Nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon's Town and Cape Point, Boulders has
become world famous for its thriving colony of African Penguins and magnificent
wind sheltered, safe beaches.
set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of the few sites
where this vulnerable bird (Spheniscus Demersus) can be observed
at close range wandering freely in a protected environment.
just two breeding pairs in 1982, the African Penguin colony has
grown to about 3000 in recent years. This is partly due to the
reduction in commercial pelagic trawling in False Bay, which has
increased the supply of pilchards and anchovy, which forms part
of the penguins' diet.
mainly by indigenous bush above the high water mark on one side,
and the clear waters of False Bay on the other, the area comprises
a number of small sheltered bays, partially enclosed by granite
boulders that are 540 million years old. The most popular recreational
spot is Boulders Beach, where one can also swim with the penguins.
are best viewed however from Foxy Beach, where newly constructed
boardwalks take visitors to within a few meters of the birds.
forms part of the Cape Peninsula National Park, which incorporates
Table Mountain and the Peninsula mountain chain from Signal Hill
to Cape Point.
African Penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as a vulnerable
the 1,5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910,
only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th century, The uncontrolled
harvesting of penguin eggs (as a source of food), and guano scraping,
nearly drove the species to extinction.
of their donkey-like braying call they were previously named
the Jackass Penguin. Since several species of South American
penguins produce the same sound, the local birds have been renamed
African Penguins, as they are the only example of the species
that breed in Africa.
diet consists mainly of squid and shoal fish such as pilchards
can swim at an average speed of seven kilometers per hour, and
can stay submerged for up to two minutes.
enemies in the ocean include sharks, Cape fur seals and, on occasion,
killer whales (Orca). Land-based enemies include mongoose, genet,
domestic cats and dogs - and the Kelp Gulls, which steal their
distinctive black and white colouring is a vital form of camouflage
- white for underwater predators looking upward and black for
predators looking down onto the water.
the African Penguin breeds throughout the year, the main breeding
season starts in February. They are a monogamous species and
the lifelong partners take turns to incubate their eggs and to
feed their young.
moulting time is during December, after which they head out to
sea to feed (since they do not feed during moulting), They return
in January to mate and begin nesting from about 1 February to
have very sharp beaks and can cause serious injury if they bite