A visit to the cute Penguins at Boulder’s Beach can be easily combined with a trip to the Cape of Good Hope / Cape Point National Park. The African Penguin colony is located in Simon’s Town and can be reached within a 40-50 minute drive from Cape Town (45 km).
During high season (December to March) it is of course very busy here. Therefore, you should allow enough time to get there and also take possible traffic jams and a longer search for a parking spot into account.
The Penguins also like to waddle over the parking lot. That is why you should always look under your vehicle before you leave and check if one of these cute little “birds in tuxedos” might be hiding under your car.
Penguin Watching from Wooden Walkways (Boardwalk)
You can watch the African Penguins at Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town perfectly from the Boardwalk. These wooden walkways allow you to spot the Penguins under small bushes, at the big round granite rocks (Boulders) and, of course, on the beach.
You should have your camera ready when the Penguins are waddling into the ocean or when they are washed back onto the shore after coming back from a fishing trip.
“African Penguins” are the only Penguin species in Africa. They are often also called “Jackass Penguins” because they make noises like a Donkey (“Jackass”).
Swimming with Penguins at Boulder’s Beach
There is also a beach where you can swim with the Penguins. You can get there via the wooden pathways that start at the main entrance or you can also park there. In summer, this beach isn’t only teeming with Penguins. There will also be tons of people so it can get a bit crowded.
How the Penguin Colony came into Existence
Why the African Penguins chose exactly this spot for their colony is not clear. In 1982, the first Penguins were discovered in the bushes above the beach. This led to the creation of the conservation area.
Other Penguin colonies can be found in Betty’s Bay and Lambert’s Bay. At the moment, there are talks about establishing another colony in De Hoop Nature Reserve.
There are also 24 small islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay (near Port Elisabeth) that are inhabited by African Penguins.
African Penguins are an Endangered Species
There are only around 21.000 breeding pairs of African Penguins left in the whole world – and the numbers are declining continuously. Sadly, the African Penguins in South Africa are now listed as an endangered species.
These days, only around 2000-2500 Penguins are living at Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town.
At SANCCOB you can adopt a Penguin and sponsor them a house or some food. This can be done from anywhere in the world and you will receive an adoption certificate. This is also a great idea for a gift.
If you are visiting this beach you should give the Penguins some space and not come too close – especially during breeding season (March-April). During this time, a park ranger sometimes stands near the big boulders on the right side of the beach and closes off certain areas with barrier tape. You should not cross the barriers. Just stick to the areas that are open for the public – for the sake of the Penguins.
Why the Penguin Population is Declining