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
November 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

ratanga junction bushwackerHoliday Fun at Ratanga Junction

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

Synergy Live Cape TownSynergy Live

Get ready for the epic Cape Town outdoor music festival that features over 70 ...

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 ...

Matt Manning One Ingredient Cape TownMatt Manning’s One Ingredient Pop-up ...

Learn how to prepare gourmet dishes while tucking into a four-course food and ...

Marc LotteringMarc Lottering Comedy Show in Cape Town

The Mother City’s (multi) comedic personality is back on stage with another ...

Cape Town Festival of BeerCape Town Festival of Beer

Stay tapped into some of Cape Town’s best golden brews with this legendary ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

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

Julep Cocktail BarHappy Hour Cocktails at Julep Bar

This speakeasy-type watering hole offers up a late-night drinks deal in Cape ...

Abbott Nu Jazz Band at SotanoFriday Jazz Dinner at Sotano

Start the weekend in style with soulful beats and supreme fare at this Atlantic ...

Wembley Tap Bar Craft Beer Beer Pong at Wembley Tap Bar

Mix ping pong with artisan ale at this industrial-chic house of beer every ...

HQ Friday night DJ Dance partyFriday Night DJ and Dancing at HQ ...

#AfterDark with DJ Rene: start the weekend with a steak dinner, stylish ...

Waterford wall 1Wine and Chocolate Tasting at Waterford ...

Pair sterling vintages with sweet treats at this world-class wine farm

Dutch Haven BarAfter-work Drinks and Live Music at ...

Enjoy an authentic Holland-style borreluur every Friday evening at this ...

The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum LogoThe Springbok Experience Museum’s ...

Visit this world-class Waterfront attraction and enjoy a free Castle draught at ...

Wine Flies Forgotten Route TourThe Forgotten Route Train Tour to ...

Take the road less travelled on a two-day adventure to the Klein Karoo

Tidy and Co 15 Christmas Present Ideas15 Christmas Present Ideas for 15 ...

A pick of 15 fabulous gifts for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts and girly ...

Richard's Bistro supper and stage Kaapstad“Kaapse Stories” at Richard’s ...

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

ACC City Desired Exhibition at City Hall Cape TownCity Desired Exhibition at City Hall

Contemporary Cape Town exposed: encounter the Mother City in a whole new light ...

Dinner at Dish Restaurant Inn on the SquareBraai Lunch Special at Inn on the ...

Friday is braai day at this Cape Town accommodation’s laidback eatery

Vibe at the Hout Bay Harbour Market in Cape TownFriday Night at The Bay Harbour Market

Ring in the weekend with live music, craft beer, hearty fare and happy shopping ...

Free Biltong online shopping South AfricaFree-range Fridays in Cape Town

Celebrate your weekend freedom with ethically produced biltong and droëwors

Magents Shoes & Apparel Labels4lessMagents Sneakers & Clothing Sale in ...

Internationally acclaimed South African brand relaunches with a R50 discount ...

Glenelly 1Meat and Cheese Platters at Glenelly ...

A Stellenbosch wine tasting with true French finesse

Bright Day Art Classes in WoodstockCreative Corporate Team Building with ...

Harness the power of creativity at an edgy customised workshop

Cozier Wine Shop LogoFree Wine Tasting at Cozier Wine Cellars

Sample sublime reds, whites, pinks and more for mahala right in the bosom of ...

Food and wine tasting at La MotteFood and Wine Pairing at La Motte

Discover a match made in the divine tasting room of this Franschhoek estate

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips