The Beach got its name thanks to 540 million years old granite boulders which protect it from wind and large waves. Thus sheltered and featuring soft white sand, it presents an ideal place to go swimming. However, the real attraction of Boulders Beach is its fascinating non-human inhabitants.
The African Penguins Colony
Since 1982, Boulder Beach is home to a colony of African penguins, making it one of few sites this cute bird can be seen at close range. Wandering around freely, penguins can be observed throughout the year though they will spend months of September and October out at sea.
They normally swim within 20 km of the shore in pursue of pilchards and anchovies, squid, shrimps, crabs and other small crustaceans. When molting, penguins will fast for about 20 days until their new feathers become waterproof. That’s why, before molting, they will devour massive amounts adding 30% more fat to their bodies. When in the water, these skilful swimmers can move as fast as 24 km per hour, using their wings as very efficient flippers.
Penguin’s distinctive black and white colouring is a form of camouflage. The white belly is difficult to observe by predators looking up, and the black back similarly so for those looking into the dark water from above. African Penguins are easily recognisable by bands of black shaped like a horseshoe, black feet and black spots on their chests. Did you know that these spots are as unique to individual penguins as human fingerprints are to us?
Pink glands positioned above their eyes serve as temperature regulators. When it gets hot, their bodies send more blood into these glands so it can get cooled by the surrounding air. As a result, you’ll see glands turn darker pink. This monogamous bird lays eggs, and a fascinating fact is that incubation is undertaken equally by both parents. When fully grown up, African Penguin can be up to 60–70 cm tall. Unless they fall prey to ocean predators such as sharks or Cape fur seals, they can live to be almost 30 years old.
Penguins on Boulders Beach Being are accustomed to human presence and will allow you to approach them as close as a meter. The best way to shorten the distance is to use boardwalks constructed at the Foxy Beach. Though don’t get fooled by how cute they look and try to pet them. Penguins have razor-sharp beaks and will not hesitate to use them should they feel threatened.
Boulders Beach provides an experience like no other and that’s why we love it so. If you’ve got an opportunity to visit, make sure to join these lovely creatures on the beach; we guarantee you’ll fall in love!