Sunday 1 May 2011

Boulders, penguins, and the world's best fish & chips

A troublesome internet connection at the place we stayed in while in Cape Town made uploading photos onto my blog almost impossible. Since I took about a million pics, though, and have an equal number of good memories of our trip, there may well be a truckload of posts from here on ...

Boulders Beach was one of the first places Younger Daughter and I wanted to head off to on a sunny day right after we arrived. Boulders is a little sheltered cove near Simon's Town, as you drive the coastal road along this rugged stretch of the peninsula ...

towards Cape Point ...

This is not one of the Cape's famous sunbathing beaches like trendy Clifton or secluded Llandudno. It's part of the Table Mountain National Park, which includes the whole peninsula mountain range that you see above.

It's aptly named, and also the protected home of a growing colony of about 3000 African Penguins, now thriving after near-extinction. 

These are much smaller than the big Emperor penguins of the Antarctic, and awfully cute little fellows. They're much loved by local residents, who take care to check under their cars for stray penguins that wander out of the protected area from time to time.

We watched them taking little solo waddles in the sunshine, napping in the shelter of rocks, hanging out and shooting the breeze with mates, and even mating (top left - these exemplary males are monogamous, mating for life and even taking turns to sit on eggs and feed their babies!).

They are also quite hospitable about sharing their space with visiting humans, and happy to let us get pretty close, providing one shows them due respect ...

So distracted were we by the pleasures of sharing a spot of sunshine with the penguins that we didn't notice the tide coming in ...

... and had to do some fairly hectic rock-climbing

to get back to the main beach ...

(bottom left is a dassie (rock hyrax or rock rabbit) sunning himself on a rock, appropriately enough, and bottom right the beach house I fancy).

Lunch was on the upstairs terrace of The Meeting Place, our favourite café/deli in Simon's Town ...

... with this view over the harbour. Simon's Town is a naval base, hence the serious-looking ships behind the yachts. (And in the foreground, Salty Sea Dog - home to outrageously good fish & chips) ...

For the drive back we took the high road, along Boyes Drive, with fabulous views of the coastline and endless stretches of beach ...


  1. I thought of you yesterday morning. A dear friend of mine, the South African I mentioned earlier happened to call me to work through a computer problem I'd caused and he talked of his impending trip back home. So glad you're having such a lovely holiday with your beautiful family.

  2. Hello! Glad your "hectic rock climbing" allowed you time to take one more pic.....! The Meeting Place looks like my kind of place. Sounds like you're having a ball!

  3. Oh these photos are wonderful! They are showing me views so very different from what I expect to see in my everyday life in New York. I really did not know that these beautiful and friendly penguins lived in S Africa, and surely never ever knew about rock rabbits.

    Thank you again for enlarging my world!


  4. Absolutely gorgeous, and those African penguins are adorable. So good to hear they are being protected and well taken care of now.

  5. Love the photos! Not only a gorgeous place, but fun too! Adorable penguins. When living in San Francisco, I once had a South African-born boyfriend (w/ Greek parents) and wanted to see it through his eyes. Alas, the relationship didn't last long enough to see SA in person. It's still on my list.


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