Results 1-10of 16 Reviews
London, England, United Kingdom
October 2, 2011
From journal South Africa: What to See and Do in Cape Town
ashbourne, United Kingdom
March 29, 2010
From journal South African Road Trip
April 20, 2006
From journal Cape Town: First World to Third World
Cape Town, South Africa
January 6, 2006
From journal Simon's Town - Home of the Penguin
Victoria, British Columbia
October 19, 2005
From journal Cape Province, South Africa - 2000
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
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
June 27, 2011
Oxford, United Kingdom
October 16, 2009
From journal Visiting the Cape Peninsula
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
October 30, 2004
We explored the small fishing village of Kalk Bay and felt a strange sense of excitement as we watched the steam-train pull away from the picturesque station and continue its coastal journey. The main street is lined with interesting, balconied shops, brightly painted in crisp colours. These are a real delight if you have an interest in antiques or porcelain. "Chinatown" is crammed with thousands of items of chinaware and, at some points, we dare hardly move lest we knock over a display cabinet. You could spend hours in this one emporium eyeing up the Wedgwood and the Minton, the Clarice Cliff and the Royal Doulton. If you’re into porcelain, I defy you to leave this shop without buying something!
Next, we drive through Fish Hoek, basically a seaside village with a small harbour, and continue south to Simon’s Town (named after Simon van der Stel of Groot Constantia fame). This town has an impressive naval harbour, a mass of maritime monuments and a "bucket load" of Victorian and Cape Dutch houses. Then south towards Boulders Beach, where we both wanted to visit, and the Penguin Colony. Apparently, almost 3,000 jackass penguins live here. There are the obligatory souvenir stands – we did pause to look, but although the quality was good, nothing caught our eye.
At the beach, we followed the most popular clockwise route, and on this walk we saw the odd loner penguin. I was prepared to be disappointed as we rounded the corner, but the beach and sea was packed with penguins. I suggest that all manner of society was mirrored here. We saw penguins which appeared to be guarding the perimeter of their village; lovebirds staring transfixed into each other eyes; the homebuilder; the exhibitionists who were propagating in view of their human audience. We saw family protectors who were chasing off the herring gulls that made repeated efforts to steal and heard the aggressive braying call of the lonely male seeking his mate. It’s a call that is hard to associate with these delicate-looking birds, but it was clear at this point why the African Penguin is called the Jackass.
They waddled to the edge of the sea and then hurled themselves into the water or rapidly retraced their steps before they turned hesitantly towards the sea again, pondering their next move. I wonder if the sea was a little too cold for them! We saw them standing on the rocky boulders and swimming gracefully back to the shore – bobbing up and down through the gentle waves of Boulders Beach.
I’d recommend that you also take the quieter, anticlockwise route, as I managed to get much closer to penguins that stood looking defiantly up at me.
Boulders is an absolute treat!
From journal A few days in Southern Cape Town