A guide to visiting Boulders Beach (and to see lots of penguins!)

Aug 27, 2019 | Africa, Global travel, South Africa

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(Last updated on: 03/04/2020)

Boulders Beach is a beach in Cape Town, South Africa. Every year tourists flock there to get close to African Penguins. Read on to find out everything you need to know about visit Boulders Beach, and how to see lots of penguins!

Why visit Boulders Beach penguins?

Boulders Beach is the only place in the world where you can get close to African Penguins. There are currently between 2,000 and 3,000 African Penguins at Boulders beach, but sadly they are classed as an endangered species. This is due over-fishing, habitat destruction, pollution and irresponsible tourism.

Visit the African Penguins before it’s too late. The beach itself is classed as a safe beach – there are rangers on patrol every day, and alcohol and smoking are prohibited. It is also part of the Marine Protected Area, so no marine life may be removed. This means Boulders Beach is the perfect place to see African Penguins in their safe and natural habitat.

Check out this cute footage of the penguins at Boulders Beach!

In previous years you could take a picnic, climb over the boulders, swim in the crystal clear water or explore the rock pools. Nowadays, however, tourists are restricted to the dedicated walkways in order to protect the penguins and their habitat.

There is also a visitors centre, where experts are on hand to share plenty of information about the penguins and the local area.

Boulders Beach entrance fee

There is an entrance fee applicable when visiting Boulders Beach. The money is used for conservation, and also prevents overcrowding. The entrance fee tariffs are:

Standard Conservation Fee for foreign visitors

R152 per adult, per day (£8.77)

R76 per child, per day (£4.39)

Conservation Fee for SADC Nationals (with passport)

R76 per adult, per day (£4.39)

R39 per child, per day (£2.25)

Conservation Fee for South African Citizens & Residents (with ID)

R39 per adult, per day (£2.25)

R20 per child, per day (£1.15)

Child rates are applied for ages 2-11, and adult rates apply for those over the age of 12. 

Boulders Beach opening hours

Visiting the beach isn’t a 24 hours a day activity. There are set opening times for Boulders Beach depending on the time of year, which are:

April-September (Winter) 8am-5pm

December-January (Summer) 7am-7.30pm

February-March and October-November 8am-6.30pm

Make sure you pay attention to the closing time when you get there, so you don’t end up having to pack up and leave in a rush!

The best time to visit Boulders Beach

As you can see from the opening times above, Boulders Beach is open year round. The best time to visit in terms of the weather is between October and March.This is when the area gets the least amount of rainfall. The busiest time for visiting is actually March-April, however. Our visit was in December and it was perfect!

Don’t worry, though – the penguins are there all year round. No matter when you time your visit, you’re guaranteed to see penguins.

According to locals and previous visitors, it’s best to visit midweek. That way you can explore the local area too – but it’s not hammered with tourists, holidaymakers and people on they days off! A lot of local attractions are closed on Sundays, too, so that’s not a great day to visit either.

South Africa with a baby
Penguin spotting

The weather at Boulders Beach

The lowest temperature in the area comes during June-August, when it gets down to 11°C with highs of around 18°C. The hottest months are January and February, with lows of 15°C and highs of 24°C.

As you can see from the above examples, the weather at Boulders Beach is quite temperate – never freezing cold and never boiling hot. There are varying amounts of rainfall throughout the year, too. March has the least amount of rainfall, with only two days in the month being hit; June and August are particularly rainy, though, with 11 days each.

Read also: South Africa with a Baby (+ a baby bump)

Boulders Beach accommodation

Now you’ve got some background about the area as well as some practical information, you might be looking into taking a trip there. If you need some places to stay, look no further…

Simon’s Town

The nearest town to Boulders Beach is Simon’s Town, which itself is near Cape Town. If you want to be as close as possible to the beach and the penguins, then Simon’s Town is the place to stay.

At just 900 yards from the beach itself, Tintswalo at Boulders is ideal. It’s just over 27 miles from Cape Town International Airport, has a pool and offers free WiFi as well as free parking, massage facilities, private bathrooms and more. Breakfast is included when you book, too!

For something a bit more affordable, but still within easy reach of Boulders Beach, check out Penguins View Guesthouse. Rooms are bright and airy, and the beach is a mere 5 minute walk away. At around 18 miles from Cape Town International Airport, it’s easy to get to and free accessible parking is offered on-site. There’s a pool, a nearby golf course, barbecue facilities and more. As well as this, Simon’s Town Country Club is just a few minutes away on foot.

Cape Town

Booking.com

You might consider Cape Town as a base if you’re staying for longer than a few days. Boulders Beach is just over an hours drive from Cape Town, and the area is popular for wine tasting, hiking and safari. Tours to see the penguins are available! There are plenty of places to stay in and around Cape Town:

If you’re travelling on a budget, hostels are an option. A Sunflower Stop is popular and affordable, and only a 20 minute walk from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. For something a bit more central, Ashanti Lodge Gardens is a popular choice too.

The Happy Rhino Hotel is great if you want to be in the heart of the city – it’s a capsule hotel with en-suite rooms, free WiFi and a breakfast area. 5% of the hotel’s profits go towards supporting anti rhino poaching efforts in South Africa.

For a bit of luxury, the Icon Luxury Apartments are right in the city centre. They have free private parking, kitchenettes and a pool/fitness centre. WiFi is free and Table Mountain is only 5 miles away.

Alternatively, you can always stay in an Airbnb, like we did. Click here for £34 off your stay.

Boulders Beach
The penguins on our trip to Boulders Beach

There you have it. All you need to know about visiting Boulders Beach and the penguins! Enjoy your trip.

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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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