Boulders Beach

Get a privileged close-up view of an African penguin colony among the spectacular rock formations at this beach that also offers excellent swimming conditions.

At Boulders Beach, get ready to capture that perfect penguin photograph as members of the large, African penguin colony that inhabit these sands waddle their way to and from the ocean. Few places in the world offer such intimate encounters with these creatures. With safe swimming and stunning scenery on offer as well, Boulders Beach is well worth the 25-mile (40-kilometer) trip from Cape Town.

The penguin colony here began in 1983, from just two breeding pairs. Now, more than 2,000 penguins call this area home. Three boardwalks offer great views into their favorite spots on the beach. For the best views, follow the boardwalk through the dense bush and over the sand dunes towards Foxy Bay, where most of the birds congregate. While the colony is fenced off, you are more than close enough to look the birds in the eye.

Once you’ve viewed the penguins, make your way back to Boulders Beach to enjoy a day in the sun. The large, shapely formations of the granite rocks for which the beach is named provide ample shade and the sparkling waters are safe for swimming. Being on the Indian Ocean side of the cape, the water is also much warmer than many of the other Cape Town beaches. Rangers patrol the beach daily.

While the penguins are unquestionably the main attraction, the waters around this beach teem with life. Keep an eye out for whales, seals and dolphins as you enjoy your afternoon in the sun.

Boulders Beach is part of the Table Mountain National Park, and there is a small charge to enter. However, the park’s stewardship means that guided tours, as well as kayak and boating trips, are offered. Ask for details at the information center on entry if you are interested.

Boulders Beach is located 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from Simon’s Town, which is the last stop on the Southern railway line from Cape Town. The beach is open daily year-round, with longer hours during summer.

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