Penguins of Simon’s Town

African Penguins Simons Town

Before we get to the penguins of Simon’s Town, allow me to tell you a little story… The first time I went speed dating a rather handsome chap sat opposite me and asked me a question:

puppies or penguins?

Now, I’m certain he thought that was a completely innocent question to ask, but what he hadn’t anticipated was my rather obsessive love of penguins.  I can’t completely remember my answer (I was nervous and drunk and it was nearly thirteen years ago) but I went into great detail about a book by Jill Tomlinson called Penguins Progress which was one of my absolute favourites when I was growing up and told the story of a family of Emperor Penguins.

I could tell you all about it, but then you wouldn’t want to date me either and we have a lot of good stuff to come yet.  So I’ll get to it.

Right at the top of my list of things to see while I was in Cape Town was the 2,500 African penguins that have made their home at Boulders Colony in Simon’s Town.

Back in 1982 two pairs of penguins began to lay eggs on a beach in Simon’s Town.  And just like that, there was a penguin colony.

The number of penguins there has been growing by around 60% each year since then.  So now, when you go there it is a wonderland of penguin cuteness.

Simon's Town South Africa

Why Simon’s Town?

Turns out most commercial fishing in False Bay (which is where Simon’s Town is) has been banned – making it the perfect feeding ground for penguins.  On a side note there are quite a lot of sharks in False Bay now as well – any guesses what the sharks are eating – don’t you just love the circle of life!

Not to mention the fact that Simon’s Town is absolutely bloody beautiful, so perhaps they just like the view.

Simon's Town Penguin Colony South Africa

Fascinating African Penguin Facts 

    • The African Penguin is listed as an endangered species
    • Like humans have unique fingerprints, the black spots on a penguin’s chest is their unique ‘fingerprint’.
    • The pink above a penguin’s eye is a sweat gland. The hotter the penguin gets the pinker the sweat gland gets.
    • The yolk of a penguin egg isn’t yellow, its blue
    • When a penguin twists its head from side to side, it is not a sign of curiosity, but a sign of warning before they lunge to bite.
    • Their distinctive black and white colouring is a vital form of camouflage – white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down into the water.
    • They can swim at an average speed of seven kilometres per hour and can stay submerged for up to two minutes.

Strolling along the boardwalks at Foxy Beach my heart nearly exploded with the cuteness of the penguins.  The nesting, swimming, waddling, tree-climbing, playing, fighting, mating, sunbathing, posing, feeding penguins.  It is a truly amazing sight.

I took approximately 17 million pictures – here are some of my favourites…

African Penguin South Africa

Penguin Eggs South Africa

African Penguin Twins African Penguin Baby Penguin Nest South Africa Baby Penguin Simons Town Mating African Penguins Penguin Colony Simon's Town Penguin Family South Africa Penguin In A Tree Cape Town Penguin on the Beach South Africa Penguins

If you’re spending anytime at all in Cape Town you should definitely pay a visit to the penguins of Simon’s Town.


  • Roxanne Reid says:

    I love that you love our penguins. I live in Cape Town so am lucky enough to see them at different times of year, even when they’re moulting and they look very scruffy (but still cute). They will give a painful bite, though, so keep little ones from trying to stroke them!

  • Cynthia says:

    Oh, I’ve seen the Little Penguins in Melbourne. Now I have to go to Simon’s Town for the African Penguins!! <3 And, I can totally relate to taking 17 million pictures, haha.

  • Sara Essop says:

    This is so cute. I live in South Africa and I love this beach too – so do my kids. Whenever we go to Cape Town, we usually go to Boulders Beach too. The one time, my daughter was about 6 years old. She made eye contact with one of the penguins and began swaying her head from side to side. Imagine our surprise when the penguin began mimicking her!

  • Jurga says:

    Beautiful pictures! Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is one of our must-visit places in Cape Town too. It never gets boring and I find it so incredible that you can watch wild penguins on the beach on a hot summer day. I badly want to go back to South Africa and your post didn’t help! 🙂

  • Sofia says:

    I love the photos of the penguins, so cute!! Lucky you to be able to be so close to them all!
    So funny your story, I bet he was sure you would innocently say: puppies. lol. It reminds me of something that happened to be the other week. I met thus guy in a dinner (not a date, thank you) and he asked what was the last movie I saw that got to me. I thought about it and said I cant recall, lol. So he said oh how disappointing, he was sure I would come out with some literary incredible thing and totally impress everyone. My friend that came with me, however, said: hey, but she plays classical piano and plays composers like Rachmaninoff or Scriabin really well. Ha!
    See, we all have our inner passions 🙂

    • Millie says:

      Bless him, I think sometimes people try too hard with their questions – a simple ‘are you a big cinema goer?’ would have been better! Next time you should name your favourite movie score instead 😉

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