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I Swam with Penguins!

Updated on November 8, 2014

@Boulders, Simon's Town, South Africa

This is THE most beautiful spot to have a swim on a pristine beach...and have the raucous company of some of nature's most alluring creatures! One can't quite fathom who's watching whom...the penguins were studying us as much as we were them!

It's an amazing experience to come so close to Nature...and to watch people respecting the animals' space, even little kiddies having a ball, on their own missions, building sand castles and running around (and around the penguins!).

This little penguin, I'm sure, featured on a whole lot of Facebook Pages the day before Christmas 2013!

He (she?) is part of a colony of Cape Penguins that have made the Boulders area in Simon's Town, near Cape Town, their breeding area. There are more than 2500 penguins on this little stretch of beach!

They just swim up literally zooming around in the water in between the people, ride a wave onto the beach, shake themselves off and then stand there grooming themselves and then doze off in the sun! Awesome!

All photos not separately credited was taken by me (Copyright Marlene McPherson)

Penguins on the beach - under the bushes...everywhere!!!

The main breeding beach at Boulders
The main breeding beach at Boulders

There are a couple of places that the African Penguin has breeding colonies in Southern Africa, the best known one is up the road from Boulders on Robben Island. The largest one is on St Croix island near Port Elizabeth, there's about 50 000 birds on it! Dassen Island off Yzerfontein, once home to over a million penguins, now only has about 30 000, and Dyer Island near Gansbaai has about 20 000. Boulders Beach in Simon's Town is the most remarkable one though with over 2500 birds!

It all started in 1983 when a pair of African penguins were spotted on Foxy Beach at Boulders. Since then the colony has grown rapidly, helped by immigration, especially from Dyer Island. Birds have probably come to False Bay because of the good fishing available since they stopped commercial purse seine fishing in the Bay.

I can remember the initial reports of the penguins. Can you immagine finding them in your garden, braying like donkeys (they were previously known as jackass penguins because of this!), under you car, and in your driveway?! The owners of homes in the Boulders area suffered badly as the birds destroyed undergrowth and were very noisy and messy. The increase in tourists has also been a problem as the streets there are very narrow and it's very built up.

That's why the whole area has now been taken over by Cape Peninsula National Park, the birds have been kept from wandering inland by a fence, and they've built board walks and a beautiful information centre above their beach. Boulders is the only place in the world where you can actually swim amongst the penguins as they have continued to invade more and more beaches!

They've taken over the entire HILL above the beach!

They nest in the bush

There's a Penguin under my car! - ...cheeky things

This fella gave the crowd quite a show!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Incoming!We can share the beach...You're bigger, but I beak bite!Who's watching who?
We can share the beach...
We can share the beach...
You're bigger, but I beak bite!
You're bigger, but I beak bite!
Who's watching who?
Who's watching who?

Place where the gods

played marbles!

It's a gorgeous beach!

How to get there - Google Map

A markerBoulders Beach -
Boulders Beach, Kleintuin Rd, Cape Town 7995, South Africa
get directions

Boulder Hopping Antics

Leap of Faith! - They're fearless!

This is way cool!

Penguins of Madagascar

Love these guys! The creators of these Madagascar characters are just so awesome!

....the real ones are just as cute though!

100 Facts - Penguins
100 Facts - Penguins

This looks like a great book for Kids!

This is a beautiful walk
This is a beautiful walk

Up close and personal

What I like about Boulders and how the Parks Board have done the whole area, is that you can really get close to the penguins all over. There is a wonderful boardwalk between the beach and their breeding beach that passes by the bushy hill where they've placed these little plastic igloos into the soil for the penguins to nest in! Lots of them don't bother though, they just sit under the bushes! And they're quite rowdy!

The information centre and shop is a wonderful source of fun and funny penguin goodies for everyone who visits (tourists included!)

We dog-sitted for a friend in Cape Town for a couple of days over Christmas and spent the day before and the day after Christmas on the beach here at Boulders, because it was just such a lovely place to wade into the water and sit on the beach!

If you decide to go, make sure you pack a picnic, and take an umbrella and chairs so you can stay the whole day, especially on a beautiful summers day like the one we had the day after Christmas! Otherwise go early (they open at 8am) and you can leave with great memories before it gets too hot!

