Simon's Town has some nice beaches and extreme sports, and a decent number of travelers making their way through South Africa stop by Simon's Town to check them out. The most popular attraction in Simon's Town is the Boulders Beach. Take some time to explore this Simon's Town travel guide to find out more about what to see and do, as it could be worth a visit.
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Things about Simon’s Town
By Michael Jackson The town officially called Simon’s Town, but often referred to as Simonstown, was originally named Simon’s Vlek after Simon van der Stel, the Dutch governor of the Cape Colony between 1677 and 1699, who surveyed the bay east of Cape Town in 1687 and earmarked it as a safe winter harbour during the months of May to September for which it was finally proclaimed in 1741.
Progress may have come slowly to Simon’s Town, but it has certainly left its mark. The town grew rapidly when it became a Royal Naval Base and the home of the South Atlantic Squadron under the second British occupation of the Cape in 1806, thanks largely to the construction of a huge man-made sandstone breakwater. One of the tasks of this squadron was the care of a certain Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile at St. Helena Island some 1200 miles away in the South Atlantic Ocean. Admiral Lord Nelson himself is also said to have come ashore from his ship to be nursed through an illness in the late 1770s, on the first of his two visits, long before the British occupation. Over 300 ships were repaired at Simon’s Town during the Second World War, and the completion of the modern Simon's Town harbour and the Selborne dry-dock took place by 1910. When in 1957 the Naval Base was finally handed over to the South African Government, at least 125 Allied ships had been sunk by the Germans, Japanese and Italians, in relatively close proximity to Simon’s Town. Situated on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula on the shores of False Bay, Simon’s Town remains an important naval base to this day, and the town which rises steeply above the harbour up the mountainsides is rich in both architectural and natural beauty, as well as Cape history and strange legends and tales. A famous resident of the town was Able Seaman Just Nuisance, RN, the only dog ever to be enlisted in the Royal Navy, to whom a statue has been erected in Jubilee Square. The sailors' had a favourite Great Dane who was a resident in the town, and request was sent to the British parliament asking for him to be enlisted in the Navy. Permission was granted and the dog was brought to the Recruiting Officer, who inquired: “Name?” “Nuisance, Sir”, the sailor replied. “First name?” “Just Nuisance, Sir,” the sailor stated, giving birth to a great legend.

Peopled with many descendants of the world’s sailing and exploring nations, as well as many slave families from the 17th century, and many of South Africa’s indigenous people’s who were drawn to the area from across Southern Africa, Simon’s Town has a rich and multicultural heritage, although it does somewhat resemble an old and quaint Victorian seaside town today. Admiralty House on St. George’s, originally a private dwelling, dates from 1814 as does the Wesleyan Chapel which was built in 1828 and represents the oldest of its type of church in South Africa. Both are said to be haunted by several different ghosts! An interesting 17th century Muslim Kramat (or grave) was discovered among the trees on a terrace above Runciman's Drive in the 1800s. Whoever is interred in the Kramat may be unknown, but its location appears to have a strange spiritual aura. Muslims still hold the site as 'Moestajap', a word used to express inexplicable spiritual happenings. Another interesting building is the Dutch East India Company Hospital with three front-facing gables. Constructed on the mountainside above the Residency in 1764, it was here that author and playwright Edgar Wallace served as a medical orderly in the late 1890s. Robert Brown, generally regarded as one of finest figures in the history of British botany, called at Simon’s Town during 1801, where, for the first time, he saw members of South Africa’s national flower, the Proteaceae, growing in their natural habitats. On returning to London in 1805, Brown began assembling a major monograph on the species, which formed the basis of his work: 'On the Proteaceae of Jussieu'. This great work embodies not only a revised classification of the whole family Proteaceae but also a monograph of the genus Protea itself, in which thirty-nine species were recognized. The town has several museums which are worth visiting. Simon's Town Museum highlights events in the development of Simon's Town through the centuries. The South African Naval Museum in the Mast House (1815) alongside the Simon's Town Museum, displays models of ships and related maritime events. The Heritage Museum in Amlay House on King George Street, also worth a visit, features many aspects of the Muslim community, and the nearby Mosque is absolutely beautiful. Boulders Beach, a few kilometres to the south of Simon's Town is reputed to be amongst the very best beaches in the Cape, and is internationally renowned for being home to one of only three South African colonies of the African (Jackass) Penguins. The False Bay Yacht Club is conveniently situated adjacent to the Simon's Town Waterfront Centre in the town. Boat charters and sea kayaking are some of the many activities offered from the centre, and professionally managed and run deepsea fishing and whalewatching charters are available. The area deservedly draws many tourists, and if you are travelling to Cape Town it should be a ‘must-see’ on your itinerary. Good restaurants, pubs and places to stay abound. Tourism enquiries may be directed to the Simon’s Town Tourism Office on St. George’s Street, telephone (+27 21) 786 5798 or on via email:

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Simon's Town is still home to South Africa's navy, and has regained much of its historic splendour and character.

Living close by in Fish Hoek for a few years, we would often drive here on the weekends and go for lovely walks. There is loads to eat here (all types of restaurants), art galleries, crafty things, clothing etc. The shops are aimed more toward the tourist and local person... and there are NO chain stores!

For many years this was a British Royal Naval Base. It is still home to South Africa's navy, and has regained much of its historic splendour and character.

My husband and I enjoy the Navy Days, when the navy do displays (airplanes do too, like the Buccaneer!), and allow us mere mortals onto their pride and joy... their ships!

Have you ever felt claustrophobic? We have!!! In the teeny tiny submarines.

To think that big men, much taller and possibly wider than me have to live in one of these for months on end, rotating their bed too, is beyond me.

Between the naval town of Simon's Town, and on the way to Cape Point Nature Reserve, you will find Boulder's Beach.

A conservation area, it is primarily used for the preservation of it's unique and world-renowned penguin colony.

The jackass penguin (Spheniscus demersus) can be seen here at close range, in its natural habitat.

These penguins enjoy the heat and the sand, not the ice cold. They are comical to watch and a pleasure to visit :)

We usually take a picnic and clamber onto one of the big rocks overlooking the beach where they are (Boulders Beach), and don't pay for this, although when we were there in February this year we took our bathing costumes and swam and viewed the penguins in the birthing area... saw loads of baby penguins :)

You can pay a fee and get up and close and personal with them, or climb onto the high rock near the car park and still get a pretty good view.

A must-see for the kids and adults alike!
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In Simon's Town....The Meeting Place is a wonderful homey restaurant and has a fire in winter with tasty South African fare.  Simon's Town has a sushi restaurant...and there is scrumptious pizza's available...freshly baked bread .... the most delicate cakes made by someone nationally recognised for the art...penguins at Boulders and whales in August...and seafood....just visit and see for yourself
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