Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
4.5
Beaches • Nature & Wildlife Areas
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8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
The sheltered inlet of Boulders Beach is located in the Cape peninsula near Simon's Town. Here exists a protected colony of African penguins which can be viewed in their natural habitat via wooden walkways. There is also an excellent beach for swimming nearby.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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  • Travel58071524202
    36 contributions
    Lovely but Less than Hoped
    The penguins are lovely, to be sure, and the ocean views wonderful, but the environment is (necessarily, of course) CONTROLLED to a degree that reduces the experience to one just short of a very good "zoo" exhibit. The greater environment of Simons Town is defined by coastal tourism, which (if coming from the U.S.) might be as familiar as many similarly disposed locations in cities bordering waterways. All this, yet I will return to the thought that the penguins were lovely indeed, and inasmuch as penguins can be found in so very few locations on the planet, I would nonetheless recommend the visit while noting that you need not plan to spend a great deal of time here. (I will say that the gift shop is exceptionally well managed and offers very fairly priced momentos. Keep a close eye, however, as it is easy to miss.)
    Visited January 2020
    Written January 29, 2020
  • Cartle
    Stourbridge, United Kingdom303 contributions
    Penguin's Galore !
    It's not every day you can watch wild penguins in their natural environment so we were very excited to arrive at Boulder Beach as part of an excursion from our greater tour of South Africa. The cost of entry was included in our tour so I can't comment on the cost which some reviews claim to be expensive. However, the attraction is a big draw and was very busy though queues didn't take long to navigate and we were soon on a well constructed, accessible boardwalk which zig-zagged down to the shore line where the majority of the colony were relaxing in the warm afternoon sunshine, though some were taking a quick dip in the turquoise water. You are very close to the cute birds and being in an elevated position get clear views despite the crowds. You can spend as much time as you wish and move around freely without any ushering by officials. The site itself is very scenic - large grey boulders form a backdrop to the beach and the sea. Despite it being a natural site it does feel a bit like a zoo though certainly not stage managed and is very much worth a visit. Before leaving there are ample clean toilets and a souvenir shop to browse around which added to the value of the entrance fee.
    Visited October 2019
    Written January 8, 2020
  • Lisa
    Toronto, Canada233 contributions
    Do Not Miss
    This was awesome. Be prepared to get up early and get there before the tourist buses to get the best news. They open at 8am and it is just over an hour drive from downtown Cape Town. The entry fee for foreigners is 160rand per adult and 75rand per child. You can't get on the sand with the penguns, there is a boardwalk that you view the penguins from. They are so close and there are so many to see. Don't miss the boardwalk that takes you around into the nesting areas also. It was extremely windy and cold and without a jacket, we would have frozen today (and it is January!). There are toilets that are clean here and a Penguin Sc=nctuary git shop where the prices aren't too bad. Parking is free. It is definitely worth the price of admission, it is a definite do not miss recommendation from me.
    Visited January 2020
    Written January 22, 2020
  • Nick J
    Bury St. Edmunds, United Kingdom95 contributions
    You have to see the Penguins
    This is impossible, so many visitors they have to protect the colony but in doing so it becomes like going to a zoo with only one exhibit. Obviously the penguins are wild and free, and the conservation work is brilliant, but reviewing as an attraction they charge a lot of money for you to walk down a wooden path to look at a very small beach with penguins on. You do get very close, every now and then a penguin moves. As above, I accept there isn't a better option and think what has been done is good, but for the money a lot more could be done by way of talks, short educational films or similar. The staff don't manage a smile or eye contact, just "4 people, thats R1280". My son was desperate to see Penguins, so tick, but was all a bit thin.
    Visited February 2020
    Traveled with family
    Written February 21, 2020
  • dunluce
    20 contributions
    Overpriced and discrimination
    Interesting visit but R160 is ridiculous. Made so much worse by the fact that SA Nationals are charged R40. The same situation now seems to apply throughout with visitors paying 3 times as much as South Africans on average visiting eg. Table Mountain and the Cape National Park. South African tourism will suffer in the end. I have NEVER seen blatant discrimination like this anywhere else. I love visiting SA but this really is not acceptable.
    Visited January 2020
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 15, 2020
  • P2HAM
    Fleet, United Kingdom116 contributions
    Fantastic but make a day of it
    If you visit boulders beach definitely pay and go in the penguin colony . But to make it special take your costume and towel and have a day on the beach. A cab is far better than a tour because you can relax and swim and watch the penguins rather than rush in take a picture and be pushed to restaurant. A must if in Cape Town
    Visited January 2020
    Traveled with friends
    Written January 10, 2020
  • Zipmans
    London, United Kingdom119 contributions
    Expensive - When Free 10 Mins Walk Away
    This place is OK, but it does feel a little expensive when you are able to walk 10 mins south of this location and see penguins down there. I would recommend parking 5 to 10 mins away by the golf course (south of the official area) and the walking down the side of the golf course towards the sea and then walking down the path away from the official area. Amazing beach areas and penguins are there aswell - All for £0 / free
    Visited January 2020
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 5, 2020
  • Claire
    4 contributions
    Boulders Bay Simonstown South Africa
    Visited the penguin colony on the way back from Cape Point. Its a fantastic place but if you’re limited to time or do not want to use the beach opt for the penguin viewing sign rather that the Boulder Bay sign. We hired a cobra car for the day, needed to return the car by 4pm and wasted time by going to Boulder Bay, it was 640R and we stayed less than 5 minutes, we only saw a couple of penguins and its for sunbathing and swimming. The Boulder Bay restaurant food is very average but its the only place to eat and use the toilets. Further up the hill is the penguin viewing centre. Another 640R but we did get a short time to see lots of penguins on the beach, and there is a little cafe there which would have been fine for us. Also a lovely African singing group by the car park, would have loved to spend more time there.
