The Penguins of Boulders Beach Just Like Chillin’, Because They Are Jackasses

One of the most popular attractions on the Western Cape of South Africa is the seaside village of Simon’s Town. Located about a 45-minute drive from downtown Cape Town, its main drawn is the penguin colony on Boulders Beach where you can get up close and get your nose bitten off.

Part of Table Mountain National Park, the colony is a protected space for the birds. The residents are commonly known as “jackass” penguins for their donkey-like call and habit of taking up two parking spaces and man-spreading.


After your 60R ($4.40US) admission, you’ll make your way across the wooden boardwalk where you’ll get some offshoot penguins separating themselves from the pack and also learn about these unique African penguins. The majority of the birds will be on the beach, where you’ll see them doing penguin things. You’ve seen the movies. They have happy feet, they like to march and on a quest to kill Batman.

On a 99F degree day in Cape Town, I welcomed the ocean breeze. It’s a fun little experience seeing penguins in such a unique climate. They got the nice beach there to swim in, they are well-protected and they have each other. I’m sure they get annoyed with humans gawking at them the whole day, but what can you do?


Here’s what I learned about the penguins: like all animals, they just eat, poop and make little baby penguins. These penguins mate by the male honking to make their presence known and marking their territory to others. The two penguins will start flirting with each other by mutual preening to strengthen their relationship. The males will bow, dip and stare down the female. Eventually, it’s sexy time. Often, the women will reject them if they are not in the mood.

Penguins! They are just like us!


Along the boardwalk is your chance to see the birds up close. There are signs every ten feet telling you not to touch the penguins because they will bite your finger. I had this little dialogue in my head:

“Whatever, man. I don’t have to play by your rules. Hey there, little fellah. *CRUNCH* Ouuuucchhhh. Get it off of me! Get it off of me! The pain! THE PAIIIIIINNNNN!”

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