5 Locations The place Penguins Dwell (& Greatest Occasions to See Them There)



Penguins are one of the vital fashionable animals on the planet, and have been ever since films like March of the Penguins and Happy Feet got here out in 2005-2006. 

However how a lot have you learnt about these beloved flightless birds? Are you aware the place penguins reside, what they eat, how briskly they will swim, or that they date again greater than 60 million years?!

The 17 totally different species of penguins could be discovered on each continent within the Southern Hemisphere– Africa, Antarctica, Australia and South America. 

Whereas most individuals affiliate these humorous flightless waterfowl with the chilly local weather of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands, they’re additionally seen as far north because the coasts of Namibia, Brazil, and the Galapagos Islands. 

Learn on for a take a look at the broad number of locations all over the world the place penguins reside, in addition to one of the best instances of yr to see them there…

READ MORE: 30 Cool & Weird Ocean Animals Around the World

The place Do Penguins Dwell Information

  1. Antarctica & The Antarctic Islands
  2. Australia/New Zealand
  3. Argentina/Chile
  4. Galapagos Islands
  5. South Africa

READ MORE: 70 Cool & Weird Animals Around the World (An Epic Guide)

Baby Gentoo Penguin Chicks in Antarctica
Mama Gentoo Penguin in Antartica with Two Child Chicks, picture by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


When you’ve ever seen March of the Penguins, you most likely think about the penguins of Antarctica all huddled collectively is huge colonies to defend their eggs from a blinding blizzard.

Whereas that’s definitely a actuality of life for some penguin species, it’s a lot simpler for vacationers to go to them throughout the Antarctic summer season, when daytime temperatures usually get into the 40s. 

Antarctica is dwelling to 4 totally different species of Penguin, every of which has their very own most popular habitat.

Emperor Penguins sometimes breed on pack ice and shelf ice (often between the 66° and 77° south latitudes). However a number of breeding colonies have been discovered on land lately, together with one at Amundsen Bay and one other at Taylor Glacier in Victoria Land.

Chinstrap Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, and Adelie Penguins are all carefully associated and generally seen.

Search for them nesting on rocks comparatively near shore on each the mainland and quite a few Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands, together with the Hazard Islands, the Falklands, and South Georgia Islands.

The King Penguin is second solely to the Emperor Penguin among the many world’s largest penguins. They’re additionally one of the vital plentiful penguin species, with an estimated 2.3 million breeding pairs.

Although you gained’t see them on the mainland, they are often discovered on sub-Antarctic islands resembling South Georgia, the Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, and extra. 

READ MORE: PHOTO GALLERY: Penguins of Antarctica

King Penguins in the Falkland Islands
King Penguins within the Falkland Islands


Due to their location within the excessive southern a part of the planet, the local weather of Antarctica and the Antarctic Islands are comparatively inhospitable to people for the overwhelming majority of the yr.

However summer season within the Southern Hemisphere, which lasts from December by way of March, finds every day excessive temperatures hovering into the 40s (and sometimes even the 50s).

The area will get virtually 24 steady hours of daylight throughout this time, permitting loads of time to discover the highlights of Antarctica.

The melting away of coastal ice makes shore landings significantly simpler. It’s additionally a good time to see child penguin chicks at their fuzziest, snuggling towards their mother to sleep or feasting on regurgitated tidbits from her gullet. 

Cruising Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands means that you can see Gentoo, Magellanic, and Rockhopper Penguins within the Falklands; King and Macaroni Penguins in South Georgia; an enormous Chinstrap Penguin colony on Elephant Island; and Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo Penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula. 

After all, there can even be loads of different Antarctic wildlife alongside the way in which, from Humpback Whales and Orcas and quite a few species of seals to seabirds resembling albatross, kelp gulls, big petrels, skuas, and extra. 

READ MORE: 30 Antarctic Animals You Can See on an Antarctica Cruise

Fairy Penguin or Little Penguin
Fairy Penguin or Little Penguin


When you get away from Antarctica, many of the locations the place penguins reside are rocky islands and dry, desert-like environments the place their incapacity to fly doesn’t make them weak to land-based predators.

Although most individuals consider Australia as dry and dusty, it’s additionally dwelling to the Little Penguin, which is affectionately recognized domestically because the Fairy Penguin resulting from its diminutive measurement.

