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Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

The African penguin colony at Boulders Beach in Simon's Town  © Mikkel Houmøller, License

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

It all started in 1983 when a pair of African Jackass penguins was noticed on Foxy beach. Foxy Beach is a part of Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. Two years later the couple chose the same beach to lay their eggs on and since then the Boulders Beach penguin colony has grown, increasing at an average rate of 60% a year which, was mostly due to migration from Dyer Island. Today there are an estimated 30 000 breeding pairs of Jackass penguins in Boulders Beach.

The Boulders beach locals are very proud of the penguin colony, but having these feathered friends takes patience. Those closest the beach have their gardens frequently invaded and their plants uprooted by penguin couples seeking a suitable spot to lay their eggs.

The Jackass penguin (named because of its donkey-like braying) is not only noisy but very messy, especially during molting season. Although the penguins are happy to be in close proximity to people it is best to keep your distance as they do have a very nasty bite.

Boulder Beach gets its name from the huge granite boulders (which are approximately 540 million years old) that create small sheltered bays on the beach. It is a short and scenic 20 minute drive from the Cape Town city centre.

Foxy Beach is exclusively for the penguins, although it does have a boardwalk from which to view their antics. On either side of Foxy Beach are the public beaches, which the penguins do venture on and one of which is the famous Boulders Beach. Boulders Beach has beautiful blue water and white sand - perfect for a day of relaxing in the warm African sun and bathing in the water amongst the penguins.

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