When is the best time of year to see the Penguins in Simon’s Town?
I have a huge soft spot for these very dapper and elegant looking aquatic birds. Think in lines of the movies Happy Feet, Madagascar, Good Luck Chuck, and Mr Popper’s Penguins, bringing out their impressive and quirky qualities.

Here in Cape Town, we are lucky enough to have a whole penguin colony on our doorstep who braved lockdown level 1 and roamed the empty streets of Simon’s Town looking for adventure.

Best time of the year to visit
The great thing about Boulders Beach is that you can see the penguins throughout the year. Saying this, the best time to visit would be during their mating season (December to February) where you can see the birds and their natural behaviour.

Early mornings and late afternoons when they shuffle off to the beach or return from feeding are the best for photos.

Do remember to respect them in their natural environment and don’t touch or feed the penguins.
Day trip to Boulders Beach
This pristine family-friendly beach is top-rated for day trips and leisurely picnics.

Spread your blanket and have a relaxing day next to the ocean while the kids explore the rock pools and boulders. False Bay’s clear waters are also perfect for a quick dip in the sea to cool off on a hot summer’s day. The water is cold, but you’ll welcome the icy waters if you’re visiting between December and March!
Places to stay
If you’re from out of town, rent a car and spend a night or two in the historical Simons Town.

Mariner Guesthouse is situated in a quiet street about 1km from Boulders Beach and offers spectacular views of Simon’s Town from every room. With its tranquil setting, luxury rooms, and friendly hospitality, you’ll feel right at home from the moment you arrive.

Fun Penguin Facts
Their natural tuxedoes are not just a fashion statement; this also helps camouflage them while swimming and keeps them safe from predators.
Penguins’ eyes work better underwater than they do in the air.
Penguins don’t have teeth, but rather fleshy spines inside their mouths to help guide their food down.
Penguins are carnivores.
Once a year penguins experience a catastrophic moult where they lose all their feathers at once. They generally fatten up before this to survive the few weeks it takes for their feathers to grow back.

When visiting Boulders Beach, do yourselves a favour and hop over to the Visitor Centre where you can learn more about these darling penguins and their behaviour. Also, keep in mind that a small conservation fee is charged to enter the area, so I recommend making the most of your time there.

Boulders Beach

Enjoy a day lazing at Boulders Beach and see the world famous penguin colony. Take a dip in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean and find yourself swimming with the Penguins. Just remember this area is a sanctuary for them and they and their environment should be treated with respect.

Boulders Beach is home to the African penguin, which has been hanging out along the South African coast for years, in more recent times living shoulder to knee-cap with the local human population of Simon’s Town. Named “jackass” after their distinctive Eeyore impersonations, they occur in only 27 other sites, including Robben Island, and despite their large numbers at Boulder’s (some 3000), they are very much endangered …

Fishermans Beach

You will find the sandy shores of Fishermans Beach between the Simon’s Town Golf Course and the very well known Boulder’s Beach, which is home to many penguins and is extrememly popular with locals and tourists. If you’d prefer something a little quieter than Boulders, head down to Fishermans Beach.

Fishermans beach is enclosed by green lawns which are great if you’d like to play some games with friends, or if you prefer the sound of the ocean but the feel of grass instead of sand you can enjoy the best of both worlds here.

The water is slightly warmer than its opposing Atlantic Ocean beaches and this allows for a wide variety of water sports. Paddle out into the shallow waters and glide back in on a body board or explore the further reaches of the ocean on a kayak.

Glencairn Beach

If you’re heading out to Simons Town on the train why not stop off at Glencairn and spend a few hours at the beach? This fantastic little spot is popular with locals who enjoy taking their dogs for walks or basking in the sun for the afternoon.

If you prefer driving to the beach you’ll be happy to know that there is plenty of parking close by, however you will need to walk across the railway line, so take extra care when crossing.

Glencairn beach is also a great spot for whale watching in season and the resident shark spotters keep visitors up to date with the activity in the water. Enjoy a long stroll on the beach or simply enjoy the serenity the beach offers. Children will enjoy their time here to when they investigate the living creatures in the shallow tidal pool.

Seaforth Beach

Seaforth is the ‘freebie’ version of Boulders beach – more than a few of the penguins venture across here from Boulders Beach, particularly early morning and evening. It lies closer to Fish Hoek than Boulders, and has only Waters Edge beach between it and the former.

Seaforth is a beautiful beach, set in amongst a series of boulders and with a serious parking area, where a few traders sell their wares, and there is a restaurant. But it’s a fairly popular beach too, particularly during summer, because it’s a great swimming beach for children, so families head down here to camp out for much of the day.

The grassy slopes that overlook the beach are, understandably, the first spots to go because they’re so great for picnicking; some of them under trees. Get there early.

Smitswinkel Bay Beach

The Smitswinkel Bay Beach can be found, although not that easily as it isn’t very easy to access, just past Simons Town and next to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. You will only get to the beach on foot, so this is not suitable if you’re not fit as the walk is at least 15 minutes long.

The effort however, is well worth it! Because it is secluded this means it is quieter than many of the other Cape Town beaches and you’ll enjoy a peaceful day at the beach, should you choose. Take in the magnificent views of both the bay and the mountain. If you prefer to be a little more active on your beach day get involved in some of the activity as this bay is popular for diving, fishing and snorkeling. But remember since you’re walking to the beach you’ll need to carry all of your own gear!

The water is relatively gentle here so perfect for a mid afternoon dip to cool down. But please be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty here, so you will need to be extra careful when in the water.

Waters Edge Beach

This off the beaten track beach is one of the local secrets. Head off in a southerly direction from Southforth beach, Simonstown (i.e. veer right when the grassy verge behind the restaurant is in front of you), and you’ll find the path and sign for Water’s Edge beach.

It involves entering via what looks like a garden gate, which makes it appear to be a private beach, which it isn’t. The other way to reach it is along the sand and boulders via Seaforth. The beach may be regarded as part and parcel of Boulders beach but actually it lies between Seaforth Beach and Boulders, and most people know nothing about it.

The bay here is a wonderful haven for children, particularly the rock pools filled with star fish. It makes for wonderful swimming and snorkeling, and diving off the boulders adds a thrill’. But shhh, don’t tell anyone about it!

 

 

Source: SAVenues.com