Cape Peninsula – Boulders Beach

About the Birding

The best places to see nesting African Penguins is along the main walkway bordering the colony (accessible from -34.1958, 18.4492 and -34.1979, 18.4532) and from the boardwalk to the main beach (access through the ticket office at -34.1958, 18.4492). These are fenced to protect the nesting penguins from the public. Penguins sometimes are present outside of these fenced areas, and people are asked to keep their distance so as to not disturb the birds. Penguins can also inflict a serious bite so keep a safe distance.

The adjacent shoreline, with its prominent granite boulders, is good for a variety of endemic sea- and shorebirds. African Oystercatcher is common, usually seen feeding on the exposed mussel beds at low tide. Cape Cormorants regularly roost in large numbers, especially after winter storms. Small numbers of Crowned, and the occasional Bank Cormorant can also be seen roosting or flying past. In summer, a large roost of Swift (Great Crested), Common and Sandwich Terns forms adjacent to the southern parking lot (-34.1978, 18.4533).

Species found in the coastal thickets along the walkway include Southern Boubou, Karoo Prinia and White-backed Mousebird. Rock Hyraxes are often seen sunning themselves on exposed rocks.

Key species:

African Penguin, Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, African Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Swift (Great Crested) Tern

About the Birding Site

Boulders Beach is located in Simonstown, and currently is one of only two mainland-based African Penguin breeding sites. The first pair nested here in 1985, sheltered in amongst the giant granite boulders that line the coast on this part of False Bay. The African Penguins are definitely the main attraction at the site, but there are several other bird species to be seen offshore and in the dense coastal thicket.

Key species:

African Penguin, Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, African Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Swift (Great Crested) Tern

Other Related Information

To get onto the main boardwalk, South African residents (with ID) pay R40 for adults and R20 for children. Citizens of Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries (with passports) will have to pay R85 for adults and R42 for children. Citizens of other countries will be charged R170 for adults and R85 for children. Wild Cards can be used. The first walkway mentioned is free to access.
Most areas of Boulders Beach are wheelchair accessible.

A map is downloadable from https://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/parks_table_mountain/boulders-brochure.pdf

Key species:

African Penguin, Crowned Cormorant, Cape Cormorant, African Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Swift (Great Crested) Tern

Contact details:

Boulders Visitor Centre
Tel: +27 (0)21 786 2329

SANParks
Website: www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/tourism/attractions.php#boulders

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