Boulders Beach Cape Town – The Penguin Beach Colony

by Kojo Pocu
Beaches In Cape Town

If you have been following some of my Cape Town travel guides, you will know the city has a lot to offer everyone visiting. Either you visit on a tight budget or you are on a business trip, there is something for you. But in post I’m going to outline all you need to know about Boulders Beach Cape Town before you visit. I’m pretty sure you landed on this page because you want to know more about this beautiful beach.

About Boulders Beach Cape Town

Boulders Beach Cape Town gets its name from the sheltered beach made up of inlets between granite boulders. It’s in Simon’s Town, a suburb of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, on the Cape Peninsula. Boulders Bay is another name for it. It’s a famous tourist destination thanks to a colony of African penguins that arrived in 1982. Table Mountain National Park includes Boulders Beach.

Only the southern African coasts are home to these African penguins (South Africa & Namibia). These penguins are on the point of becoming extinct. As a result, the Cape Nature Conservation has taken steps to protect the penguins.

Despite being in the middle of a residential area, it is one of the few places where this endangered species (Spheniscus demersus) can be seen up close and roaming freely in a natural setting. The penguin colony has grown from two breeding couples in 1982 to around 3000 birds in recent years. This is thanks to the ban on commercial pelagic fishing in False Bay, which has boosted the supply of pilchards and anchovies, which are important parts of the penguins’ diet, as well as assistance from Van the Penguin Man, a former SANDF naval officer.

The area consists of a series of small sheltered bays, partially enclosed by 540 million-year-old granite boulders, and is bordered on one side by indigenous bush above the high-water level and on the other by the clear water of False Bay.

Boulders Beach is the most popular recreation area, although the penguins may be seen best from Foxy Beach, where recently erected boardwalks bring people within a few metres of the animals. Although people are prohibited to beaches adjacent to the penguin colony, it is a popular bathing beach.

Can You Swim In Boulder Beach?

Boulders Beach is a famous family-friendly swimming beach where youngsters may climb over the boulders, explore the rock pools, and swim in the cool, clear False Bay water. It’s also a fantastic spot for a relaxing picnic. The beach is rarely crowded due to the conservation charge which is cheap.

If you want to learn more about the area’s famed residents, visit the Boulders Visitors Centre, where knowledgeable guides will provide you with a wealth of information about Africa’s own, distinctive penguins.

Can You Swim With Penguins at Boulder Beach?

Visitors are not permitted to touch the penguins, despite the fact that they are likely to get within touching distance. This is for their and your safety, as they have sharp beaks that they will use to defend themselves if they feel threatened. Boulders Beach is a no-take zone that is part of a Marine Protected Area. This means that fishing and the removal of any other sea life, including shells, are prohibited. Also prohibited are the use of alcoholic beverages and the use of tobacco products.


What To Expect

Three beaches, three boardwalks, and a penguin observation area make up Boulders Beach. You must pay a conservation charge at the visitors centre to get admission. The main beach is a picturesque cove with panoramic views of False Bay and ancient granite boulders protecting it from the wind, waves, and current. It’s a nice place to have a picnic and swim because it’s sheltered. Although the sea in False Bay is warmer than the Atlantic Ocean beaches off Cape Town, be prepared for cold temperatures.

Because the penguins are naturally curious and travel freely over the region, you’re likely to encounter them checking your picnic basket or bobbing alongside you in the shallows. Wander along the boardwalk that connects the main beach to Foxy Beach for a closer look. It takes you through the colony, bringing you within a few feet of the nesting places. The boardwalk at Foxy Beach leads to a viewing platform where you may get a better view of the penguins mingling, fishing, and playing in the waves.


Best Time To Visit Boulder Beach Cape Town

Penguins can be found at Boulders Beach all year, although the breeding season is when they are most prevalent. This lasts from February through August, with the best months being March and May. Both parents will take turns incubating their eggs in shallow burrows at this time. It’s moulting season from November to January, so don’t be surprised if the penguins are a little scrawny. The following are the hours of operation:

April to September (8:00am – 5:00pm)

October to November (8:00am – 6:30pm)

December to January (7:00am – 7:30pm)

February to March (8:00am – 6:30pm)

Daily rates for foreign visitors are R152 per adult and R76 per child. There are discounts for South African citizens and SADC nationals.

Getting to Boulders Beach Cape Town

The most convenient method to get to Simon’s Town is to drive south on the M4 from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope, then along the east side of the Cape Peninsula.

There is a regular MetroRail service from Capetown to Fishhoek, Kalk Bay, and Muizenberg for public transportation. It is suggested that you purchase a first-class ticket, and while MetroRail trains have been known to have safety issues in the past, they are now considered to be relatively safe. However, taking the train late at night is not suggested. Boulders Beach Penguin Colony is within a 20-minute walk from Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town.