals. Others may be seagulls, mongooses, caracals, Cape genets and domestic cats. During this time, parent penguins will continue shuttling between the sea for fishing and back to the mainland to feed their young ones.


Penguins are usually clumsy as they walk on land or rock, but they are expert swimmers, gliding easily in water evading predators. They can even dive into the water beyond fifteen meters. Lion seals and sharks long to catch and eat a penguin but they do not have their way easily. The increase in numbers of penguins proves that predators have had little success.


Boulders Beach – A Special Area For The African Penguin



Penguins, apart from catching fish and crabs for food, enjoy eating squids, which are slightly similar in appearance to the octopus. Whereas the octopus is mainly found at the bottom of the ocean, the squids enjoy eating fish near the surface of the ocean.




In 1994, a ship sank into the ocean and about 19,000 penguins were rescued and washed. However, less than half the population survived. Furthermore, another ship sank and the population of the Boulders beach penguins reduced in the year 2000 due to spillage of oil. The population of the penguins at that time reduced by 27%. You can see how negatively spillage of oil affects the lives of penguins.


Penguins are creatures which are cute and can be funny sometimes. Some may start following your shadow or an object they may find fascinating like a piece of shiny glassy material. They may also follow closely the reflection of a mirror. They are fun to look at and you can enjoy their activities for a long time as they jump into or come out of the water. They are really non-flying creatures which bring joy to you.


Fearing predators on the mainland in South Africa, the penguins will seek solace on isolated islands until the breeding time when they come to lay their eggs. A female penguin will continue laying eggs up to the tenth year. Once the chicks reach the “independence stage,” they go out to sea and spend a year or two before coming back to the mainland.

Boulders Beach – A Special Area For The African Penguin


One of the good things about the Boulders each is that families can swim together with penguins even if many people have crowded the area. Therefore, many people find their way to Simon Town under The Table Mountain National Park to enjoy themselves. The small fee you pay as the entrance to the park is nothing compared to what you will see and enjoy from 08.00 hours to 17.00 hours.

Apart from watching or swimming with the penguins, many visitors like to extend their time to Silvermine where you can enjoy the waterfall and other breathtaking landscapes. You can enjoy many other activities as well.



The next time you want to leave your area for another place, think of boulders Beach first and you shall not regret it at all. There are beach lodges nearby that are good for romantic retreats with spectacular oceanic and mountain views. This place can easily be your top holiday destination.

2 thoughts on “Boulders Beach – A Special Area For The African Penguin”

  1. These penguins are really cute! I found your article very interesting and I learned a few things about penguins. I just have a doubt, though. You mentioned that you can swim with penguins at Boulder Beach, but earlier in your article I read that contact with them is not really encouraged … So, would swimming with them not be considered a sort of contact or are the penguins less on the defensive when they are in the water?

    I hope that one day I can travel to Boulder Beach. I have always wanted to visit South Africa, but I had not heard about this beach. When I go I will do my best to include this place in my itinerary 🙂

    1. Visitors can swim at the beach where penguins freely roam and are likely to get within touching distance. Swimmers in this situation are not advised not to try to touch them. It is the thrill to get so close to these birds that brings many visitors to Simon Town under The Table Mountain National Park.
      I will you well with your plans, Christine, as you plan the trip to this great place.

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