Up close and personal with the Boulders Penguin Colony
You can rarely see penguins outside of a zoo, let alone roam around on the beach or swim with them. That's what makes Boulders Penguin Colony in South Africa so remarkable. Here, tourists can waddle with the wildlife and enjoy three pristine beaches near the grand Table Mountain.
The African penguin
These cute critters scamper freely through Boulders Colony. It's not like a zoo, where the birds are confined to a small, glass-encased area. Here, an African penguin could be scurrying by your feet, leaping on some nearby rocks or scooting across the beach, according to Cape Town Tourism. Travelers flock from all over the world to watch the penguins scuttle through the sands or swiftly cut through the ocean waves.There's even a viewing area so you can see the great group of penguins in its entirety. There are close to 3,000 penguins in the colony, so be prepared to share the beach with the birds during your stay.
The African penguins are a protected species because they've been classified as endangered in recent years. In fact, South African National Parks reported there were only 26,000 breeding pairs left in the world as of 2009. While the penguins at Boulders Colony are protected and safe, the population is in a constant state of flux due to events such as overfishing and oil spills.
The beautiful beaches
Fortunately, the beaches are optimal for swimming, both for tourists and for the black and white birds. Even children can enjoy the calm waters because the beach is naturally protected by immense boulders, which shelter the cove from the ocean currents, wind and crashing waves. Not only that, the huge rocks can offer a little bit of shade to resting visitors as well.
The white sand and gentle waters aren't the only attractive quality of the beaches at Boulders Colony. The views at the site are breathtaking. From the lofty flat summit of Table Mountain to the jagged crops of smooth boulders, you'll never forget the sights.
For more stunning beach excursions, you may want to look into visiting Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. There may not be any penguins scooting about, but the sights more than make up for the loss. Here, jagged green peaks of limestone tower up from the water, giving the environment a mystic alien quality, and the bay has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.