Walk among one of the largest gatherings of King Penguins in the world
Salisbury Plain (known as Llanura de Salisbury in Spanish) is a large coastal flat plain leading to the Bay of Isles, off the northern coast of South Georgia.
Although this area of the coast of South Georgia was discovered by Captain James Cook in the 1770s, there were no detailed maps made of the region until a British Admiralty survey of the 1930s. A chart produced in 1931 is the first time this area was named, and it’s likely to be named after the “original” Salisbury Plain, a grassy, chalk plateau in southern England used for military training and home to Stonehenge.
The Salisbury Plain in South Georgia was formed by the glacial runoff from the nearby Grace Glacier. This glacier was named by American ornithologist Robert Cushman Murphy for his wife during his expedition of 1912.
Salisbury Plain is world-famous for its remarkable king penguin breeding colony. In 1912, Cushman estimated there were 350 pairs here. Now one of the world’s largest gathering of king penguins, official estimates are as high as 100,000 breeding pairs nesting here in peak season. Seeing the Plain filled with these regal birds is one of the highlights of any trip to South Georgia and to the sub-Antarctic.
Not to be outdone by the king penguins, southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals also use Salisbury Plain to raise their young and can also be seen in good numbers.
Interesting facts about Salisbury Plain
Always earmarked by visitors as one the highlights of their cruise, the sight, sound, and smell of so many penguins is hard to take in! Standing up to 40 inches tall and weighing up to 30lbs, these beautiful regal creatures call out to each other and to their fluffy chicks. You can often see skuas around the colony, as these opportunistic birds will take unattended penguin eggs and even snatch smaller chicks if they get a chance.
Highlights Close to Salisbury Plain
South Georgia and Scotia Sea
Snow Hill Hut
Animals in Salisbury Plain
Our trips to Salisbury Plain