These cute beauties could be discovered throughout the continent’s southern coast, together with Sydney’s North Harbour, Tasmania, Victoria, and numerous close by islands (together with, naturally, Penguin Island).

In New Zealand, they’re known as Little Blue Penguins (or kororā among the many Māori people).

New Zealand can be dwelling to the Yellow-Eyed Penguin (mainland, Auckland, Campbell, and Stewart Islands); Fiordland Penguin (Open Bay, South, and Stewart Islands); and Snares Penguin (a crested species discovered solely within the Snares Islands).

Royal Penguins– which have the colourful crest of a Macaroni Penguin, however a white face and chin– inhabit the waters throughout Antarctica.

However they often solely breed on New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island, the place you’ll discover a number of hundred thousand mating pairs. 

READ MORE: 20 Weird & Cute Australian Animals

Yellow-Eyed Penguin
Yellow-Eyed Penguin


The southern coast of New Zealand’s South Island is probably not as chilly as Antarctica, however temperatures can get as little as 14º Fahrenheit in winter (July is the coldest month).

So it’s finest when you can plan your go to in January or February, the warmest months within the southern hemisphere. The typical temperature then is round 48º, with highs usually reaching into the 60s. 

If you’re packing, keep in mind New Zealand can have 4 seasons in at some point. Although temperature variations throughout the day aren’t sometimes excessive, the climate can change rapidly with chilly fronts or excessive winds blowing in.

Expeditions to the Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand usually discover South Island highlights resembling Fiordland Nationwide Park in addition to the Aucklands, Campbell, Macquarie, the Snares, Stewart, and extra.

Vacationers can hope to see colonies of Gengtoo, King, Rockhopper, and Royal Penguins, in addition to endemic species resembling Snares and Yellow-eyed Penguins.

READ MORE: 10 Awesome Australian Road Trips (For Your World Travel Bucket List)

Southern Rockhopper Penguin
Southern Rockhopper Penguin


The southernmost international locations in South America– a.ok.a. Patagonia– are dwelling to 4 totally different penguin species. 

Humboldt Penguins (a.ok.a. Peruvian Penguins) are discovered on the continent’s west facet, from Chile all the way in which as much as the coast of Peru.  They’re named after the chilly water present by which they swim (which was named for explorer Alexander von Humboldt).

You’ll be able to  determine them by the white border that runs from behind their eyes and round their ear-coverts, becoming a member of on the throat. They’re carefully associated to Magellanic Penguins, with whom they share some vary. 

Named after the well-known Portuguese explorer, Magellanic Penguins have an enormous vary that extends from southern Chile and Argentina to the Falkland Islands and as far north as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It’s possible you’ll spot them swimming in giant flocks, diving as much as 50 meters to feed on cuttlefish, squid, krill, and different crustaceans. You’ll additionally like see huge breeding colonies, with nests about 5 meters aside beneath bushes or in burrows. 

The Southern Rockhopper Penguin, one among two Rockhopper subspecies, is the smallest of the crested penguins. They’re sometimes discovered on the islands off the coasts of Argentina and Chile in addition to the Falklands.

(Their Jap Rockhopper cousins are discovered on the subantarctic islands, together with the Aucklands, Campbells, Crozets, Prince Edward, and Macquarie.)

The King Penguin is mostly related to the sub-Antarctic islands. However there’s additionally a formidable colony in Tierra del Fuego, the place they’ve their very own protected sanctuary (Pingüino Rey Park). 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Patagonia (South America)

Magellanic Penguins
Magellanic Penguins in Patagonia Argentina


As with Antarctica and Australia, summer season (December by way of March) is arguably one of the best time to go to Argentina and Chile.

It may nonetheless get all the way down to freezing temperatures at night time, however days are largely sunny with occasional gusts of sturdy wind. The additional north you go into Patagonia, the hotter it often is within the spring and autumn months.

Some eco-tour corporations supply Patagonia expeditions that go to Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra del Fuego, and cross the Strait of Magellan. You’ll possible see a King Penguin colony, a Magellanic Penguin colony, and numerous different bird species alongside the way in which.

Immersive Patagonia overlanding experiences may additionally embody visits to the accessible King Penguin colony at Parque Pinguino Rey, in addition to a ship experience to the well-known Magellanic Penguin rookery on Magdalena Island. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Visit in South America

Bret Love of Green Global Travel Swimming with Galapagos Penguins
Bret Love of Inexperienced International Journey Swimming with Galapagos Penguins


Situated some 850 miles from mainland Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands is likely one of the solely locations on the planet the place vacationers have a reasonably respectable likelihood to swim with penguins. 

Although they’re essentially the most uncommon and endangered penguin species on the planet, you’re nearly assured to see Galapagos Penguins on the western islands of Fernandina and Isabela (particularly round Tagus Cove).

However you may additionally see small populations on Floreana, northern Santa Cruz, and Santiago Island. You’ll often see them sunning themselves on the shore, or taking pictures like rockets underwater in quest of a snack.

My favourite encounter got here throughout a cruise off the coast of Bartolome, which is dwelling to Pinnacle Rock. A pair of curious penguins hopped into the water beside our group of snorkelers, and swam with us for 20+ minutes!

When you do get a possibility to go swimming with Galapagos Penguins throughout your go to to the islands, you’re VERY fortunate: Our native information mentioned it had solely occurred to her as soon as in 17 years of working within the archipelago!

READ MORE: 30 Amazing Galapagos Islands Animals

Galapagos Penguin Cooling Himself in the Midday Sun
Galapagos Penguin Cooling Himself within the Noon Solar by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


Of all of the locations on the planet the place vacationers can hope to see penguins within the wild, the Galapagos Islands is the one the place climate issues aren’t a significant component.

Resulting from its location on the Equator, the archipelago is pretty heat all yr spherical, with excessive temperatures within the 70s to 80s and lows hardly ever dipping beneath 65º. 

However if you wish to swim with Galapagos Penguins, take into account the water temperatures. They’re at their lowest– averaging 70-71º– from July by way of September, with a mean of 76 to 77º from January by way of April.

However even when the water is cool, most snorkeling excursions include insulated wetsuits to make sure your consolation. 

Many excursions of the archipelago Darwin made well-known embody every day snorkeling alternatives. And with stops at Isabela, Fernandina, and Bartolome, you’re nearly assured to see the world’s rarest penguins!

READ MORE: Galapagos Birds: 25 Spectacular Species You Can See on a Galapagos Cruise

African Penguins
African Penguins in South Africa


When most individuals consider South Africa, they have an inclination to consider Nelson Mandela, Big 5 wildlife safaris, and the scenic wine nation round Cape City.

However the nation’s coastlines are additionally dwelling to the African Penguin, which has grow to be more and more fashionable with vacationers lately.

Their habitat spreads all the way in which across the southern coast from Algoa Bay, close to Port Elizabeth, as much as northern Namibia, with colonies on each the mainland and 24 totally different islands (together with the Penguin Islands).

Boulders Seashore, close to Simon City, is likely one of the finest locations to see them. And since the colony is habituated to human presence, additionally it is potential to swim with penguins there. 

Sadly, like its Galapagos cousin, the African Penguin is presently endangered resulting from exploitation, oil spills, and depletion of their favourite prey, anchovy and sardines.

Their whole inhabitants is down from 1.5 million within the early twentieth century to simply over 50,000 at the moment. So, when you do see these penguins within the wild, please be respectful and maintain your distance from their nests. 

READ MORE: The 20 Safest Countries in Africa to Visit

African Penguin at sundown


Very similar to the Galapagos, South Africa’s climate is usually good it doesn’t matter what time of yr you select to go to.

Temperatures in Kruger National Park throughout the dry season (April to September) vary from the excessive 40s at night time to the mid-80s throughout the day. However June is the coldest month in Cape City, with common temperatures of 55º. 

If you need an opportunity of swimming with African Penguins on the nation’s southwest coast, go to in February (the most well liked month, with a mean temperature of 73°) or late August/September, when highs are within the low 70s.

Some South African eco-tours take guests all throughout the continent’s southernmost nation, from Cape City east to Tswalu Kalahari Recreation Reserve and the normal safari expertise of Timbavati Game Reserve.

Search for one that features a go to to the African Penguin colony at Stoney Level, in addition to the “oceanic Massive 5” at Walker Bay in Gansbaai. –Bret Love 



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