It's perfect for entertaining young 'uns and there's ice cream for sale just up the road! There's a lovely restaurant at the Boulders Guest House with wonderful coffee, breakfast and a view of the sea!

Sun Bathing in Style

Have you gone swimming with any of these? - or would you like to?!

You can do both sides too! Don't be shy!

So cute!

Big Yawn! It's Hot!
Big Yawn! It's Hot!

Caught in Action - or doze mode

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Leave me a footprint please, and if you've been to Boulders, don't be shy to say so!

Do you like penguins? - Ever been near one?

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    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @favored: It was and they're really cheeky, allowing you to come up to them quite close, but apparently they do peck at you if you get too close! They're not phased by humans at all, quite amazing!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      This would be an exciting event for me, especially since I adore these guys. It must have been amazing to be a part of their world for a time.

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @CampingmanNW: I've never been to Elands, so you're one up on me...surfer's go to the darnest places! Yes, Foxy Beach is the inlet that the penguins have to themselves at Boulders and have a boardwalk access at the top for people to observe the colony. The other inlet is the popular swimming beach where you can interact. The two are connected with another boardwalk where you can observe them under the bushes! It's an amazing place and well worth a visit if you ever do come to Cape Town. Thanks for your visit in virtual space!

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 4 years ago

      I've surfed at Elands and had quite the time, but never specifically anywhere in Cape Town. We've heard, and correct me if I'm wrong, but Foxy's is the best place to observe your Penguins. Thanks again for sharing your personal experiences. Cheers

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @esmonaco: Thank you Sam! It was a wonderful experience and the best was - we got to do it for 2 days, not just one! Thank you for hopping in!

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      My wife and I both adore penguins. a fantastic lens and amazing pictures Thank so much for sharing :)

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @MarathonRunning: Thanks for stopping by Martina! Penguins are such funny birds, very cheeky. It was great seeing them up close. They studied us as much as we them!

    • MarathonRunning profile image

      Martina 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      I adore every animal, I`m scared of some of them, but they are still beautiful. Like the idea of swimming with penguins very much! I sow them only in zoos and hope to be in the opportunity to be around them in nature someday.

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @Lynn Klobuchar: I'm sure there's lotsa other things in Minnesota I'll be jealous of! Thanks for hopping in!

    • profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 4 years ago

      How fun! I am landlocked in Minnesota and so this is far from my experience. We have to see our penguins in zoos. Used to use penguin stickers as motivators. I need to buy more!

    • profile image

      tonyleather 4 years ago

      Sounds wonderful! They must be something to see close up, and I'm envious!

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @mel-kav: Thanks Mel-Kav! It is an amazing place, one we're going to go back to often because it is close enough and well worth it!

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      I would love to swim with the penguins. Boulders looks like an amazing place. I really enjoyed your photos.

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @tophatpro: Thanks Laury! They were flippin' cute! And it just happened...we were not even planning it!

    • tophatpro profile image

      tophatpro 4 years ago

      Love this lens as everyone always talks about swimming with Dolphins but have never thought about Penguins in this way before, but it looks awesome!

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @Zeross4: Thanks Daisy! I'm having a ball on Squidoo, it's such an awesome community of inspiring people! Great to meet you! Glad you enjoyed your waddle through my lens!

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 4 years ago from Kentucky

      What an amazing job you did putting this together, very interesting. I loved all the pictures and loved hearing about Boulders and the cute penguins! Keep up the good work :)

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @ColettaTeske: It was, thanks! Thanks for popping in! Love your invokes sitting in front of a campfire listening to great stories!

    • profile image

      ColettaTeske 4 years ago

      Great photos. What a fun time.

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @Max Globe: Oh goodie! Another tourist to be!!!! This is just the tip of (the iceberg)...Africa! See you soon! *wink*

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 4 years ago

      Well now I'm jealous! I wanna go to Africa and see those cute creatures) Thanks for the lens, it made me smile.

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks Susan, it was totally amazing and fun to watch the interaction between penguins and kids, and so up close and personal!

      Thanks for the comment and like!

    • MarleMac profile image

      MarleMac 4 years ago from South Africa

      @flycatcherrr: Cape Town, baby, Cape Town! We're SOOO priviledged in South Africa to be able to get close! It's awesome! Thanks for the like and comment!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      This is so cool - I am envious of your adventure!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I've never been near a penguin. Love what I see here, though. What an amazing adventure!


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