The opportunity to spend a day in the company of a penguin colony is one of Cape Town’s biggest drawcards for wildlife lovers. The African penguin colony, located at Boulders Beach in the Cape Peninsula, is an unmissable attraction, within easy reach of POD Camps Bay.
The iconic black and white African penguin is the only species of penguin that breeds in Africa. These small and flightless marine birds grow to a height of about 60 to 70cm and weigh between 2 and 3kg. They are highly endangered and the roughly 2 000-strong colony at Boulders Beach, near Simon’s Town, is one of very few places where this species can be reliably sighted in its natural habitat.
At the Boulders Beach conservation site, penguins can be viewed in close proximity from the raised walkways that meander through the coastal milkwood forest where the birds nest and lay their eggs. The pathways lead down to the ocean where the forest vista opens into a viewpoint overlooking the stunning Boulders Beach. This iconic attraction is characterized by giant granite boulders bordering sheltered white-sand coves. Here crowds of penguins can be viewed preening in the sun, socializing together on the beach, and diving into the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Depending on the time of year, fluffy chicks, clumsy “blue” juveniles, or large adolescents molting their fluffy feathers in favour of sleek black-and-white plumage, can often be spotted mingling with the adult birds. Penguins are comically awkward on land and extremely entertaining to watch. They will waddle inelegantly across the beach and then later transform into aerodynamic fish predators the moment they enter the water. Here they will dart back and forth at speeds that can reach up to 20km per hour.
Once you’ve had your fill of wildlife viewing, the small hamlet of Simon’s Town is well worth exploring. Visit the harbour, the Victorian-style shops and cafes on Main Road, or pop in at the Navy Museum to learn more about the history of South Africa’s naval base, based strategically at the tip of Africa.
There are many beautiful beaches in Simon’s Town to explore. We highly recommend Water’s Edge – a hidden gem near Boulders Beach where locals often sight penguins dashing through the water while they swim. Miller’s Point boasts a wonderful tidal pool and is a great spot for snorkeling through the Cape kelp forests
When one grows peckish we highly recommend stopping in at The Black Marlin Restaurant – a seafood specialty eatery located on a cliff overlooking False Bay. For a more relaxed setting, Rocklands Farm in Murdock Valley serves up toasties, smoothies and baked goods in a garden setting overlooking the ocean.
Boulders Beach is roughly an hour’s drive from POD Camps Bay.
Speak to our concierge if you would like a private tour arranged.
Tickets to the conservation area at Boulders Beach can be purchased at the beach entrance.
Rates differ for local and international residents.
3 Argyle St, Camps BayCape Town, 8005
Tel +27 (0) 21 438 8550Email email@example.com