Playing with Penguins in Cape Town

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When I was planning my trip to Cape Town, playing with penguins on the beach was by far the top item of my to-do list. When my friend and business partner Lauren went to South Africa, I saw her photos with the penguins and knew I had to find that same beach. Turns out, it’s a huge tourist attraction, but there’s a secret to finding the right place where you can actually be on the beach with the penguins.

The penguin beach in Cape Town is called Boulders Beach. When you put it in your GPS, there are two that pop up: Boulders Beach and Boulders Penguin Colony. Boulders Beach is where you want to go. Boulders Penguin Colony has a visitor’s center and is very touristy. You basically pay to walk out on a pier/dock and look down at the penguins on the beach (see a photo Ryan took of it here). There are tons of penguins there (because of course the staff feeds them to keep them in the area), but you’re not super close to them. Instead, go to the beach, where you can go down on the sand, swim, lay out, etc.

If you accidentally find yourself at the visitor’s center, walk past it and take the wooden walkway down to the end. There’s another little building and you do have to pay (it’s about $12 per person) but there you can actually go to the beach. The employee will ask, “are you here for the penguins?” And if you say yes, she will direct you to the visitor’s center. Say you want to go to the beach.

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Once you pay and get onto the beach, be sure to venture off along the beach. There are tons of boulders you’ll need to crawl under, climb over, and navigate through to get to the penguins, but it’s well worth it!

It was just as amazing as it seems! The penguins were so cute and not mean at all! They were a little scared of people, but not so much that they ran away – they’d just move if you got close enough to touch them. This was actually one of the first things we did in Cape Town when we got our rental car, and I’m so glad! It was the perfect way to kick off our time in Cape Town. Boulders Beach is an absolute must!

Have you ever seen penguins on a beach?!

Photos by Ryan Carpenter.