Monday, February 6, 2012

Cape Town Trip: The Penguins at Boulders Beach

The journey continues.

When we woke on our first beautiful morning in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, we decided that we wanted to see the penguins. South Africa is home to the African penguin, and Boulders Beach is the place to see them. (As always, click on the images to see them bigger.)

This is the view from Boulders, looking back towards Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay.

Boulders is part of the Table Mountain National Parks (which is not just restricted to Table Mountain itself - rather it's a collection of spread out areas that fall under the protection of this organisation). You arrive at the Beach through a building (you pay to see them, and that goes to taking care of them). You walk over boardwalks so that you don't disturb the penguins' natural activities, which include napping in the sun, swimming in the waves, and walking up the dunes to lay eggs and have babies. Depending on the time of year, you might see babies or "Blues" (immature penguins).

There are natural nests dug by the penguins under the shrubbery (which you can see in the first pic below, if you look carefully) but the peeps at Table Mountain National Park also put out manmade "nests" too. In the second pic you can see a mama/papa sitting on their eggs.

It was fabulous! The penguins are as close as just under the boardwalk, or up on the dune at your eye level (like this guy who was waiting for us when we arrived).

My Dad got to see one waddle down to the ocean and pop in for a swim, but the rest of us were watching another little guy on the other side on the dunes. I think the key to this place is to not just walk to the ends of the boardwalks, but to stop along the way and look around carefully. A bunch of people walked right by the penguin on the egg in the manmade nest without even seeing them.

If you go, there is a second beach where the penguin colony doesn't roost, but where they do swim and walk. You can pack your swimsuit and swim with them - but remember these are wild animals and I'm sure will take a nip at you if you get too close!

Try this link for more info, but I'm sure any good guide book will get you there.


cat said...

I love visiting the penguins

sakurasnow said...

Wonderful! I thoroughly enjoyed visiting them a few years ago, and it was nice to 'revisit' them through your post - thank you :)
They're very characterful creatures, aren't they!
Looking forward to more from your Cape Town trip...