Welcome to Cape Town! Without a doubt, the best way to explore the richness of South Africa’s mother city is to rent a car in Cape Town and thus independently exploring the surrounding areas.

Cape Town makes for the perfect getaway if you need some quality time with loved ones while refreshing your soul with breathtaking views, soaking up the sun while tasting good foods and wines, then this is the place for you.

When planning your upcoming holiday to South Africa, you should consider to include a few days in Cape Town alternatively, if you travel locally with family or friends on a micro-trip to a nearby Winelands or coastal town.
Places to go and things to see
Friendly locals, beach, mountains, sun, great wine, rich history and exquisite foods are all top reasons why Cape Town attracts thousands of tourists annually. With 2020 in the past, everyone wants to get out, and travel and 2021 is that year.

Below we mention some of the top destinations.

Table Mountain and Groot Constantia
Table Mountain is the most iconic landmark in South Africa. It is also the country’s most photographed attraction, and its famous cable car takes many travellers to the top.

You can also take a hike up the mountain, for those who are adventurous at heart.

Table Mountain has become the single most welcoming icon to its locals and travellers from all over the world.

From Table Mountain, you can drive towards Constantia. The Constantia Wine Route links the many wineries dotting the Constantia Valley. There are some wineries in this neighbourhood which are worth a visit. Groot Constantia is the oldest and one of the most beautiful wineries nearby, producing award-winning wine to please every palate.

Constantia Gardens brags with a showcase of private gardens in the Cape Town suburb of Constantia and its close environment and is worth a visit. Be sure to take a picnic with your favourite snacks.

Simonstown and Boulders Beach
Located 40 km from Cape Town CBD, this short distance drive makes for a beautiful day trip and offers activities for a family of any size.

Day trips can quickly be booked with a professional guide and driver who will collect you from your accommodation and return you safely after your visit.

Simonstown is a must, and you should stop at Boulders Beach where you can view the African Penguin – making for a great day trip with the family.

Another great stop if you stay for a weekend is to explore the towns naval museums and harbours.

Stellenbosh takes centre stage to the Winelands backdrop, following a scenic drive through the mountains to Franschhoek. Only 40 minutes drive from Cape Town and famous for its collection of historic towns, small settlements and Cape Dutch farms making distinguished South African Wines.

Highlights and local favourites include guided cycle tours, unique E-Bike trips curving through South Africa’s best wine estates, tasting wines by various tours that can consist of Vine Hoppers, Trams, guided hikes or by 4×4. You can be sure that foodies, adventurers and wine connoisseurs alike will enjoy all Stellenbosh and Franschhoek has to offer.

West Coast
Up the West Coast. With many towns on the Atlantic coast such as Paternoster, Veldrift, Langebaan to Saldanha and Cederberg Regions. These small towns and fishing villages offer great micro trips. They are also secluded and making for an incredible self-drive.

The best is that these small towns are safe and uniquely situated to take day trips by staying in one location.
Hermanus is world-renowned as one of the best whale-watching destinations. This seaside town is located 125 km southeast of Cape Town. It’s known as a whale-watching destination with great beaches such as Grotto Beach, overlooking Walker Bay and Voelklip.

With excellent self-catering accommodations, boutique guesthouses and hotels offering friendly service and again suiting the romantic couple or the family with children. Thousands of local and international travellers visit the town annually during the Whale festival taking place in September. Worth the wait and worth the visit.
Covid-19 Health and Safety.
All cautiously, we realise that keeping your loved ones safe takes top priority.

This is very important, particularly with the pandemic. This will also add to peace of mind when getting on your plane coming to Cape Town.

Many safety protocols have been implemented with a high concentration on airport and travel. Keep in mind that wearing your mask in public places is compulsory and regularly washing your hands. Social distancing is key to protecting yourself and other travellers alike from curbing the spread of Covid19.

Most international airlines request travellers to produce a PCR certificate. A COVID-19 PCR certificate indicates that a test was done to confirm that you are COVID – negative. This must be conducted 72 hours before departure.

The same might be required when arriving at a transit airport or back in your own country. Luckily most travel partners can arrange in-lodge Covid tests; alternatively, they will transfer you to an authorised testing facility.
Getting around
Proudly safe and an ideal road trip destination – It will be safer as you will be limiting interactions with other travellers.

Whether travelling by car, motorhome or other means of transport, allowing for more flexibility, especially with stringent restrictions.

Being able to combine a holiday with beach, Winelands and a variety of accommodation types that suite your budget and needs is pretty great. Even better is when you know you and your loved ones will be safe when coming for your next visit to Cape Town.

Wide-open spaces, nature, affordability, variety of things to do and places to see! Cape Town looks forward to having you!

You can rest assured that travelling to Cape Town in 2021 is worth the getaway. Book your accommodation by contacting your local trusted agent for great deals and professional advice.

When is the best time of year to see the Penguins in Simon’s Town?
I have a huge soft spot for these very dapper and elegant looking aquatic birds. Think in lines of the movies Happy Feet, Madagascar, Good Luck Chuck, and Mr Popper’s Penguins, bringing out their impressive and quirky qualities.

Here in Cape Town, we are lucky enough to have a whole penguin colony on our doorstep who braved lockdown level 1 and roamed the empty streets of Simon’s Town looking for adventure.

Best time of the year to visit
The great thing about Boulders Beach is that you can see the penguins throughout the year. Saying this, the best time to visit would be during their mating season (December to February) where you can see the birds and their natural behaviour.

Early mornings and late afternoons when they shuffle off to the beach or return from feeding are the best for photos.

Do remember to respect them in their natural environment and don’t touch or feed the penguins.
Day trip to Boulders Beach
This pristine family-friendly beach is top-rated for day trips and leisurely picnics.

