Each year on the 25th of April, World Penguin Day is celebrated to raise awareness about penguin habitat destruction, overfishing and pollution, as well as to promote the protection and conservation of these endangered penguin species that are waddling across our world.

In celebration of World Penguin Day, we have decided to list some interesting facts about these majestic birds and the fascinating things they do.

Interesting Facts About Penguins

  • There are 17 species of penguins, all of which can be found exclusively on the southernmost continent.
  • A penguin’s diet consists of mainly fish and sea creatures found underwater. Penguins drink seawater, and, instead of teeth, have fleshy cartilage in their mouths that guides fish down whole.
  • Penguins are recognised for their black and white suits that act as camouflage while swimming. The black colour on their back blends into the murky ocean waters, while the white on their front keeps their bellies hidden against the bright surface, protecting them from predators below.
  • Discovered fossils give evidence that penguins once stood at 1.5 metres tall. Penguin remains place the earliest seabird relative at 60 million years ago, meaning that the ancestor of the penguins we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • Some species of penguins are completely monogamous for life and can find their life mates as soon as they arrive at the colony.

  • Penguins have excellent hearing and rely on using distinctive calls to locate their mates and baby chicks when returning to the breeding grounds.
  • Penguin nesting areas are called “rookeries” or “waddles” and may contain thousands of pairs of birds. Most penguins are loyal to their exact nesting site and will often return to the same rockery where they were born.

  • In some species of penguins, the males incubate the eggs while the females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, chubbier males are more desirable to female penguins because they have enough fat storage to survive longer without eating for weeks.
Penguins at Boulders Beach Cape Town
Two curious penguins at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town

Where to See Penguins in Cape Town

If you want to get up close and personal with these seabirds, the Western Cape, South Africa offers two mainland penguin colonies in the area, one at Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town and the other at Stony Point in Bettys Bay.

View Penguins at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town

The most famous penguin colony lives amongst massive boulders in the heart of Cape Town’s naval town, Simon’s Town.

Take a trip to this white, sandy beach and explore the surrounding area through a series of winding boardwalks that allow you to witness these waddling birds in their natural habitat. You can even swim with them (if they’ll let you)!

Spend time with the African Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach and visit popular landmarks including Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope in our Cape Point and Cape Peninsula Tour.

  • Where: Simons Town, Cape Town
  • Price: R76 for full day entry

View Penguins at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay

Located just an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Stony Point in Betty’s Bay is home to an old whaling station that has become engulfed with an African penguin colony. Roughly 3 600 penguins live at Stony Point, and guests are offered the opportunity to walk amongst them and observe their silly behaviour along a boardwalk.

The drive towards Stony Point on Clarens Drive provides breathtaking views of the coast, and the seaside town of Bettys Bay holds a rustic charm that is sure to capture your heart.

Observe these unique-looking birds in their natural habitat on our Hermanus Whale Watching Tour.

  • Where: Betty’s Bay
  • Price: Small entrance fee depending on the season
African jackass penguin

View Penguins at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Situated in the V&A Waterfront, the Two Oceans Aquarium is home to a much smaller penguin colony, but are just as cute to view in real life.

The penguins at the Two Oceans Aquarium have been rescued and nursed back to health before breeding themselves. The staff know every single bird by name, and if you pass by the penguin enclosure at the right time, you will be able to see a live feeding of the birds.

Read more about the Two Oceans Aquarium in our about article The Best Things to Do at the V&A Waterfront.

  • Where: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • Price: R175
Man taking pictures of penguins at Boulders Beach

We hope you liked reading about these adorable birds and that this blog post helped you learn a few fun penguin facts!

Have you seen penguins up close and personal? Have you visited Boulder’s Beach or Stony Point? Share your experience in the comments section below! We love receiving your feedback.

Thanks for reading!

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