Boulders Beach takes its name from its huge granite rocks, which create a cluster of little coves with sandy beaches and clear sea pools, which are gorgeous for swimming. However, the main reason people come to Boulders’ fenced seafront reserve is for the African penguins (formerly known as jackass penguins). African penguins usually live on islands off the west side of the South African coast, and the Boulders birds form one of only two mainland colonies in the world. This is also the only place where the endangered species are actually increasing in numbers, and provides a rare opportunity to get a close look at them.
Access to the Boulders reserve is through two gates, one at the Boulders Beach, (eastern) end, off Bellevue Road and the other at the Seaforth Beach (western) side, off Seaforth Road. Both entrances are signposted along Main Road between Simon’s Town and Cape Point. At Seaforth, there’s a small visitors’ centre and deck, from which two boardwalks lead to either end of Foxy Beach where you’ll see hundreds of penguins. Most people walk from Seaforth to Boulders, looking at all the penguins in the bushes along the paths, where there are masses of burrows for nesting. At Seaforth itself, there is safe swimming on the beach, which is bounded on one side by the looming grey mass of the naval base. While there are no facilities of any kind on Boulders Beach, there is a restaurant with outdoor seating and fresh fish on the menu at both of the entrances to Boulders.