I Swam with Penguins!
@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!!!
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
Some more information on Boulders - and the Penguin Colony there
- Boulders African Penguin colony
African Penguins (Spheniscus Demersus) can be easily reached at Boulders Beach near Simon's Town. Now part of the Table Mountain National Park, this area is managed by South African National Parks and is an unforgettable experience when you do the Ca
- Simons Town Tourism Site
A lot of specific information on the Boulders Penguin Colony
- Boulders penguin colony - Cape Town Tourism
Some more info and beautiful photos
It's a gorgeous beach!
How to get there - Google Map
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!
This looks like a great book for Kids!
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!
Caught in Action - or doze modeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Leave me a footprint please, and if you've been to Boulders, don't be shy to say so!