Boulder’s Penguin Colony

posted Dec 17, 2010, 10:51 PM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Dec 19, 2010, 10:02 AM ]
This is the one place to view penguins in their natural habitat in the world other than the Antarctic.  I don’t want to go there so South Africa works for me.  Penguins on the beach and it’s hot, who knew??  It is strange to see these cute little endearing African Penguins that seem misplaced on the beach just outside of Capetown. 
To get to this Table Mountain National Park you have to drive towards the Cape of Good Hope, the treacherous peninsula of rock that caused over 600 wrecks off of its shores.  It is a wonderful drive that takes about 45 minutes through green space and small coastal seaside towns; you can also take the upper road that gives you more of the views of the ocean that you follow.  We did both.  The National Park is just outside of Simon’s Town.  I wish we would have brought our swimsuits because there is also a swimming beach further down from the visitor centre where you might be fortunate enough to swim with the odd curious penguin.

It was only 40 rand per adult to get into the park and you can walk around the boardwalks to view this penguin colony of about 3000.  The colony was started by two penguin couples that apparently came to shore in 1983 and since then it has flourished due to the protection that it has been afforded by the National Park status.  The penguins were just finishing their moulting season and then will go into their mating season next month so we did not see any babies.  We saw many couplings of penguins which mate for life and whole groupings of 50 or so.  They dig out little homes under the vegetation in the sand and when we were there at about noon they were all sunning themselves and sleeping for the most part.  There were a few penguins that were playing, swimming and frolicking in the waves.  They were in there fasting stage of approximately one month while they are waiting for their new feathers to be waterproof so they don’t fish until this happens.

We took the walk towards the swimming beach and you use your park ticket to get in.  The beach is very pretty all around this area due to the large boulders that have given this beach its name.  Here you can swim and we were lucky enough to sit on a boulder beside 2 to 4 penguins depending on who left us to go swimming.  These penguins were trying to get rid of their last shreds of their old coat of feathers and were pruning and preening and swimming to get it off and they were not bothered by us at all unless you came within about 4-5 feet close to them then they would back away.

It was time to leave because our stomachs were growling.  We noticed that there was one lone penguin going for a walk along the beach so we followed him or her up the path that we had to take to leave the beach.  It made us laugh because he looked like a little human doing the same thing as us.

We chose the restaurant which is on the beach by the parking for the National park and it was quite good and the views were really nice as well of the beach and boulders and Capetown in the distance.

On the drive home we took the upper road due to a detour and we were glad that we got to do this because the views are incredible and we also saw some more signs that said ‘Don’t Feed The Baboons’.  Those are all over the Western Cape area and we did see the odd baboon by the side of the road on the drive to Capetown.  This was a great thing to see and I wish that Chelsea and Dan could have seen it, but they left today for their trip back to Canada, we will miss them.