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.

Keep an eye out for the stars tonight!
This year, bright planets Jupiter and Saturn will align perfectly on Dec. 21 to create what is commonly called the Christmas Star or the “Star of Bethlehem.” According to NASA, Jupiter and Saturn align with one another every 20 years or so, but not nearly as close together as they will be in 2020.
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Cape Town is surrounded by the ocean, mountains and dreamy beaches and is one of those rare cities that has it all – a city that will run you ragged from touchdown to take-off and you will quickly feel hard pushed to cram it all in.

 

If you are planning on visiting Cape Town – you will most definitely need more than 5-days to experience what this awe-inspiring city has to offer.

 

There are various ways of exploring the city, but my advice would be opting for either 1) Guided Tours which are conducted under the expert guidance of local companies or 2) Hiring a car from a reputable car rental agency and spend your days discovering what this great city has to offer. – at your own pace.

 

I have listed below unmissable things to see and do whilst in Cape Town – making you fall completely in love with this cosmopolitan peninsula at the tip of Africa.

 

Exploring Table Mountain

Rising 1,087m south of city centre, Table Mountain is the most photographed landmark in South Africa and a constant reminder that nature is queen.

 

A layer of clouds, called the “tablecloth” frequently cloaks the mountain’s peak, but when the clouds clear, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of Cape Town and the entire Cape Peninsula from the summit.

 

You can reach the summit by a revolving cableway which climbs to the summit.  The cableway runs daily – except in high winds – so it is a good idea to check the website or call for current conditions before heading out.

 

To avoid long lines, try booking your tickets online.

 

For those who are a bit more energetic can reach the summit on foot and can choose from several routes available – varying in difficulty.  Depending on the starting point, the climb can take between two to four hours.

 

For superb views of Table Mountain and the best vantage point to photograph this iconic landmark – hike or drive up Signal Hill or Lion’s Head – both offering spectacular views from their summits.

Kirstenbosch National Botanicall Gardens

Kirstenbosch Gardens is one of the most famous places to visit in Cape Town and, quite rightly so – this garden is one of the most beautiful in Africa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004.

 

Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch – against the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

 

The gardens are huge and a wonderful setting for a picnic on a sunny day.  It is a venue for outdoor concerts, art exhibitions and more.

 

Free guided tours of the garden leave from the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1) at 10h00, 11h00 and 14h00 Monday to Friday and at 10h00 on Saturdays.  Free guided tours also depart from the Garden entre (Gate 2) at 10h45 Monday to Saturday – with no tours on Sundays.

 

Tours are free, but Garden entry fee applies. All tours are approximately 90 minutes long.

 

The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. The walkway takes guests from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, giving spectacular panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and garden.

 

Explore Cape Point Peninsula

Leave the city centre, and you will see that much of the beauty of Cape Town is located along its peninsula – this should be one of your must-do trips in Cape Town.

 

The Cape Peninsula is an essential part for anyone visiting Cape Town. As much a part of the city as Table Mountain is, Cape Town’s coastal regions boast some of the city’s most sought-after addresses and some of the best sunsets. 

 

So what is The Cape Peninsula? It is a spectacular region that stretches from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope, hemmed in by the Atlantic Ocean and False Bay, where you will experience magnificent scenery, quaint towns and beautiful beaches.

 

Include a stop at the famous Boulders Beach.  Boulders Beach shelters a breeding colony of more than 2 000 endangered African Penguins. Visitors can enjoy close-up encounters with these charismatic creatures, all in a stunning setting with giant granite boulders, rock pools, calm bays and uncrowded patches of gleaming sand.

 

Walk around Bo-Kaap

Put on your walking shoes and take a stroll through Bo-Kaap. This neighbourhood is located at the foot of Signal Hill land is famous for the bright coloured houses and cobblestone streets – here visitors are welcomed in the Cape Malay (commonly referred to as Bo-Kaap) neighbourhood.

The area is scattered with cafes and restaurants, which serve a variety of Malay food – an exciting fusion of local and Malaysia flavours. 

 

Wine, Wine and more Wine

If you have been rushing around touring Cape Town and need time to “chillax” – head on over to the Winelands for a day or two or three of wine-tasting. Explore local vineyards and enjoy awe-inspiring food – this is most definitely one of Cape Town’s most beloved activity for visitors and locals alike.

