The African Penguins at Betty's Bay - All You Need to Know
The African Penguins at Betty's Bay - All You Need to Know

The African Penguins at Betty's Bay - All You Need to Know

South Africa
South Africa

When Is the Best Time

Bettys Bay and its penguins are a hidden gem like Simon’s Town 20 years ago. The penguins and the bay are still not popular it’s rarely busy here. 

A man watching the cute penguins in the bay.
The penguins are back from foraging.

Actually, Betty’s Bay is called the Stony Point Penguin Colony, but this is a not well-known name for them. 

People along the coastal path watching penguins.
The coastal path in Betty's Bay.

The views in Bettys Bay are beautiful on a clear day. A part of the penguin colony is protected by Cape Nature Kogelberg, but these cute little guys don’t care about that. Plenty of them have their burrows and nests outside the reserve.

Penguins on the walking path with houses in the back.
Penguins waddle back to their nests.

Usually, there are always penguins around entertaining tourists and locals alike. 

Four penguins looking out of the scrub.
They have their burrows in the thicket.

The best time to watch plenty of the African penguins is in the late afternoon when they return from foraging up to 20 km out in the sea. 

Penguins returning from foraging.
Penguins and a juvenile coming back late afternoon.

The best months are from November to August. During September and October, there are fewer penguins to spot in the bay.  They are foraging at sea for the strenuous moulting season which lasts roughly three weeks. 

Opening Hours and Entrance Fee

Information Board Kogelberg Nature Reserve opening hours and entrance fee
Behind the sign is the cafe.
  • Usually, from 8 am - 4 pm, and in the summer until 5 pm.
  • Adults R 25 and children R 28

It is worth visiting and paying the fee to support the conservation efforts for the endemic South African penguin.

Bettys Bay with deep clouds
However, the scenery is breathtaking.

Best weather conditions with very little rainfall from October until March. Most precipitation is from May until September. The sky is frequently overcast or it is even foggy.

Self-Catering Accommodation Bettys Bay

Our fantastic house at Kalliste in Bettys Bay
The mountains in the back and the sea in front.

We loved staying at Bettys Bay exploring the area around our wonderful accommodation. We spent four nights at Kalliste and this was definitely too short. We rarely experienced such an awesome and quiet location next to the sea. Our hosts were fantastic - the house was top-notch; one of the best stays in our life.

The oudoor seating at the sea
We loved sitting outside in the evening and watching the sunset.

Best Months to Visit


Location and Tips

South Africa
South Africa

Betty's Bay is less popular and crowded than Boulders Beach. It is located at the Stony Point Nature Reserve near an abandoned whaling station. The whaling station was closed in 1930, the penguins started to breed here, and it became a conservation area.

The Nature Reserve in the back and Bettys Bay
To the left is the Nature Reserve entrance.

We were in Betty's Bay already multiple times and always spotted the endangered African penguin. A lot of visitors arrive here by accident because of a penguin sign in Kleinmond.

A sign warning car drivers to check if there are penguins under their vehicle before leaving.
The sign was put there for good reason.

There is ample parking but be careful when you are leaving. Penguins may sit under your car.

A car leaving the penguin area and the gate opens.
The gate opened when we left.

The entrance gate opens and closes automatically to prevent penguins are leaving the area and getting hit by a vehicle. 

Cormorants and penguins at the former whaling station
Also endangered cormorants occur here.

Even a café next to the parking lot is available, also clean facilities, and the Nature Reserve entrance is to the right.

A group of penguins at the beach and thicket
Penguins are everywhere.

There are penguins along the entire coast also to the left. The coastal walking path is crossing the penguin’s route to their burrows.

The gate entrance to Stony Point Nature Reserve
The closed gate to Stony Point after 5 pm.

The Nature Reserve closes the gate to Stony Point pretty early but not the parking. Only once we were in time to enter the protected zone.

The 500 m long boardwalk in the Nature Reserve
The disabled-friendly access.

It’s a 500 m long boardwalk leading above and along the African Penguin nesting area. Benches were installed for the visitors to observe the penguins and to enjoy the beautiful scenery. It is worth to pay the entrance fee to support their conservation efforts.

Two penguins on the walking path
These are curious and cute guys. We didn't move and they came closer to inspect us. 

Please, respect distance, we are intruding on their home and they are close to extinction. I hope they will be still around in 20 years but the prognosis is gloomy.

Adult penguins and a juvenile are back from foraging
There is a juvenile in the back.

The current African penguin population in Namibia and South Africa is at about 2% of the historic population just a hundred years ago. The penguin numbers are declining except for Boulder Beach which is stable. Only 170.000 penguins are left, which is 10 % of their population 50 years ago. These penguins are endemic to Southern Africa.

A huge group of penguins adults and young ones
Some penguins in the middle are pretty late with moulting

The penguins have a harder time here than at Boulder Beach. More than 700 of the penguins were marked with microchips after their release here. They study and monitor these penguins at Stony Point. These data are valuable insights about their entire life their cycle for their long-term survival. 

One penguin picture up close by zoom camera
Do you wish to learn more facts about the endangered and endemic Southern African Penguin? Check out my Boulders Beach article with more details.

These cute guys weigh up to 3 kg and mate for life. They always return to the same nesting site for up to 15 years. Unfortunately, they have an endangered status. 

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I am always open, curious about new…