Today’s Cape Town adventure was penguins. It was a 30 minute drive from Muizenberg (about an hour south of Cape Town). I wasn’t sure where to go, but I heard that Simon’s Town had a few. We took the M5 and followed the super easy signs until we saw a sign that said, “Penguins” and had a little turn left signal.We parked in the lot and walked over to the reserve. We passed two ice cream shops, a few vendors and one very nice one-legged gentleman that alerted me to my dripping water bottle.
It cost R60 for each adult and the baby was free. You walk through the gate and are greeted with an AMAZING view! There are two ways you can go. Choose the left and you see the view above. Choose the right and you’ll end up at the same beach on the less crowded side. On either side, if you follow the little wooden path, you’ll spy penguins in the underbrush lying about and sunning themselves.
If you walk to the end of the wooden path you’ll find a beach that’s only for penguins. Visitors can’t get down there, but that’s okay.
Apparently, penguins bite! You can reach your hands in the gate (but you shouldn’t) to reach the penguins, but I wouldn’t suggest that you do. They are faster than they look and those little beaks will bite!
After you’ve taken in the scenery and you think that you’ve seen everything, you’ll leave the reserve and start walking back to your car. When you get back out to this sign, you’ll wonder where the OTHER path goes. Take it! That path is free for about a half mile walk. You can see the penguins in the underbrush and you can see the beautiful ocean views.
After about a half mile, there is another gate to enter the reserve. If you’ve already paid at the front gate you can use your receipt to get in this gate as well. This is where the secret, secluded beach is! People bring their small children because the boulders create a calmer water and there are few people milling around. We didn’t know this, so we didn’t have swimsuits, but the baby wanted to get in anyway. We rolled up his jeans and waded in …
… and then a wave came. Sometimes you just have to go with it. He was so happy that he plopped down and started playing in the water. Lol
We ended up spending a little bit of time playing in the water. If we had our swimsuits, I could see spending a whole afternoon here. The penguins stayed in the underbrush, but remember that they are there … and they can bite!
On the whole it was quite an enjoyable experience and I’d love to go back and do it again.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE PENGUINS IN SIMON’S TOWN
- Drive. The drive down the peninsula is beautiful. You can stop and take photos whenever you’d like. In Fish Hoek there’s a little pull-off where they talk about viewing whales. We didn’t stay that long, but it seemed promising.
- Lunch. Eat before you go or be prepared to try a European themed restaurant.
- Free. Take the free trail next to the entrance if you want to see some penguins and some great views for cheap. Walk the half mile path, turn around and walk back.
- Beach. If you pay, keep your receipt so you can visit the beach as well. The water was chilly in August, but not so bad that it stopped us from getting in it.