 

Wine estates are a dime a dozen, and it can be challenging to know where to start – I have listed below some of the more-popular wine routes.

 

  • The Constantia Wine Route
  • The Stellenbosch Wine Route
  • The Helderberg Wine Route
  • The Durbanville Wine Route
  • The Franschoek Wine Route

 

V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is one of Africa’s most visited destinations. It is situated in the oldest working harbour in South Africa, with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop.

 

You will find more than 80 eateries bringing a fusion of both international and local cuisine, from rustic al fresco to fine dining. YUM!

 

With over 500 retail stores – a diverse offering of local and international brands that guarantees something for everyone shopping in Cape Town – irrespective of taste or budget.

 

Enjoy live entertainment 365 days a year showcasing the best local music. You will also find a wide variety of attractions and activities like sunset cruises, helicopter flights, Two Oceans Aquarium and so so much more.

 

For the kids – there is plenty on offer – from play areas and themed boat rides to fun-filled holiday programmes, this is one place kids will always have fun and adventure.

 

Where to Stay

If you are looking for a unique experience – Mariner Guesthouse in Simon’s Town is the ideal base from which to explore the city of Cape Town.

 

Mariner Guesthouse is located on the mountainside in historical Simon’s Town and is an award-winning 4-star guesthouse offering breathtaking views across False Bay and ideally located near restaurants and beaches.

 

The spacious and well-appointed en-suite bedrooms offer world-class accommodation for Bed and Breakfast or self-catering.

 

The beauty of Cape Town is unparalleled along with vibrant, talented, inhabitants and every tasty food imaginable.

 

Cape Town is for everyone under the sun – from the lazy to hardcore adrenaline junkies.  You can find your fix of hiking, abseiling, coffee shop lazing, party rocking, sunset picnicking, surfing, boat cruising and gallery browsing all within a few minutes of each other.

 

Welcome to Cape Town – Enjoy the Party!

 

Visit Simons Town this Sunday, 6 December for Switching on of the Christmas Lights! Enjoy a live performance by the

SA Navy Band – Simons Town

while we welcome our local heroes during a Street Parade. Get something to eat at the Christmas Market in the Town Hall and stay for the Switching on of the Christmas Lights on Jubilee Square, generously sponsored by local resident, Eric Laing (thank you).

You are invited. It is going to be spectacular!!!

Beach, mountains, sun, great wine and good food are all top reasons why Cape Town makes for a great holiday destination. 

 

But considering the past year and the pandemic impacting our daily lives, there are few things to keep in mind. Everyone wants information or advice on safe travels. 

 

When planning your upcoming African Safari which could include spending a few days in Cape Town, or if you travel locally with family or friends on a micro-trip – there are a few things to consider when travelling post corona.

Safety Precautions

All cautiously, we realise that keeping your loved ones safe takes priority. 

 

Already well-thought safety precautions and travel protocols have been implemented at accommodation establishments and all public spaces from the airport to transport facilities. Ensure you pick accommodations that keep to these regulations.

 

Keep in mind that wearing your mask in public places is compulsory and try to wash your hands regularly. Social distancing is key to protecting yourself and other travellers alike from curbing the spread of Covid19.

 

If you are arriving by air be ready to for screening procedures and be sure to have your PCR COVID test certificate if travelling internationally—no older than 72 hours. 

Where to go

Cape Town has many top attractions, and you have to visit Table Mountain, officially one of the wonders of the world, the scene is worth a trip up in the cable car, alternatively, if you prefer a hike up the Mountain, this makes for a safe activity with family or friends.  

 

Southern suburbs have so much to offer. Closely situated to the airport and city centre, the south provides many unique small towns with uniquely European style accommodations – offering views and activities. 

 

With quaint little towns like  Simonstown, a visit to Boulders Beach where you can view the African Penguin makes 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. 

 

If you love wine and are looking for privacy, exclusivity then we highly suggest a visit to the Winelands. Visiting famous wineries in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Wellington and other Boland wineries town makes for one of the best Cape Town experiences. 

 

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 yet is that these small towns are safe and uniquely situated to take day trips by staying in one location.

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.

 

For those who enjoy the leisure and pre-arranged tailor-made packages – scheduled domestic flights and fly-in safaris are popular. Day tours, including private transfers, are also safe, easy and reliable. 

 

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 are going to 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 post corona is worth the getaway. Book your accommodation by contacting your local trusted agent for great deals and professional advice.  

 

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