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, R55 adults; children under the age of 12, R25 (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
December 2014
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 30 31

Facial at Ways of Wellness Spa in Cape TownFacial Special at Ways of Wellness Spa ...

Save 15% on various skin treatments every Thursday at this all-natural house of ...

Nik Rabinowitz What the EFF at the Fugard Theatre Nik Rabinowitz’s Stand-up Comedy Show ...

Have a hearty laugh at this Capetonian comedian’s politically inspired new ...

Pinocchio at the Nassau Theatre 1Pinocchio at the Nassau Theatre

Bring out the little ones for a fun take on this beloved age-old children’s ...

Welcome to City Bowl MarketCity Bowl Thursday Night Market in Hope ...

Pop in to this quaint community market for a post-work meet and eat

Marc LotteringMarc Lottering Comedy Show in Cape Town

The Mother City’s (multi) comedic personality draws his latest side-splitting ...

Wine Celebration in Hermanus Wine Celebration at the Wine Village ...

This Hermanus-based premium wine boutique opens its doors for a festive bout of ...

ratanga junction bushwackerHoliday Fun at Ratanga Junction

The lowdown on everything from rides, rollercoasters and family-friendly fun to ...

Art of the Brick Lego ManThe Art of the Brick Lego Exhibition in ...

Don’t miss the world-renowned expo at the V&A Waterfront that transforms a ...

Joe Barber 6 LifeJoe Barber Comedy Show

Prepare for a laugh-a-minute show that delves into the heart and soul of Cape ...

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 ...

Rocking Hollywood 5Barnyard Theatre’s Rocking Hollywood ...

Have a musical trip down memory lane with the brilliant cast of Rocking in ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

Corporates become commandos in this adrenaline-inducing, morale-boosting laser ...

Kirstenbosch Summer ConcertsKirstenbosch Carols by Candlelight

Sing along to popular Christmas songs at Cape Town’s historic gardens this ...

Park Inn Newlands Happy Hour SpecialSlide On By Happy Hour Special at the ...

Glide in to this slick Southern Suburbs hotel for 2-for-1 drinks and live music ...

Linde Collection Diamond Lily Flower RingsDiamond Lily Rings at Linde Collection

An exquisite nature-inspired jewellery range for women with an edge

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

War Horse at the Artscape Theatre 3War Horse at the Artscape Theatre

Don’t miss this award-winning London production featuring masterful South ...

Segway Tours at Spier Wine FarmSegway Tours at Spier Wine Farm

Take a two-wheeled tour of one of South Africa’s most innovative farms

Andiamo Restaurant in the Cape Quarter Cape TownLive Music Thursdays at Andiamo

Kiss the workday blues goodbye with good food and great tunes at the magical ...

De Grendel Wine Farm WineWine Tasting at De Grendel in ...

Enjoy a serene sampling experience in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs

Haute Cabriere Fine Dining MenuTaste of the Season Menu at Haute ...

Enjoy a specially curated platter of fresh seasonal produce at this Franschhoek ...

Forex The Foreign Exchange Cape Town ObservatoryBeer Pong Night at The Foreign Exchange ...

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

HQ tapas salmon parcelsHalf Price Tapas at HQ Restaurant

The legendary meaty eatery broadens its offerings with discounted delights ...

Stardust new venueDinner Theatre at Stardust Restaurant

The pre-Friday theatrical dining experience that will make you feel like your ...

giraffe and eland at aquilaQuad Bike Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

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

Richard's Bistro supper and stage KaapstadRichard’s Supper Stage “Kaapse ...

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

High Five Kite Surfer in Cape TownKitesurfing Lessons Special

Learn to kitesurf but leave the soaring costs behind

Nude Sketches from Bright Studio Cape TownArt Sale at Bright Day Studio in ...

Score everything from original oil on canvas to exquisite photographic prints ...

Fun Waterslides at Waterworld Strand near cape TownWaterworld Strand Water Park’s Free ...

False Bay’s finest family fun zone is offering a complimentary game of mini ...

Vegetarian pizza from Festa WellingtonPizza Special at Festa Restaurant

Take a bite out of this delicious deal in Wellington every Thursday night

Marcel's Frozen Yoghurt Summer of Good Times CampaignWin With Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt in ...

Share YOUR summer moment and score the ultimate summer of good times getaway ...

Seafood Feast at Lola's on Long StreetHappy Hour at Lola’s on Long Street

Warm-up for the weekend with free live beats, all-night drink specials and ...

The Rat Rods Cats Rockabilly bandRockabilly Thursdays at the Protea ...

Head to this funky Mother City property every week for a free hip-swinging, ...

The Royal HotelThe Royal Hotel’s Dine & Dream ...

Stay at Riebeek Kasteel’s colonial treasure on a Thursday and eat for free

Oriscolls City Centre pub Cape TownAll-week, Double-whammy Happy Hour at ...

Drop kick the stress of the workweek with not one but two hours of discounted ...

De Grendel Restaurant Food#ThrowbackThursday Restaurant Special ...

Tuck into old-school classics with a new-school twist at this Durbanville wine ...

Romantic Date Night & Movie at Twelve Apostles HotelDinner and a Movie Experience at The ...

Lights, camera and a three-course meal at one of Cape Town’s favourite fine ...

Winelands Tea at La MotteWinelands Tea at Pierneef à La Motte

Enjoy an old-Cape high tea at La Motte wine estate

Blokes Hair Brian OosthuizenFake Fridays Haircut Special at Blokes ...

Pair a bespoke haircut with a cold beer every Thursday for just R170

Wine and cheese platter from Peter FalkeSundowners at Peter Falke Wine Farm in ...

Toast dusk with fine wine, gorgeous cheese platters and tasty salads

Thursday Night Live Music at Jackal & Hide BarThursday Night Live Music Sessions at ...

It’s all about good grub and great tunes at this Cape Town hotspot’s FREE ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips