About Robben Island Penguin Colony

Few people know of this colony's existence in Cape Town. 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.

Did you know? 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.

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).

Need to Know

WhereRobben Island Penguin Colony, Robben Island, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

WhenDaily tours depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront.

Telephone+27 (0)21 409-5100

OvernightStay in Cape Town Accommodation, Western Cape


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All About The Penguins

Want to see african penguin in their natural habitat? In South Africa the African Penguin is found mainly on islands off our shoreline. It has also taken up residence amongst us in mainland colonies. Find out about the African Penguins...

The Penguin Route

Mainland Colonies

Offshore Colonies

In the vicinity

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Things to do in the area

Accommodation convenient to Robben Island Penguin Colony

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