Table Mountain National Park

The Boulders Penguin Colony

+27(0)21 712 7471
Cape Peninsula
www.sanparks.org
tablemountain@sanparks.org
SANParks
South African National Parks

The Boulders Penguin Colony

Welcome to paradise: penguins and beautiful beaches in a seaside village

Penguins live almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, but yes, you will also find them in South Africa, in the seaside village Simon’s Town in False Bay between Fish Hoek and Cape Point - an easy hour‘s drive from Cape Town.

Welcome to Boulders (also commonly known as Boulders Bay), it’s a popular tourist stop because of a colony of African Penguins which settled there in 1982 and the magnificent wind sheltered, safe beaches. Here, you can spot the African Penguin, also widely known as the 'Jackass Penguin‘ for its donkey-like bray.

From just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony grew about 3000 percent but since 2005 this number has dropped to about 2122 penguins which are spread along the coast. Seasons play an important role in terms of how many penguins you see, what they are doing and what they look like. Get close to the breeding colony of penguins, swim with them in the sea and enjoy their private sandy beach.


Things to do


• Get close and observe African Penguins wandering freely in a protected environment
A good way to see the African penguins is from the wheelchair-friendly wooden boardwalk at Foxy Beach that takes you within a few metres of the birds, accessible via the information centre on Kleintuin Road. The path next to the Kleintuin Road entrance is also worth a walk, you will spot wandering penguins as well as their incubators.These flightless birds roam freely around the area, so you can get relatively close to them, but please don’t disturb or try to touch them. They can bite – a warning sign is when they move their heads from side to side.

• Have a look around
You will see indigenous bush above the high-water mark on the one side, and the clear turquoise waters of False Bay on the other. The park is also home to other birds and small mammals, and you may see whales, seals, sharks and dolphins in the bay.

• Hang out at the beach
The most popular recreational spot is Boulders Beach. Swim in the comparatively warm and calm waters of the False Bay and relax at the sandy beach; the big round granite boulders are 540 million years old and provide some shade and shelter the cove from currents, wind and large waves; Boulders Beach name originated from the boulders. This beach is great for children - but please always take care. Don’t touch or feed the penguins. Their beaks are as sharp as razors and if they feel threatened they have no qualms about nipping the odd finger or nose.

• Discover Simon’s Town and surrounds
Welcome to paradise! You will find a good amount of restaurants many serving delicious seafood, cute cafés, antique shops, museums and more.


How to get there

• By car
Situated in Simon’s Town, which can be reached via the M4 (Main Road) from the city centre, although getting to Muizenberg via the M3 or the M5 are both quicker in travel time. From Muizenberg, the M4 continues via Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town.

• By train
Take the train from Cape Town to Simon’s Town: Boulders is about two kilometres from Simon’s Town train station, which is the last stop on the scenic Southern Line railway route. Definitely worth the train ride.


Good to know:
Free entry for a year for all Wild Card holders.
In case you need souvenirs for friends and family at home, get them at the Boulders parking area or on your 3 minute walk to the penguins.
The Table Mountain National Park staff is knowledgeable and offer guided tours.


Did you know? – Penguin facts.

The African Penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species.
Of the 1.5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th century. The uncontrolled harvesting of penguin eggs (as a source of food), and guano scraping, nearly drove the species to extinction. More recent threats are oil spills, overfishing of pelagic stocks, unnatural predation by domestic animals and kelp gulls, habitat destructions, climate change.
Because of their donkey-like braying call they were previously named the Jackass Penguin. Since several species of South American penguins (also in the Spheniscus family) produce the same sound, the birds have been renamed African Penguins, as they are the only example of the species that breed in Africa.
Their diet consists mainly of pelagic fish such as pilchards and anchovy, but they may consume squid as well.
They can swim at an average speed of seven kilometres per hour, and can stay submerged for up to two minutes.
Their enemies in the ocean include sharks, Cape fur seals and, on occasion, killer whales (orca). Land-based enemies include mongoose, genet, domestic cats and dogs – and the kelp gulls which steal their eggs and new born chicks.
Their distinctive black and white colouring is a vital form of camouflage – white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the water.
Although the African Penguin breeds throughout the year, the main breeding season starts in February: most of the penguins stick to the vegetated areas and Foxy beach burrows. They are a monogamous species and the lifelong partners take turns to incubate their eggs and to feed their young.
For post breeding and pre-moult they head out to sea for fattening up, so very little are on the beach).
Peak moulting time is from October to December, after which they head out to sea to feed (since they do not feed during moulting). They return in January to mate and begin nesting from about February to August. During moulting they lose their feathers and look 'sad and stressed' as some would say, this is the starvation period.
Mating season (December – February) is the best time to view the birds and their natural behaviour, however it is very hot and windy this time of year so visitors must come prepared.
Best time to photograph is early morning and late afternoon as the penguins leave to go to sea or come back from feeding.


