Cape Town in South Africa is one of the few places in the world where you can really up close and personal with a penguin in the wild. Since 1984 the African penguin (previously called the Jackass penguin)  has been nesting on Boulders Beach in Simonstown. Since the original pair in 1984 the colony has grown and is now home to several thousand of these endearing and comical birds.

Penguins in Simons Town

An African penguin on Boulders Beach near Cape Town

In order to protect the colony a boardwalk has been constructed and after paying a small conservation fee you can walk right into the middle of the colony to observe them going about their daily business.Boulders Beach

However, sometimes the boardwalk can be pretty crowded and feel very very touristy. Getting a decent photo of a posing penguin without part of several other frantically snapping tourists being in the shot can be difficult. On these days it is a good option to continue walking past the pay area where the boardwalk continues around to the “people beach” Along this stretch of boardwalk you will see several penguins nesting in the undergrowth on either side of the path. After 5 minutes walk you come to a parking area. All around here you will see plenty of penguins waddling around and flopping in the water.An African Penguin

It is still pretty crowded here in the summer. But to get away from the crowds keep going across the car park and take a small gate that leads to a small path that follows the shoreline beyond it.The penguin walk

The gate is clearly signed “The Burghers walk” It is a short trail following the beaches on the Southern side of Boulders Beach. Penguins are all over the place, often where you least expect them. Last time I was there my foot passed to close to a nesting penguin (I had no idea she was there) and recieved a sharp peck. So wearing shoes is definitely recommended.walking on the Burghers path

Although the irst part of the path is a boardwalk, after a short time it is a small path weaving between the dune fynbos. (this is where you need to be careful where you put your feet)

This is not a difficult or a long walk. More a short meander. The path leads to another beach from where you can walk up to the road or go back the way you came. The penguins do not seem at all peturbed by the human presence and go about their daily routine as you pass by.