One of the top things to do in Cape Town is to visit the African penguins at Boulders Beach. Travellers from all over the world come to see these amazing creatures up close in their natural setting. This colony is one of only a few in the world but is sadly endangered. Boulders Beach is part of the Table Mountain National Park who charges a fee to visitors to help with conservation.
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Here’s everything you need to know about planning a visit to see the penguins at Boulders Beach.
Getting to Boulders Beach
The penguin colony at Boulders Beach is located in the naval town called Simon’s Town, which is around 40 km from the centre of Cape Town. Depending on traffic, it can take up to an hour to get here.
There are parking areas if you’re travelling with your own rental car, however parking is limited so if you’re visiting in the popular Summer months be sure to get there early. Many tourists, however, choose to do a tour to visit the penguins which is often combined with Cape Point.
How much does it cost to visit the penguins?
The current fees to visit the penguins at Boulders Beach (until October 2023) are R44 for adults with South African ID and R22 for children. It’s R88 for SADC Nationals with a passport and R44 for children and international tourists pay R176 per adult and R88 for children. Check SAN Parks website for up-to-date tariffs ahead of your visit.
If you’re doing a tour, be sure to check whether the cost of your tour includes the entry fee or not.
How long does it take to visit the penguins?
You only really need an hour or so to view the penguins, especially if you walk along the boardwalk to the swimming beach, where you can get up close to the penguins – although please don’t touch them! Of course, if you actually wanted to spend time on the beach then factor that in. If you only want to see the penguins then an hour is plenty of time. This is why visiting the penguins is often paired with Cape Point ,as it’s on the way, and together they are a day trip.
The swimming beach is really beautiful so I definitely recommend visiting it. Your ticket gives you access to this beach.
There is also a shop at the exit where you can buy penguin-related souvenirs as well as South African ones. You can also purchase drinks and snacks here, however there are cafes and restaurants in walking distance of the entrance.
Is Boulders Beach accessible?
There is a wooden boardwalk which goes to two viewing platforms as well as to the swimming beach so it is accessible for wheelchair users to view the penguins.
What else is there to do at Boulders Beach?
If you have a fair amount of time in Cape Town and don’t need to combine visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach with a trip to Cape Point, then why not spend the day exploring Simon’s Town?
Simon’s Town has a rich naval history so visit the SA Naval Museum and also Simon’s Town museum for cultural activities.
You can also do a number of physical activities such as kayaking, diving, paddle boarding and hiking to Admiral’s Waterfall.