South Africa

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There is a small entrance fee to access the beach, however once there you are free to picnic, sunbath and possibly swim with the penguins from the beach which adjoins the penguin colony. This area of the beach is protected by huge boulders that form calm shallow pools, making this a popular site with families.

At Boulders Beach, or to be more accurate, the adjacent beach that goes under the name of Foxy Beach, there is a fenced reserve and a short series of wooden walkways over the rocks and dunes that have been constructed to give visitors easy access to the bird colony. This enables penguin watchers to move about the area while minimising any  disturbance to the penguins. Mainland nesting colonies of African penguins in South Africa are rare, this colony originated in 1982, from only two breeding pairs, and has grown over the years. The best time to see the penguins is in the late afternoon as they return to the beach after spending the day feeding in the bay. Although the penguins have grown accustomed visitors, They are still wild, and so care should be taken as they can sometimes be a little bad tempered.

Boulders Beach 3The African penguin, whose Latin name is Spheniscus demersus, is called Brilpikkewyn in Afrikaans. They also have two other common nicknames, one being the Jackass penguin, as their call resembles a donkey’s bray, another being the Black-footed penguin. African penguins have a black back and a white belly with a black chin and face patch separated from the crown by a broad white band. They have a narrow black band across the chest and down the flanks towards their legs. They measure about 60cm in length, and weigh between 2.4 and 3.6 kilogram's. Males tend to be a little larger than females and have heavier bills, but these differences are minor and so it can be difficult to tell them apart. The juveniles have blue-grey backs and a light belly and they lack the white face markings and black breast band of the adults. They have red bare patches above of the eyes, and a few randomly placed black spots on the chest and belly.

African Penguins are monogamous, and will generally return to the same colony, and often the same nest site. The vast majority pair off and remain together for consecutive breeding seasons. Some pairs have been known to have remained together for over 10 years. Usually two eggs are laid, with an incubation period is about 40 days, with both male and female participating equally in the incubation process.

Boulders Beach 2 Boulders Beach 4

Boulders Beach is situated south of Cape Town on the outskirts Of Simons Town, and is famous for being home to a thriving colony of African penguins. It can be quite a surprise to find what we think of as an Antarctic bird living so successfully in South Africa's temperate climate. The area is protected and is part of the Table Mountain National Park. It has also been developed over the years and has become a popular tourist attraction.

Boulders Beach 1

Boulders Beach