Cape Town and her surrounding coastline offers the visitor some wonderful beaches, but none are more interesting nor more beautiful than the Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town. This beach, with its wind sheltered bays and safe sandy shores, is home to a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins.
African penguins at Boulders beach. Photo courtesy of Ian Wilson
Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area and an entrance fee is required to access these sandy shores that are home to the tuxedoed little bird. Strictly controlled access to this beach by the SANparks authority ensures that it is always clean and tidy and that the facilities are well maintained and spotless. These facilities include toilets and outdoor beach showers. The beach is seldom crowded and is a real hit with little one’s as it offers a very gentle and warm ocean swimming experience.
Once through the turnstiles, one can stake your claim on the pristine sand and then freely explore the large 540 million year-old granite boulders, small rock pools and little bays in the close proximity of the flightless little swimming birds.
To view the African Penguins and their nesting and breeding sites, a superb walkway has been established that takes the visitor on an intimate tour of the area these endangered birds call home. African Penguins were previously referred to as the “Jackass” Penguin due to their donkey-like call, but a more diplomatic choice of name saw them re-christened as African Penguins. The area is patrolled by park rangers to ensure both the visitors safety and the safety of the birds.
For the best penguin viewing experience, Foxy Beach is the place to be, just a short stroll from the actual Boulders Beach. The boardwalks are all wheelchair-friendly and will take you to within metres of the birds. There is also a visitors centre accessed on foot using “Willis Walk” from the Bellevue Road/Cape Point side, or via Kleintuin Road from the Seaforth Road/Simon’s Town side.
Boulders Beach has plenty of decent restaurant, café and accommodation offerings close to the gates (although nothing on offer inside the reserve precinct) and is en-route to Cape Point. A beautiful summer’s day spent at Boulders is tough to beat, but don’t get too close to the Penguins as they have a nasty nip on them.
Dune Lodge is a quiet and comfortable backpacker lodge in the beach-side suburb of Hout Bay. It is conveniently located within walking distance to the beach and shopping centre, where a variety of activities are offered.