Simon’s Town – South Africa


Simon’s Town, sometimes spelled Simonstown, is a town in the Western Cape, South Africa, on the shores of False Bay, between the mountains and the sea. The town is named after the early Cape Colony governor Simon van der Stel. It has been a naval base for over 200 years and has served as a refuge for merchants and whalers. It is also home to two historical museums and other historical landmarks – the original naval cemetery, the Residency, Admiralty House, and St. Francis of Assisi Church. Much to the pleasure of serious birders, Simon’s Town is located right near Boulders Beach, where a colony of endangered birds – the African Penguin – lives. The birds have only lived there since about 1985. Visitors who come to Simonstown are able to take tours to the beach to see the penguins up close and personal. It is a tourist attraction that allows swimming, and people can come as close as a meter away to this bird. These penguins only live on 24 islands on the south-western coast of Africa, between Nambia and Algoa Bay. At the start of the 19th century, there were about 4 million of these penguins. As of 2019, there are roughly only 20,850 pairs – which makes seeing them in Simon’s Town so significant. They became endangered due to oil spills and the exploitation of their eggs. Owen has photographed the African Penguins, the African Oystercatcher, Karoo Prinia, and Cape Bulbul here. He traveled to Simon’s Town in September 2015.

Birds found here