Spread your blanket and have a relaxing day next to the ocean while the kids explore the rock pools and boulders. False Bay’s clear waters are also perfect for a quick dip in the sea to cool off on a hot summer’s day. The water is cold, but you’ll welcome the icy waters if you’re visiting between December and March!
Places to stay
If you’re from out of town, rent a car and spend a night or two in the historical Simons Town.

Mariner Guesthouse is situated in a quiet street about 1km from Boulders Beach and offers spectacular views of Simon’s Town from every room. With its tranquil setting, luxury rooms, and friendly hospitality, you’ll feel right at home from the moment you arrive.

Fun Penguin Facts
Their natural tuxedoes are not just a fashion statement; this also helps camouflage them while swimming and keeps them safe from predators.
Penguins’ eyes work better underwater than they do in the air.
Penguins don’t have teeth, but rather fleshy spines inside their mouths to help guide their food down.
Penguins are carnivores.
Once a year penguins experience a catastrophic moult where they lose all their feathers at once. They generally fatten up before this to survive the few weeks it takes for their feathers to grow back.

When visiting Boulders Beach, do yourselves a favour and hop over to the Visitor Centre where you can learn more about these darling penguins and their behaviour. Also, keep in mind that a small conservation fee is charged to enter the area, so I recommend making the most of your time there.

Simon’s Town – a name that every Capetonian knows. It is a stunning place to spend an afternoon as well as an ideal place for a weekend getaway – but what remains is the love that Capetonians have for this historic ocean-side village.

Seeped in history, Simon’s Town has always attracted tourists and locals to spend a day exploring the hidden shops, cafes, museums, restaurants and beaches. People travel from all over to learn a little more about the history and to see the penguins – of course.

The town was named after Simon van der Stel and called Simon’s Bay.

Simon’s Town was made the official winter anchorage for the Dutch East India Company’s ships in 1741, and its harbour served as a refuge for merchant ships and whalers..

The Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies who arrived in the same year chose a site for a magazine, hospital and barracks in Simon’s Town.

A small garrison was stationed here, and when a stone pier was constructed in 1768, a baker, a slaughter-house, carpenter’s shop and smithy were built as well as a residence for the Governor.

The British Royal Navy took this over in the 1790s, and the facility was further developed over the following century and a half.

As time went on – the site was developed gradually – with steam engineering and coaling facilities being added.

In 1885, the Cape Colony government transferred the assets of the Simon’s Town Dock and Patent Slip Company to the British Admiralty. By the close of the century, it became clear that more space would be needed to accommodate a modern Navy’s requirements.

A large site was acquired to the east of the original yard to be used for dockyard extensions with construction beginning in 1900. The new harbour contained a drydock as well as a sizeable steam factory constructed alongside. The drydock was named the “Selborne Graving Dock” after the Earl of Selborne, the Cape High Commissioner.

The Naval Base was handed over to the South African Navy in 1957.

Some of Simon’s Towns Landmarks

Just Nuisance

The life and story of the legendary Great Dane, Able Seaman Just Nuisance, continues to capture visitors’ hearts and imagination to Simon’s Town.

Simon’s Town Museum

The museum is housed in “The Residency” which was built in 1777 as the winter residence for the Dutch East India Company Governor at the Cape.

The museum was established in 1977 by the Simon’s Town Historical Society. The building has a long history having been used as a hospital, post office, school, customs house, police station, jail and magistrate’s court.

Simon’s Town Museum collects and exhibits the cultural history of the people of Simon’s Town and their connections to the Dutch East India Company and the Royal Navy.

SA Naval Museum

If you are interested in Ships and Submarines, their weapons, their equipment, the people who serve, and served in them – this one is for you!

The SA Naval Museum is housed in, and around, the original Dockyard Magazine/Storehouse, which from 1810 when the Royal Navy moved its headquarters from Cape Town to Simon’s Town, was extended to become the three-storey building it is today.

Warrior Toy Museum

When visiting the Warrior Toy Museum, you will see a permanent display of model cars, dolls, dinky toys and more. The model car section houses 4000 cars and with over 500 dolls and teddy bears – you will plenty to ooh and aah over.

This is a beautiful sanctuary for collectors of toy aeroplanes, trucks, lead soldiers, cars and busses. There is a sales section for both existing collectors and budding collectors.

Other exciting things to see are the two fully operational railroads, Meccano, various other toys and models, ships and even a lead soldier display.

Warrior Toy Museum have a collection that will have you reminiscing.

Delve into the heart of the Muslim community’s heritage by visiting the Heritage Museum.

A visit to the Heritage Museum will understand the rich Cape Malay cultural influence and history of the region.

The museum is housed in the Amlay house, the original home of the Amlay family, removed in 1975 after Simon’s Town was declared a whites-only area under apartheid law.

After the advent of democracy, the Amlay family returned to Simon’s Town, and a family member established the museum and curates it exhibitions today.

When visiting the museum, you can expect to learn more about the early residents of Simon’s Town and Cape Malay heritage and the Muslim culture’s intricacies.

Simon’s Town also offers an incredible in-depth walking history tour, including the Cape Malay Museum to discover how slavery shaped the Cape. The tour is geared towards helping you reflect on the past and the Cape’s present social and political context.

Why not step back in time and explore the beautiful museums and heritage sites that Simon’s Town has to offer – this can be a self-drive adventure, made easier by renting a car from a reputable car rental company.

Enjoy the Adventure.

Enjoy the beauty of Simon’s Town this summer: fresh air, sheltered beaches, hiking trails, ocean activities and much more! We look forward to welcoming you to Mariner Guesthouse & Villa.

We wish you all a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve with family, friends and loved ones. May 2021 be a year of reunion and rediscovery!