Boulders Beach

For a reason that I’ve never been able to explain, I’ve always loved penguins. The first computer game I had was about penguins. My favourite TV shows were about penguins. The documentaries I watched were about penguins. Penguins. Penguins. Penguins. I love penguins. It might be because my aunt drew a penguin on a painting she made me for my first birthday, but then again maybe not. Point of the story? I love penguins (obviously Ariana, we get it).

As I might have said in my previous post, I was born in Cape Town and I have lived there ever since. An hours drive away from Cape Town is Simon’s Town – home to Boulders Beach. What’s that you ask? A beach where you can swim with penguins. Yes. Swim. The beach is enclosed and is a considered a national park while being home to a pretty large (in my professional opinion) penguin colony. This means that you pay to go to the beach, but all of the money goes towards making sure that the cuties stay safe and healthy. Currently, entrance is R35 for a child and R70 for an adult. Although it’s a bit steep, it’s definitely worth it for the experience. You can also stay on the beach for as long as you want, provided you leave before closing time.

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The first time I went to Boulders was in grade 4 for a school outing. Unfortunately my memory of steel doesn’t remember much of the event except for the fact that Aaron’s mom, whose name I forgot, drove a few kids there and back. She also bought us ice cream – apparently the highlight of the trip for me. I don’t remember their names, but they were basically tubes of frozen juice in bright green, yellow and red. Red has always been my favourite flavour.

Last year, my friend Megan asked me to go with her. To say that I jumped at the opportunity is an understatement. We had the best time. We swam, tanned, ate, took photos and gossiped. A girl’s dream. This year we decided to go again and I have no doubt that we will continue to do this until the end of time.

There is just something so special about Boulders Beach. I’m assuming it got its name after the (you guessed it) boulders all over the beach. They’re almost reminiscent of those huge limestones that you see in Thailand.  I mean, look at this landscape. It’s literally breathtaking. P.S. None of these photos are edited.

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Another amazing thing about Boulders is that the turquoise sea is not only calm but completely clear. This is completely different to Clifton’s cold and occasionally rough waves. I almost regret not going sooner. I’m sure my parents took me, but I don’t remember. At least I have these photos.

In case you’re wondering, when you walk onto the beach, you might think “Oh god no, it’s small and there are kids everywhere, I’ll stay for an hour tops”. Don’t worry, the locals know all the secrets. If you notice people walking to the far side of the beach and disappearing behind some rocks, nothing dodge is happening, they just know where the good spots are and where to find them. Megan taught me to first walk in between two rocks, and by walk I mean do a funny crouched walk. Then you’ll have to climb over a few boulders and voila you’ve discovered your own cluster of little private beaches! This is also where you’ll find most of the penguins and most of their poo.

I’ve obviously included some photos of the fun penguins I stumbled upon this year. I also feature in some of the images. Bless.

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The penguins won’t bother you when you are sitting with a friend and snacking on your picnic lunch. Occasionally they’ll make a funny hoot and then they will shuffle along. Obviously you can’t touch them. They are wild animals and they will probably snap at you, but you can relax around them. If you don’t disturb them, they don’t disturb you.

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PENGUIN FACT: penguins are super into monogamy and they kind of hate patriarchy. Once a penguin finds a mate, that becomes their partner for life! Once they have  a baby, the mom will go hunting and the dad will stay at home with the baby. How’s that for fun?

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Words really fail me when I have to describe Boulders Beach. It is such a tranquil environment, where you really feel like you are in another world. It’s whimsical. Magical. Special. Truly just wonderful. I feel completely relaxed and transported when I spend the day with my penguin friends. Did I mention that I can’t stand the beach? I rarely go to the beach and I live less than 5 minutes away. Boulders however, if I could go every day I would.

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I hope I convinced you to add Boulders Beach to your bucket list! If you live in Cape Town, then I hope I’ve inspired you to explore your town a little bit! If you want any additional information, you can check out THIS useful site. I might have overdone it with the photos, but I really struggle to rationalise when it comes to photos of cute penguins. Sorry about that. I’ll try cut back in next year’s post.

X Ariana

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