Boulders has served at various times as a whaling station, a base for trek fishermen, and a prisoner-of-war camp during the South African Anglo Boer War.

Today the area provides excellent viewing spots for whales as well as penguins, and also features popular bathing beaches.


Why is it called Boulders?

The name derives from a cluster of large granite boulders breaking the coastline and providing numerous sheltered inlets and reefs. The origin of these boulders can be traced back some 300 million years when molten granite formed the base of the overlaying Table Mountian sandstone. The erosion of the surrounding softer material exposed the rounded granite boulders.

  • The African Penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as a vulnerable species.
  • Of the 1.5 million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, onlysome 10% remained at the end of the 20th century. The uncontrollable harvesting of penguin eggs (as a source of food), and guano scraping, nearly drove the species to exinction.


  • Their enemies in the ocean include sharks, Cape fur seals and, on occasion, killer whales (Orca). Land-based enemies include mongoose, genet, domestic cats and dogs – and the Kelp Gulls which steal their eggs.
  • Their disctinctive black and white colouring is a vital form of camouflage – white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the water.
  • Because of their donkey-like braying call they were previously names the Jackass Penguin. Since several species of the South American penguins produce the same sound, the local birds have been renamed African Penguins, as they are the only example of the species that breed in Africa.
  • Although the African Penguin breeds throughout the year, the main breeding season starts in January . They are a monogamous species and the lifelong partners take turns o incubate their eggs and to feed their young.
  • Their diet consists mainly of squid and shoal fish such as pilchards and anchovy.
  • They can swim at an average speed of seven kilometres per hour and canstay submerged for up to two minutes.
  • Peak moulting time is during December , after which they head out to sea to feed (since they do not feed during moulting). They return in January to mate and begin nesting from about February to August.
  • Penguins have very sharp beaks and can cause serous injury if they bite or lunge.

The three vegetation types found in the area are coastal thicket, strandveld and foredune. Most of the plants are indigenous to the area, providing a home to numberous butterflies and birds. However, about 18 alien plant species are also present. These are gradually being removed and replaced by indigenous species. Besides the African Penguin, a variety of other birds occur in the area, including the African Black Oystercatcher and the Crowned Cormorant , which are both endemic to the Southern African coastline, and the Kelp Gull.


The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) plays a vital role in the protection of penguins and other coastal birds at Boulders and along the entire Southern African coastline. SANCCOB staf and volunteers are always willing to exchange information and to assist in the treatment of oiled or injured penguins at the organisation’s rehabilitation centre at Tableview.

What can you do to help?

  • Spread an awareness of, and love for, African Penguins.
The vegetation supports numerous species of smaller birds including the Cape Robin, Southern Boubou and Lesser Double-collared Sunbird. A detaild bird list is available on request at the pay points. Wild mammals include the Rock Hyrax, Cape Clawless Otter, Cape Grey Mongoose, Water Mongoos,and Large Spotted Genet . A number of reptiles (including chameleons) hav also been recorded in the area.


Whales, seals, sharks and dolphins are often found in the sheltered bays around Boulders. From August to December, the Southern Right Whale and Bryde’s Whale are frequent visitors to this coastline

  • Contribute to SANCCOB
    (Tel: +27 21 557-6155)
  • Report any injured or oiled penguins to SANCCOB
  • Stop others from harassing penguins or report such incidents to the TMNP rangers
  • Refrain from touching the penguins or taking their eggs.
  • Join the Boulders Volunteer Group
    (telephone the TMNP’s Social Ecology department at +27 21 701 8692)

    • TMNP rangers are on a 24 hour call to ensure protection of penguins. (Kloofnek Control (021) 423 3106)

  • Elevated boardwalks provide excellent opportunities for viewing penguins and whales.
  • Panoramic views of False Bay and Noah’s Ark
  • Forest walks and rest points
  • Sheltered sandy beaches ideal for picnics and sunbathing
  • Safe, clear bays for bathing (water  temperature are those of the Indian Ocean although False Bay is actually part of the Atlantic Ocean)
  • Information service provided by volunteers and staff.

Please do

  • Avoid penguin nesting areas
  • Report injured animals
  • Respect the privacy of local residents
  • Obey traffic signagePlease don’t
  • Light fires, gas stoves or “skottel braais”
  • Harass penguins
  • Park in front of residents’ driveways
  • Leave personal belongings unattended
  • Litter
  • Remove plants or other material
    Dogs are excluded from the beaches and are only allowed on Willis Walk if on a leash 
    Some beaches may be inaccessible during high tide. Please check tide tables before visiting Boulders.

Nest led in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point. Boulders has become world famous for its thriving colony of African Penguins and magnificent wind sheltered, safe beaches.


Bordered mainly by indigenous bush above the high-water mark on the one side, and the clear waters of False Bay on the other, the area comprises a number of small sheltered bays, partially enclosed by granite

Although set in the midst of residential area, it is  one of the few sites where this vulnerable bird (Spheniscus demersus) can be observed at close range, wandering freely in boulders.

The most popular recreational spot is Boulders Beach,but the penguins are best viewedfrom Foxy Beach, where

a protected natural environment.

From just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony has grown to about 3 000 in recent years. This is partly due to the reduction in commercial pelagic trawling in False Bay, which has increased the supply of pilchards and anchovy, which form part of the penguins’ diet.

Boulders form part of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) which incorporates Table Mountain and the Peninsula mountain chain from Signal Hill to Cape Point.

newly-constructed boardwalks take visitorsto within a few metres of the birds.

The area is managed in terms of the National Parks Act 57 of 1976 and visitors are kindly requested to respect the sensitivity of the nesting and moulting birds.

Equally important for the existence of this protected natural area in the midst of an urban environment, is the maintenance of respect for the rights and privacy of the residents in the area.