Just outside of Simon's Town, South Africa is a very special place called Boulders Beach. This beach is special for two reasons: 1) it is home to a colony of approximately 2,500 African Penguins (formerly known as "Jackass" Penguins); and 2) it is the place where my wonderful brother proposed to his beautiful wife three Christmases ago. That was very romantic on the part of my brother because of the location but also because penguins mate for life... how sweet! :-) During our trip home to South Africa for the holidays this year, we made the trek back to this spot (two years after the proposal) so Rich & Shelby could remember that special moment and so that I could finally visit the penguins!
R&S -- Two Years after the proposal!
Before I dive into the fabulous photos, here are a couple of quick tips when visiting the beach. First of all, Boulders Beach is about 45 minutes to an hour driving distance outside of Cape Town (depending on which way you drive and where you are starting from). When you arrive in Simon's Town and start following the signs to Boulders Beach (or you see the Penguin crossing signs on the main road).
There is an official Nature Reserve called Table Mountain National Park/Boulders Beach where you can pay R30 per adult to enter the reserve and walk along wooden walkways to view the Penguins. Parking is extra. And depending on the time of the year (especially in Dec-Jan summer holiday season), be prepared to wait in line! BUT... here is the insider tip: park on the street just up the road from the official parking lot and acknowledge the car guard monitoring the street (you can tip him a couple of Rand on the way out once you confirm your car is just as you left it). Once you have parked, walk down the street or one of the alleyways to get down to the main entryway to the National Park.
Instead of waiting in line for the Park, continue walking past the entryway and continue walking down the wooden walkways towards the next beach. You will walk for somewhere between 1/4 - 1/2 mile down the walkway and through a parking lot before you reach the next beach. Here you will find FREE entrance to a beach which the Penguin colony also inhabits and you can literally walk right up to the Penguins with no barriers or restricted paths. I do not recommend trying to pet the Penguins though because they have sharp beaks and will bite!!
Okay, now that I have imparted my words of wisdom... back to these beautiful creatures! I was absolutely smitten with the penguins and took a couple hundred photos in a very short period of time. They are just too funny -- I mean, have you ever really watched them walk, hop and waddle around? They do this little shuffle-hop movement when they are skirting around the rocks which is just too funny for words... Here are some of my pics from our visit - I hope you enjoy and they will encourage you to visit when you are next in South Africa.
Contemplating a swim...
These guys were enjoying "group swim"
And this is after the swim... still hanging together
A different group migrating across the rocks
Their grooming habits are also flawless...
But it pays off... look how beautiful these little guys are!
More to come from South Africa soon... Stay tuned!