Robben Island Penguins

Robben Island is more than a home for penguins. It is also regarded as a hotspot for seabird biodiversity

Western Cape Tourist Attractions Robben Island Penguins

Few people know of this colony's existence. When the Dutch originally arrived in the Cape, penguins dominated Robben Island. But by 1800 they were all gone - killed to add variety to the rabbits introduced in 1685 as a source of meat for passing ships.

Where? Robben Island, Cape Town, South Africa

When? Daily tours depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront

How? Call +27 (0)21 409-5100

Overnight? See Cape Town accommodation, in South Africa

As with both Stony Island and Boulders, a colony reformed only post 1983 and now there are over 13 000 penguins that moult here - an indication that they regard Robben Island as home.

By May 2000, just before the Treasure oil spill, there were nigh on 6 000 mating pairs on the island, making it the third largest colony, after Dassen Island and St Croix.

Robben Island is more than a home for penguins. It is also regarded as a hotspot for seabird biodiversity, and is a base for African black oystercatchers, sacred ibis, cattel egrets, little egrets and bank cormorants.

Apart from the mainland colonies at Boulders and Stony Point, Robben Island is considered to offer a very accessible place for those wanting to see the penguins.

The colony of penguins at Robben Island is also the best of the three to give an impression of seeing penguins in their natural breeding environment (the two mainland colonies are not typical penguin habitat).

The ferry service to the Robben Island Museum runs almost hourly, especially in summer, ensuring there is ample time within the standard three-and-a-half hour museum tour to give visitors a chance to see the penguins.

Featured "Penguin" Activities

Tour of Robben Island

Declared a World Heritage Site a tour of Robben Island takes 3 and a half hours and lasts a lifetime in your mind. The ferry ride approaching Robben Island and returning to V&A Waterfront across Table Bay displays a spectacular view...

More info and contact details: Tour of Robben Island

See the Light on Robben Island

This cylindrical masonry tower in a coat of white is accessible for close inspection on a Robben Island Museum tour and visible from far (focal plane height of 47 meters above high water) on a boat cruise. The island location of this light...

More info and contact details: Robben Island Lighthouse

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