Boulders Penguin Colony
Simon's Town | +27 (0)21 786 2329

Opening times:
December – January: 7am – 7.30pm
February – March: 8am – 6.30pm
April – September: 8am – 5pm
October – November: 8am – 6.30pm

Conservation fee:
Adults, R60 adults; children under the age of 12, R30 (goes towards paying for conservation of the endangered African penguins that live here); free entrance for WILD Card holders

Find out more about South Africa's National Parks in the Western Cape.

For all things Cape Town subscribe to our popular newsletter and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Cape Town Events Calendar
February 2016
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29

Red Bull King of the AirRed Bull King of the Air Kiteboarding ...

Check out the world’s top big air kiteboarders battle it out to catch the ...

Worldart Gallery Zolile PhetshaneWorldart Gallery: Zolile Phetshane ...

Explore the life of this artist through his striking works that document his ...

orchestra1Cape Town International Summer Music ...

Be entranced by some of classical music’s finest soloists at the Cape Town ...

High Five Kite Surfer in Cape TownKitesurfing Lessons Special

Learn to kitesurf but leave the soaring costs behind

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

The Darling Music Experience 1Darling Music Experience

This scenic West Coast dorpie celebrates classical and contemporary melodies ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

Catch this series of Stellenbosch music concerts showcasing some of the finest ...

Quad Biking back safari Aquila Game ParkQuad Bike Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Get up close and personal with South Africa’s animal kingdom on an ...

Othello at Maynardville Park Shakespeare in the Park at Maynardville ...

See Shakespeare’s well-known tale of passion, love and jealousy, Othello, ...

2016 CHAN Logo2016 CHAN Tournament

The competition heats up as sixteen teams go toe-to-toe in a bid to reach the ...

2016 CHAN Logo2016 CAF African Nations Championship ...

Bafana Bafana launches their 2016 CHAN campaign with a clash against Mauritius

Cape Town 10s Tournament 5Cape Town 10s Social Sport and ...

Gather your most competitive mates and make up teams for these three sporting ...

TitanicTitanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the ...

Re-live the excitement, terror and tragedy of the Titanic at this exhibition of ...

Rafikis CocktailsThursday Half-Price Cocktail Special ...

As if you needed another reason to visit this laidback bar, cocktails are half ...

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape ...

Grab some snacks and get ready to watch your favourite films beneath the stars ...

Avontuur Wine Estate entrance Specialised Tastings at Avontuur Wine ...

Spice up your winery experience with one of these delectable monthly pairings

The Galileo Open Air Theatre V&A WaterfrontThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at the V&A ...

Get your weekly dose of classics, dramas, action movies and more at these ...

Peter Falke Wine Farm Winter MenuWinter Wine and Food Pairings at Peter ...

Warm your belly with robust reds and savoury snacks at this whimsical boutique ...

AWOL-City-cycle-tour-6.jpgCape Town City Cycle Tour with AWOL ...

Discover the rich history of Cape Town’s CBD in an active, engaging way with ...

Forex Foreign Exchange Beer Pong ObservatoryBeer Pong Night at The Foreign Exchange ...

Give this fun-filled drinking game a go every Thursday night in Observatory

Blacksmith Helderberg Sunset ConcertsHelderberg Sunset Concert Series

Take advantage of the warm summer evenings with this series of outdoor concerts

12 Apostles Valentine's Day Lunch BuffetCelebrate The Month Of Love At The ...

Every day is Valentine’s Day at the Azure Restaurant during the month of ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

Sarah Pratt Exhibition Salon91The Fox, the Owl & the Robber ...

Step into an imaginative world of dogs, fox puppets, puffins and other creative ...

Scootours FamilyJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

This family-friendly off-road adventure will see you (and the whole clan) ...

Kate Davies 365 Exhibition365 Days of Infrared Photography ...

Ethereal and elegant, explore Kate Davies’ infrared world

Material(i)sation exhibitionMaterial(i)sation Group Exhibition at ...

Let your creativity and ideas materialise with this evocative exhibition of ...

Meleko Mokgosi ExhibitionComrades Solo Exhibition at the ...

Delve into the meaning of democracy with this series of thought-inspiring ...

Taalmonument Picnic SeriesThe Taalmonument Picnic Series in Paarl

Enjoy good food, good entertainment and good company beneath the stars at the ...

Lace Up For CancerLace up for Cancer Fun Run in Cape Town

Dress to impress and run to raise awareness and funds for a good cause

Art of Living Couples CourseThe Art of Living Course for Couples

Deepen your bond with this powerful programme

Wildlife Photographer of the YearWildlife Photographer of the Year ...

Gaze in awe at incredible wildlife pictures taken by the globe’s top ...

Porky Hefer Monstera Deliciosa Exhibition 1Monstera Deliciosa – a Porky Hefer ...

Porky Hefer’s solo exhibition features his collection of larger-than-life ...

[spasie] signChef’s Table at [spasie] Underground ...

Go underground for an intimate food and wine pairing with some of the ...

Pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & SpaHalf-price Sushi Special at African ...

Get 50% off this Century City restaurant’s sushi and selected cocktails every ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips