The penguin trail is about 30 minutes by foot from the train station, right off Simon's Town's main drag, and there are two different paths. The paid route (55 rand, or roughly $5, for adults, 25 rand for children) leads to the penguin colony on Foxy Beach, and there's also a free path, Willis Walk, where you can spot stray penguins nesting in the shrubbery.
According to the warning signs along the trail, penguins bite, too, and those sharp beaks can puncture and do serious damage, but they appear to be paying little mind to the humans gawking at them. The first group of penguins that I approach are standing still as midnight, as if at attention, like unarmed miniature Pinkerton guards. I have to get closer to make sure that I'm not looking at a stuffed penguin display. The ones further down the walkway on the shore are more playful and social, waddling and flapping about, as if they don't have a care in the world.
Sadly, they do, as the African penguin is on the endangered list. But in the natural protected sanctuary from Foxy Beach to Boulders Beach, they're treated like VIPs (very important penguins), not locked up in cages or forced to perform stupid pet tricks for humans. As I stare at them in their feather tuxedos, I notice that they seem proud, maybe just a little haughty. I think they're looking down their beaks at us, wondering, What's up with them? Those penguins are so smart. I was just looking at my fellow gawkers and asking myself the same thing.