Simons Town’s Penguin Colony and Cape Point Nature Reserve in a nutshell.
Simons town is a picturesque and historical town, steeped in naval history and situated in False bay only 40 minutes from the central Cape Town CBD district. This quaint little village has a rich history, from the first four-legged able seaman to Shark Cage dives around the famous Seal Island. Simons Town is made up of a number of varying restaurants and museums, to cater to a variety of pallets and is well known for being South Africa’s largest naval base. On Jubilee square you will find the statue of a Great Dane, the most famous dog in SA naval history, Just Nuisance.
Seaforth Beach, just before the world famous Boulders Beach, in Simons town offers you the unique experience of being able to pose with the South African Jackass penguin and then, just a short walk along the penguin walkway will take you to Boulders Beach, where you are able to, from a distance, interact and watch these gorgeous little tuxedo’s gents doing what gorgeous little tuxedo gents do. If you are looking to swim in the same waters as the Jackass, then take a couple steps back towards Seaforth Beach, but some good advice; do not try to touch, feed or physically interact with them in any way. Remember, they are wild animals and have been known to bite and nip quite painfully! Since 1985 these waddling little guys in their black and white suites have made a home and settled between the granite boulders which shelter the beach from weather and sea conditions, hence the name Boulders beach. To date the population of penguins at this colony is estimated at up to 3000 birds. Simons Town has it’s very own “March of the penguins” every evening at around 18h00, when these African Penguins make their way, to their various nests and sleeping holes for the night, and their donkey like squawks can be heard far and wide.
Boulders and its many surrounding breath-taking beaches form part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected area ensuring the safety of the beach and protection of the African penguin who like so many animals have been classified as an endangered species. Boardwalks and walkways were created to provide great viewing spots and access to the beach for the many tourists who annually visit this spectacular area. These are also a means of protecting nesting penguins and chicks from human intervention.
Seal island, our dive site, a colony of between 65000-75000 Cape fur seals, has a small population of African penguins. These birds have been provided with artificial nests and this has greatly increased their breeding success over the years. It is estimated that around 80 pairs of penguins breed each year.
Cape point nature reserve is a majestic and spectacular sight with its miles and miles of indigenous fynbos, towering cliffs and roaring ocean. It is often referred to as the point where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. This is however a mistaken perception, as it is, the south-western most point of Africa, not the southern- most.
With its natural indigenous beauty, fauna, flora, framework of mountains and ocean, Cape point is one of Cape town’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a wonderful day-trip destination for locals and tourists. Whether it’s discovering the rich history of the area, enjoying a beach walk or swim in the tidal pools, or simply relishing time under the African sun, there is bound to be something for the whole family.
Animal lovers should keep a vigilant eye out for local baboons, herds of ostriches, a variety of antelope as well as Cape foxes, genets, polecats, mole rats, porcupines, mongooses, tortoises, zebra and snakes. The reserve is also home to over 270 species of birds which makes for excellent bird watching all year round.
One of the reserves places of interest is, Cape point’s first lighthouse. The structure was built in 1859 and instead of guiding ships to safety it was often the cause of many wrecks, reason being that the lighthouse is often concealed by clouds, as it is towers high above the ocean and therefore ships would see the bright lights too noticeably and approach the shore to prematurely.
The Olifantsbos trail, is another prevalent prospect. It is a short and easily accessible walk which leads down to the beach through fynbos foliage where the prominent SS Thomas T. Tucker, wrecked in 1942, lies. This former WWII troops and weapons transport vessel is Cape Point’s most photographed shipwreck and is home to many native birdlife
It is quite evident that the False bay area has much to offer and is a definite must-see when in Cape Town. So, why not opt for a package deal! Book a cage dive and Cape point tour and visit our beautiful African Penguins and sightsee the majestic Cape point.
We would love to have you join us on one of our cage dives in Simons town, but if this is not possible let’s help arrange it for you elsewhere.
Let’s try to understand the misunderstood.
Written By: Carmen Richards