Published On: Thu, Feb 13th, 2020

3 Best Places To See Penguins In The World

With their smart tuxedos and comic gait, penguins are always a fascinating bird to see in their natural habitat. There are, in total, 17 species of penguin and the following are three locations where they can readily be seen.


  • African or Jackass Penguins, Boulders Beach, Simonstown, South Africa


Boulders Beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park in the Western Cape of South Africa and is famous for its colony of African Penguins. The beaches can be seen on a visit to the historic town of Simonstown, 40 km (25 mi) from the city of Cape Town.

Boulders, as it is known for short consists of a string of secluded rocky coves and beaches, all overlooking False Bay. To see the penguins, follow the wooden boardwalk around the beaches, or visit to the information kiosk, where guided tours can be arranged. For the best experience with the penguins, head to Foxy Beach, where they can be seen to be nesting and moving around on the sand.

African, or Jackass penguins as they are also known, stand around 60 cm (24 in) tall and have a black facial mask with pink patches above their eyes. This species is considered to be vulnerable and endangered. Visitors are warned not to directly approach the penguins as, even though they are used to humans, they can deliver a nasty peck with their razor sharp beaks. The best time to see the penguins nesting is between February and August. 

Besides visiting the penguins, there are a number of lovely forest walks in the surroundings with rest areas to relax and enjoy views over False Bay. Also, the historic town of Simonstown is well worth exploring.


  • Antarctic penguins


Heading to cooler climes, the Antarctic offers the opportunity to view seven of the 17 species of penguins. Experts say there are approximately 20 million breeding pairs living in Antarctica, giving a good opportunity of spotting some. The various species living and breeding in the Antarctic are Emperor, Adelie, Chinstrap, Gentoo, King, Macaroni, and Rockhopper.

Probably the most popular for anyone who has seen the Happy Feet film series is the Emperor penguin. These are the largest penguin species, with some standing up to 1.2 m (4 ft) in height. They can be recognized by a yellow patch of feathers on their chests, plus the upper part of their bill is shaded orange, lilac or pink.

The best place to spot Emperor penguins is on Snow Hill Island in the remote Weddel Sea. While Antarctica cruises rarely visit here, it is definitely a worthwhile experience to travel here.

gentoo penguin at SeaWorld Orlando photo/Laura Jones


  • Galapagos Penguins


Heading to equatorial climes, we next look at Galapagos penguins. These penguins are the third smallest of the penguin species, standing at around 40 cm (16 in) tall. Beneath their chins, Galapagos penguins sport a thin white band, with a black curved shape over their belly.

This species is only found around the Galapagos and Isabela Islands and it is believed they were brought here by the Humboldt Current, heading north from Antarctica. The species was originally meant for a cold environment and they spend their days swimming in the Cromwell Current to keep cool.

The Galapagos Islands are a province of Ecuador and the archipelago is one of the best worldwide destinations for viewing wildlife, with its amazing diversity of often unique animal and plant species. The islands were famously visited by Charles Darwin in 1835 and his observations there inspired his theory of evolution.

Whether heading to warm or colder climes, take the opportunity to spot some penguins this year and explore their remarkable surroundings.

Author: Anne Sewell

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  1. doctor johanesburg says:

    how old would a penguin live? so since they cold blooded do they basically feed on fish?
    This year i will try and visit Capetown to experience the beautiful life of these spices.

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