African Penguins at Boulders Beach

African penguins, formerly known as jackass penguins for the distinctive braying sound they make, are probably some of the cutest wildlife you’ll get to spot in South Africa. We never miss the chance to spend some time with these little monochrome charmers, so of course we had to stop at Boulders Beach when last we were in Cape Town.


Apparently you can swim alongside the penguins here, but we went in at the Visitor Centre (which is quite pricey at R70 per adult) from where there is a wooden walkway down to the beach with a lookout point over the penguins. It doesn’t allow access to the actual beach itself, but you do get to read up about the penguins on informative signboards along the way, see some of the shelters in which the penguins nest, and you have a lovely view of the beach, the eponymous boulders and, of course, the stars of the show themselves.

We visited in April, just after moulting season, so while most of the penguins we saw were sleek and shiny, a few fluffier juveniles were still to be seen. We just wanted to pick them up and cuddle them and love them! Penguins are monogamous and you could see family groups sitting together, like they were catching up on the latest gossip.

Sadly, the African penguin is classified as an endangered species, which is why the hefty entrance fee did not deter us. The area along Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and is managed by SANParks. I firmly believe that the more we visit such conservation projects and spread awareness of the plight of animals in need, the higher the chances of their survival become. Penguins are such adorable animals, even though the locals might complain of the smell or the noise, that they simply have to be protected for future generations. So whenever you are in Cape Town again, treat yourself to a visit to the penguin colony at Boulders Beach. You won’t regret it.

Have you swum with the penguins at Boulder’s Beach? Do you like animal encounters when you travel? Tell us about your favourite experience in the comments below.

For more posts in the Western Cape Whirlwind 2015 series, click here.

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