Boulders Beach is a lovely bay among the large granite boulders that cover it from the wind and waves. This is why the colony of African penguins chose the place for constant living and made the location must-visit for travelers.
You have to know, that this is not a zoo. Penguins live here absolutely free wildlife being protected by the workers. For me, this is a very important note, as I am not supporter of the zoo, where animals are kept in captivity.
Here is your full guide to visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach.
How to get to Boulders beach?
The Beach is located 50 km away from Cape Town and 25 km away from the Cape of Good Hope. The closest city to the Boulders beach is Simon’s town which is 2 km away.
The easiest and the best way to get to Boulders Beach is by car. If you plan to travel around the RSA Garden route or if you stay in Cape Town for a while, hiring a rental car is essential.
Also, it is possible to get to Boulders beach by train. There is a train between Cape Town and Simon’s town station. From there you can either take a taxi or take a 30-minutes walk.
Best time to visit Boulders beach
This spot is a constant place where penguins live and nest. So you can see them all year round.
However, there are more of them during the breeding season: from February to August. The peak period starts from March and lasts till May. You can see how parents take shifts to take care of their eggs.
From September to October, most of the penguins are in the water and only a few of them can be spotted on the beach.
The period from November to January is a molting period. Penguins lose their waterproof plumage, which means they can’t stay warm in the cold sea. So at this time only a few penguins actually swim. Most of them stay on the beach.
Boulders beach open time:
- December – January (7:00 am – 7:30 pm)
- February – March (8:00 am – 6:30 pm)
- April – September (8:00 am – 5:00 pm)
- October – November (8:00 am – 6:30 pm)
And now about the best daily time to visit penguins. The answer is as soon as possible. The best time to avoid the crowds is to arrive there exactly at the time of opening.
Plan your visit to Boulders beach
- Arrive early.What I recommend you is to book a hotel at Simon’s house or nearby to get up early to be the first visitors at the Beach. We were there in December and came right at 7 am. Until the 8 am we were the only visitors and had a chance to enjoy the penguins alone and then later the beach was full of people.
- Ticket price.The daily rates are different for RSA citizens and foreign tourists. Foreign tourist prices are 160 rands per adult and 80 rands per child. When we were there in 2018, they accepted only cash.
- Wetsuit, swimming suit, towel. If you plan to swim with penguins, you have to know that the water is quite cold. The suit will help you to stay longer in the water.
- Bring food and water.If you plan not to just visit the beach, but spend some time there, you better take some food and water with you. As there are no places on the territory to purchase it.
- Boulders is a safe beach. So don’t worry about your safety or your belongings.
Boulders beach experience
Boulders Penguin Colony consists of 2 beaches. When you enter the complex territory you will see two boardwalks. The closest one leads to the first beach through the bushes. On the path, there will be stands with information about the penguins.
On the first beach, you will see hundreds of penguins and their nests. This specie is called African Penguin or Spectacled Penguin. And you can see them either on the coasts with cold water in RSA or in a Zoo.
Here you are not able to get off the boardwalk to come any closer and may only watch penguins from one of two viewpoints from each side of the beach
After observing penguins from both viewpoints, you can follow the next boardwalk (keep your tickets to show them at the 2nd entrance), which will lead you to the 2nd beach. This place is much more entertaining as the boardwalk finishes right on the beach. There are many fewer penguins than on the first beach, but here you can come very close to them and you even allowed to go into the water and swim with them!
But, remember, you are not allowed to touch the penguins or feed them or make any other contact with them. They have sharp beaks and will use them to protect themselves if they feel unsafe.
When you are done to play and take photos with penguins, you may look around. You will find yourself at the beautiful bay with stunning panoramic views and ancient granite boulders that protect the beach from wind and waves. You may have a picnic, swim with penguins, and then drive to the next adventure – the Cape of Good Hope which is 30 km away.
Follow the link to open an article about my experience at the Cape of Good Hope. – Plan your visit to the famous Cape of Good Hope in South Africa
Read also my next article: How to visit the Table mountain in Cape Town