Results 11-16of 16 Reviews
December 15, 2003
Fenced off from the rest of the beach is an area reserved for penguin habitation, for them to breed and nest. Entry is R15 ($€2/£1.50) to meander along the boardwalk which has been laid down to preserve the sand from over-wear and erosion. The penguins, best known as jackasses, not for their tomfoolery but rather the braying sound which males make for
territory/females/to show off, go about their business, seemingly oblivious to your presence and having much better things to concentrate on! In Nov/Dec, they moult for the summer and look rather threadbare, the sand covered with feathery sheddings. Park guards warn you not to interfere or try to feed the birds - both for their sake and also for yours -- you can apparently be on the end of a nasty peck for your trouble and may be subject to a fine (jackasses are not quite endangered but lead perilous lives since oceanic catastrophes such as oil spills render areas of their beach uninhabitable and wipe out both penguins and their dinner. Current worldwide population is c160k birds).
There are some boards detailing facts about penguins/their habits. There's also an info centre, selling postcards, T-shirts, etc. If you approach from the BB Guesthouse (see above), you'll pass by Boulders Beach itself, a small expanse of sand dotted with small rocks of various sizes (hence its name) where penguins escape from the confines described above and sit or lie quite placidly on the rocks, seemingly posing for a photo with you. They rarely get crotchety but don't like it if you stray too close and may simply get up and walk or swim off. You'll also find that the unmistakable smell of guano is less overpowering here!
Keep an eye out at the water too, as seals patrol just offshore for dinner, and if you're lucky you may see a seal chasing and catching its prey (not for the faint of heart though).
An alternative (though less good) viewing spot is to see jackasses at Betty's Bay along the south coast towards Hermanus. Here they mingle with cormorants in nest-building and are less accessible and seem to stand out less well on white rocks than against the sand at Boulder.
From journal Cape Town Pt 2 - In and around the Cape
February 6, 2003
The jackass penguins didn't appear to be threatened by humans and do not seem to mind people sitting on the boulders with them for pictures. I wouldn't suggest trying to feed or touch them because they are wild, but you can get reasonable close to see the detail of their scale-like feathers. We saw a couple of people swimming in the waters--(which were quite cold) and others playing in the sand on the small beach.
On the little paved path the underbrush is fenced in with a chain-link fence; through this it is easy to see the nesting penguins, who surprisingly dig holes in the ground for their nests. We even got a glimpse at the white speckled--(possibly just dirt) eggs when a few of the nesting penguins readjusted their sitting in our view.
Boulders Beach is also a nice place to have dinner at the Penguin Point Cafe. When we came back to our car after dinner the penguins were up on the concrete to catch some of the remaining warmth. Boulder's Beach is within a 5-10 minute drive of Simon's Town.
From journal Exploring the Cape Peninsula
Mexico City, Mexico
March 1, 2002
Boulders Beach (Simon’s Town)
Just south of Cape Town in Simon’s Town is one of only
two spots on the African continent where penguins can be seen in their natural
habitat. About a kilometer south of the main center of town is the turn off for
Boulders Beach, some of the signs have graphics of penguins to make it
impossible to miss.
The small Boulders Coastal Park is a fenced off part of
the beach where jackass penguins breed. A R4 ($ 0.25) entrance fee is charged,
although entry is free during quiet times when there is no park official
present. The penguins pay little attention to the visitors although they have
sharp beaks and a peck can be painful. They are not very large - about knee high
for an adult. You can get pretty close to their rather untidy nests and they
will stride right pass you on their way to and from the ocean without giving you
as much as a second glance. However, don’t disturb them - South Africans take
wildlife protection very seriously and you can receive a fine if you willfully
chase them. (For smaller children the punishment is more likely to be just a
Amazingly the colony of penguins only arrived at Boulders
in 1985. Previously penguins were only breeding on islands off the coast. The
real name of the penguins is African Penguins or (Sphenicus demersis) but
they are commonly called jackass penguins as they make a noise like a baying
donkey. Their baying noise, the smell of their guano as well as the number of
visitors they attract have limited appeal for the local property owners but
visitors simply adore these rather formal looking birds.
The African Penguins are on the "vulnerable" list -
one step above "endangered". The colony in Boulders is actually increasing
in seize but oil spills from frequent tanker accidents in the treacherous and
often stormy seas of the Cape can easily decimate a whole colony of coastal
Betty’s Bay (close to Hermanus)
The other place in South Africa where penguins can be seen
on the continent itself is at Betty’s Bay, on the coastal road from Strand to
Hermanus. The colony is fenced off and you really need binoculars to see the
birds here. However, the coast is rugged, especially once you are past Gordon’s
Bay, and the inland area full of rocks and very little vegetation. This make the
coastal road a more scenic option than the National Highway No 2 to get to
Hermanus, which is famous for its whale watching opportunities. The town
actually employs a whale crier to announce when and where the whales can best be
spotted. Whale watching is most successful from July to early summer when the
southern right whales make their appearance close to the coast.
From journal Cape Town and the winelands
Little Rock,, Arkansas
July 6, 2001
To get to Boulders Beach, you must hike down past local homes brimming with lush tropical landscape, to the water front. Happy trails. Amid boulders, you will see native families enjoying the sun. Join them...
From journal African Safari
November 5, 2000
The increasing number of penguins in and around Simon Town is becoming a problem. Neighbouring humans have complained about the noise, especially at night when penguins are most vocal, and of the smell of guano. Anyway these penguins are easy to approach, and the tourists are pleased. Simon Town is 45 km from Cape Town on the main road leading to Cape of Good Hope.
From journal Cape Town
August 22, 2000
From journal South Africa