    Visited January 2020
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 14, 2020
  • ritaSouthAfrica
    231 contributions
    A must sea if in CT
    These are just the most amazing little creatures and being so close to them was life changing. I would visit them evety time I am in the vicinty and highly recommend taking all children- of ALL ages- to experience this.We could enter free of charge with our Sanparks Wild Card.
    Visited November 2020
    Written November 19, 2020
  • Bobdbl
    Wetherby, United Kingdom358 contributions
    Bettys Bay is a better penguin colony to visit
    The cost here is much higher than at Bettys Bay, and the boarwalk is much shorter. That said, if you only have time to visit one colony, there are plenty of penguins to see, and a lot of seabirds. We only saw one Dassy, and no other wildlife, whereas at Bettys Bay we saw multiple Dassies and several lizards. There is quite a long walk from the nearest car park to the penguin colony, but disabled persons can be dropped off qiote near the entrance. The souvenir shop is quite good, and rthere are several places selling refreshments on the walk from the car park. The penguins are totally used to people walking on the boardwalk, and are unfazes by cameras etc. Touching the birds is, of course, forbidden, and in any case virtually impossible.
    Visited December 2019
    Written January 16, 2020
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Nick J
Bury St. Edmunds, UK95 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
This is impossible, so many visitors they have to protect the colony but in doing so it becomes like going to a zoo with only one exhibit. Obviously the penguins are wild and free, and the conservation work is brilliant, but reviewing as an attraction they charge a lot of money for you to walk down a wooden path to look at a very small beach with penguins on. You do get very close, every now and then a penguin moves. As above, I accept there isn't a better option and think what has been done is good, but for the money a lot more could be done by way of talks, short educational films or similar. The staff don't manage a smile or eye contact, just "4 people, thats R1280". My son was desperate to see Penguins, so tick, but was all a bit thin.
Written February 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dunluce
Belfast20 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
Interesting visit but R160 is ridiculous.
Made so much worse by the fact that SA Nationals are charged R40. The same situation now seems to apply throughout with visitors paying 3 times as much as South Africans on average visiting eg. Table Mountain and the Cape National Park.
South African tourism will suffer in the end. I have NEVER seen blatant discrimination like this anywhere else.
I love visiting SA but this really is not acceptable.
Written January 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

P2HAM
Fleet, UK116 contributions
Jan 2020 • Friends
If you visit boulders beach definitely pay and go in the penguin colony . But to make it special take your costume and towel and have a day on the beach. A cab is far better than a tour because you can relax and swim and watch the penguins rather than rush in take a picture and be pushed to restaurant. A must if in Cape Town
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Zipmans
London, UK119 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
This place is OK, but it does feel a little expensive when you are able to walk 10 mins south of this location and see penguins down there.

I would recommend parking 5 to 10 mins away by the golf course (south of the official area) and the walking down the side of the golf course towards the sea and then walking down the path away from the official area. Amazing beach areas and penguins are there aswell - All for £0 / free
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Claire
4 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
Visited the penguin colony on the way back from Cape Point. Its a fantastic place but if you’re limited to time or do not want to use the beach opt for the penguin viewing sign rather that the Boulder Bay sign. We hired a cobra car for the day, needed to return the car by 4pm and wasted time by going to Boulder Bay, it was 640R and we stayed less than 5 minutes, we only saw a couple of penguins and its for sunbathing and swimming. The Boulder Bay restaurant food is very average but its the only place to eat and use the toilets. Further up the hill is the penguin viewing centre. Another 640R but we did get a short time to see lots of penguins on the beach, and there is a little cafe there which would have been fine for us. Also a lovely African singing group by the car park, would have loved to spend more time there.
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ritaSouthAfrica
south africa231 contributions
Nov 2020
These are just the most amazing little creatures and being so close to them was life changing. I would visit them evety time I am in the vicinty and highly recommend taking all children- of ALL ages- to experience this.We could enter free of charge with our Sanparks Wild Card.
Written November 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bobdbl
Wetherby, UK358 contributions
Dec 2019
The cost here is much higher than at Bettys Bay, and the boarwalk is much shorter. That said, if you only have time to visit one colony, there are plenty of penguins to see, and a lot of seabirds. We only saw one Dassy, and no other wildlife, whereas at Bettys Bay we saw multiple Dassies and several lizards. There is quite a long walk from the nearest car park to the penguin colony, but disabled persons can be dropped off qiote near the entrance. The souvenir shop is quite good, and rthere are several places selling refreshments on the walk from the car park.
The penguins are totally used to people walking on the boardwalk, and are unfazes by cameras etc. Touching the birds is, of course, forbidden, and in any case virtually impossible.
Written January 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Haelen
Voorburg, The Netherlands407 contributions
Feb 2020
It was an incredible experience to see more than hundred of penguins very nearby. We have been watching them from different angles for a few hours. You can see their behavior easily. The only set back is that you will have to enjoy this sight with many other tourists and this creates a bit of a zoo atmosphere. Still I considered this the number one sight in the Cape area, which shouldn't be missed.
Written March 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lyndsey S
Dereham, UK136 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
We paid around £15 gbp for 2 adults, the price is a bit steep considering you won’t be there any longer than half an hour. We went to seaforth beach first to try to see them for free but there were no penguins there so had to pay. Maybe around 50 people here when we got there around 11 but was getting much busier as we left. Do as part of a tour to cape point but not worth a separate trip.
Written March 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maury C
London, UK89 contributions
Dec 2019
Seeing the penguin colony was very nice. However the wait to get in was too long and you basically only have two sides you can look at penguins from once you're in. I wish there could be more interaction with the penguins as then people told us you can walk down to other beaches outside that have penguins in them.
Written January 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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