The truck stopped in a carpark and we went for a walk along a wooden boardwalk to a lovely beach called Boulders Beach in False Bay. It offered something extra special – a colony of African Penguins in all their smartly dresses, waddling glory, right under our nose. In fact, it’s the only place in the world where you can get close to African Penguins.
(Please click on any image to enlarge the gallery)
In 1982 a couple of these little crowd-pleasers settled on the soft white sand between the large granite boulders that protect the beach from wind and large, stormy waves, and currently the population is estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 birds. Sadly the African Penguin has been classified as an endangered species, due to things like over-fishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and irresponsible tourism activities, and the Boulders Beach colony has also felt the effect, with numbers dwindling over the last couple of years.
A few short videos of the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, near Capetown
Thankfully, Boulders and its surrounding beaches now form part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, thus ensuring the beaches are safe and clean, and the penguins protected. A couple of years ago three wheelchair-friendly boardwalks were constructed to accommodate the nearly 60,000 visitors that visit the beach each year. These boardwalks wind their way through the dunes and vegetation and not only provides great viewing spots, but also protects nesting penguins and their chicks. However, you can still spot one or two of the little fellas waddling through the parking lot from time to time.