You are currently viewing Family Travel: Where Penguins Play

What’s not to love about a spot of local travel with your family? Cape Town is a beautiful place to visit, live in and play. But escaping the city for a weekend brings with it a sense of freedom and relaxation.

My family loves to travel and recently we took a local trip “down the line” to where the penguins play. Our destination: Simon’s Town and specifically Boulders Beach.

A different vibe

It’s a part of the world where time seems to stand still and the worries of the city are washed away by the warmer waters of False Bay. Sea you and your family can actually swim in.

My grandparents hail from Fish Hoek.  For many years my aunt owned a house in Simon’s Town, so it’s a place that holds wonderful holiday memories for me. So, travelling “down the line” is nostalgic, it calms me and makes me smile.

Historic Simonstown

Apart from the lovely old buildings and ancient cobbled stones, the naval town of Simon’s Town boasts wonderful restaurants, museums, coffee shops and shops.

Beautiful Boulders Beach

This secluded beach is home to a unique and endangered land-based colony of African Penguins – one of  one of only a few in the world. The site is extremely popular with local and international tourists.

A family favourite

With the warmer sea and a beach protected from the wind, it’s the favourite for many families with young children. We’ve spent so many happy hours on that beach, making sandcastles, swimming and being entertained by the antics of the playful penguins.

On more energetic days, we have strolled down the boardwalks (there are three), stopping now and then to take photographs. The area is  spectacular for budding photographers and of course; selfie enthusiasts.
Boulders Visitor Centre: +27(0) 21 786 2329.

Feeling peckish?

Where better than at the water’s edge to have breakfast, lunch or dinner? Bertha’s Restaurant in the Quayside Centre has a large outdoor dining space, including a children’s play area, with views across Simon’s Town harbour.

Simon’s Town scratch patch

Did you know that almost half of the world’s gemstones are found in this part of the world? It certainly is one of the most popular places (especially with small children) to scratch, discover and take home a collection of bright and shiny gemstones. Open: Mon to Fri: 8:30 am to 4:45 pm; Sat, Sun and holidays: 9am to 5:30pm

Just Nuisance

The life and story of Just Nuisance, the Great Dane, has become so much a part of Simon’s Town and the statue on Jubilee Square is a must-see. He was the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. He died in 1944 and was buried with full military honours.

Simonstown Museum

The Simon’s Town Museum has a collection all Just Nuisance’s official papers, his collar and many photographs. A special display is mounted in the museum and a slide show is shown daily to children and tourists from all around the world. warrior

Toy museum

This museum showcases a unique collection of toy cars and trains, dolls and lead soldiers. Great for children of all ages, parents and grandparents. The toy museum also has a sales section for collectors. Contact: +27 (0) 21 786 1395 to confirm hours.

Keeping the best for last

Our ultimate destination was the new Tintswalo at Boulders Boutique Villa offering luxurious seaside accommodation with unobstructed views over Boulders Beach. We opted for the bed and breakfast option, as we were only there for a night. The rooms can be described as “super swish” and the breakfast, mouth-wateringly moreish. Walking into the villa felt like going home, except with better furniture, food and a team of highly-trained staff to see to your every need. Yes, this did feel like a dream come true.

Our time at the villa can only be described by one word, bliss! We’ll be back …


A perfect family holiday destination

With so much to do in the area, it makes a wonderful spot for families wanting to holiday together for a weekend, a week or longer.


Only got a few days break? Find out how to see the best of the Cape in just three days. Here is a selection of other day-tripping ideas.


If you are in the area and looking for a different kind of adventure or dining experience. Go online and check out the foraging and dining events planned at Veld and Sea. They also host an array of exciting and educational nature inspired workshops, wild flavoured experiences and collaborative events for public groups, private groups and celebrations.


Lisa McNamara