African penguins on the stone in evening twilight. African penguin ( Spheniscus demersus) also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin. Boulders colony. South Africa
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Boulders Penguin Colony

Top choice in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

This picturesque area, with enormous boulders dividing small, sandy coves, is home to a colony of some 3000 delightful African penguins. A boardwalk runs from the Boulders Visitor Centre at the Foxy Beach end of the protected area – part of Table Mountain National Park – to Boulders Beach, where you can get down on the sand and mingle with the waddling penguins. Don’t, however, be tempted to pet them: they have sharp beaks that can cause serious injuries.

The bulk of the colony, which has grown from just two breeding pairs in 1982, seems to prefer hanging out at Foxy Beach, where, like nonchalant, stunted supermodels, they blithely ignore the armies of camera-touting tourists snapping away on the viewing platforms. (The beach itself is off-limits to visitors.)

The aquatic birds, which are an endangered species, were formerly called jackass penguins on account of their donkey-like braying – you’ll have a chance to hear it if you turn up during the main breeding season, which peaks from March to May. Parking is available at either end of the reservation, on Seaforth Rd and on Bellevue Rd, where you’ll also find accommodation and places to eat. Boulders is around 3km southeast of Simon’s Town.

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