Boulders African Penguin Colony

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In Simon's Town

-34.1957, 18.4492


+27 21 786 2329


The African penguin colony at Boulders near Simonstown has attained celebrity status – at least among local and international nature-lovers, who flock here to watch and photograph the diminutive black-and-white inhabitants of Boulders up close.

Boulders is a scenic area consisting of a series of small sheltered bays partially enclosed by large granite stones (hence its name). Though it's part of the Table Mountain National Park (a protected environment) it's also a residential and recreational area.

African or jackass penguins are the only penguins to inhabit Africa. The Boulders Beach penguin colony is unique because the penguins live, nest and breed in an urban environment.

Foxy Beach in Boulders has the best penguin viewing. For a small fee, visitors are able to get within a few feet of the birds via a semi-circular boardwalk that encircles the colony. In season, the walkway offers the added bonus of elevated whale-watching.

For an additional fee, visitors can access the beach with a guide and be in very close proximity to the penguins. It's even possible to swim near them if you can withstand the chilly sea temperatures but it’s never advisable to attempt to touch them as they can deliver a razor-sharp bite.

Depending on which time of the year you visit the 2500-strong penguin colony, you'll see parents feeding and shepherding their fluffy offspring, courting, moulting or fishing frenziedly as they fatten up for the breeding season. For many visitors, the "cute" Boulders penguins, especially when viewed in their natural habitat, are the highlight of a trip to Cape Town.

The Boulders visitors' centre is between Gay Road and Leintuin Road in Simonstown.