Thursday, November 01, 2007

Penguins in Simon's Town

Today I’m off to Simon’s Town by train. It’s just round before Cape Point, about half an hour’s drive, or an hour by sedentary metro.

Overcast morning heading round on the train

Doesn’t stop the beach parties though!

Simon’s Town first developed because it’s a natural sheltered bay, safer for ships than the Atlantic side which frequently gets battered by immense winds. The Dutch used it, the British used it and now the SA Navy is stationed here – the naval base takes up about half the town.

The train crossing the beach near Fishhoek


Naval base

The rest is a pretty Victorian seaside resort, and is a different pace of life to Cape Town, whilst still being easily accessed – it’s at the end of one of the metro train lines from Cape Town, which is how I arrive.

Nelson’s Pub

I’m staying at Simons Town Backpackers, a friendly place which is currently undergoing renovations – the wooden floor of my room was varnished two weeks ago but it smells like yesterday!


Lunchtime is catered for down in the harbour. I skip the Salty Dog!

And instead take a table in Bertha’s

The restaurant

The view

where I have the fish of the day, yellowhead with some king prawns on top. It’s great, but the fish is quite fleshy and dry, so I have to ask for some more sauce.

The food

After lunch I wander out of town towards Boulder’s Bay, about 3km out of town.

Pretty roadside flowers

Strange clouds enveloping Table Mountain

The wind is really blowing strongly, and consistently, this is dream windsurfing weather (Alex!). It’s actually hard to walk into at times.

She’s blowing some

Pretty houses

Appropriately I am reading Moby Dick

There are many whales off the coast here too. Haven’t seen any yet.


Popular penguin tourist spot

This bay is the home of about 3,000 African penguins.

Penguins go left

One can pay to visit the beach where most of them stay, or visit the coves either side where there are plenty about for free, which is what I do.

Hiding from the wind

These guys have a much easier life than the March of Penguins lot.


Sleeping together

Going for a stroll

Fluffing up

As summer’s coming, they’re all losing their coats, so there are feathers everywhere and some of the penguins are in a half way moulted stage which makes them look even more amusing.


One of them goes on a little wander, gets to a little crevice, pauses, looks, thinks a bit, then leaps across the gap and steadies himself. Brilliant!

I follow the wooden walkway round the bay.

It’s possible to see many penguins in the bushes trying to get some peace and quiet, nesting or just sitting about.

My mind turns to the wind – I’m planning to cycle to the Cape tomorrow, 20-25km ride each way, which is not going to be fun into a gale. Still, you never know, we’ll have to see what happens, it seems somewhat unpredictable.

Back in town, I pop into Harbour View which claims to have the best iced coffee. It’s pretty good, but may be something to do with the copious quantities of ice cream involved!

Dutch Kim serves me

There’s a short scenic walk which heads up the hill behind town, giving a nice view over the naval base, marina and the bay leading back to Cape Town.

The bay


In the evening I head out and end up at Café Pescado, for more fish. They also have free wifi, which is always a bonus. After dinner a nice pint at the 2’6 pub, for the road you understand. Not much character for a place with an interesting name, so I don’t stay.


At my hostel I enjoy some Villiera Merlot that I purchased from the liquor store.
The guys in the hostel give me advice regarding the Nelson’s Pub just nearby – apparently there is a white side and a black side, and you shouldn’t get these mixed up – going on the black side if you’re unknown could start a fight! If you’re friendly with them, you may be “invited” over! Well thanks for the tip! I think I’ll stick to the 2d and 6’ pub, only one side in there (unfortunately it seems to be a “white” side).

P.S. There were bonus points for this blog entry for spotting how many permutations of the town name were used!

1 comment:

Marc Azada said...

Looks like Simon’s Town is a nice town to visit. I like watching penguins,it doesn't matter where i see them as long as they are real penguins. My wife loves them.