Best time to travel to Cape Town

Playful Penguins Watching in Cape Town

Penguins love to hang out on the Boulders beach a lot, but in summer they are exceptionally playful

Best time: December–February

Playful Penguins Watching
Playful Penguins Watching

Spring and summer constitute the blooming colorful season, which for penguins means - mating needs to get started. This is exactly the time when they are cheerful, playful and full of love, and hence all their nice natural behaviours could be best seen. If you want to take some pictures, the best time would probably be early morning and late afternoon, when the penguins leave to go to sea or come back from feeding. If you wait and plan your trip for a bit later, you might even be lucky enough to see the little penguins hatching out of their eggs!

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Cape Town for penguin watching?

If you want to see penguins in Cape Town, the best time to visit is during the months of December to February, also known as the summer months. This is when the penguins are breeding, making them more dynamic and engaging as they prepare for mating season. If you're planning on catching these animals, early mornings or late afternoons are recommended as they head out to sea or come back. Another point of consideration is the possibility of seeing baby penguins hatch, which occurs during late January and early February. Show more

Where can I watch playful penguins in Cape Town?

Boulders Beach is a highly-recommended location for penguin watching in Cape Town. With approximately 2,000 African penguins present at the peak of the breeding season, the beach is known for being the ideal spot to see these creatures in their natural habitat. While Boulders is the go-to location, there's a chance of spotting penguins on different beaches as well, such as Fish Hoek Beach, or at Simon's Town Waterfront. For a closer look, trekkers may take a walk on Boulders Beach's boardwalk, putting them in close proximity to the animals. Show more

How close can I get to the penguins on Boulders Beach?

While it's possible to get up close and personal with the African penguins on Boulders Beach, it's important to remember that they are still wild animals. In particular, visitors should mind how close they are and avoid touching them, allowing them space to move around. Though the penguins are habituated to humans, tourists should still be mindful of keeping a safe and healthy distance of three meters. Paying attention to these guidelines is important, since breaching them may result in a costly fine. Show more

What is the breeding season for penguins in Cape Town?

The breeding season of penguins in Cape Town starts in the summer months, which are from December to February. Over this time, penguins mate and lay their eggs, which usually take approximately 38 days to hatch. Once the chicks emerge, their parents take care of them for about 60 days before they are fully grown. Viewing a penguin colony during their breeding season provides an opportunity to see them at their most lively and playful. Show more

Can I take pictures of the penguins or is it prohibited?

In Cape Town you are free to snap some shots of the African penguins. Keep in mind that you should be very cautious in not causing disruption to their paradise. For instance, be sure to respect their space by staying away from them and refraining from physical contact. Furthermore, taking flash photography can be dangerous to the penguins' eyes, so ensure that any photos taken do not use flash. Finally, keep them on a healthy diet by not feeding them, and at all times remain mindful of how your actions can affect their natural behavior patterns. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Playful Penguins Watching (Map)

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin