History seeps from every corner
Only really enough to take up a few hours....except the penguins!!
Go via Simons Town on your way to Boulders Beach to visit the Penguins
The Royal Mile is the name given to the main street that runs through Simon's Town and is the most common route used by tourists travelling from Cape Town to see the penguins at The Boulders. Fuelled by their enthusiasm to visit these wonderful birds, unfortunately many tourists are in too much of a rush to appreciate Simon's Town's gorgeous...more
Simon's Town - and indeed, most of the little towns along the False Bay coastline of the peninsula - is a narrow ribbon of development that clings to the eastern slope of the mountain, so as soon as you venture inland of the main road, you start to climb steeply.Your reward for this strenous exercise is the opportunity to stroll along the...more
I'm all for functional buildings, but when functionality comes in such a downright ugly form in an otherwise beautiful town, it really makes my hackles rise.This architectural carbuncle is the Naval headquarters in Simon's Town, located on the southern fringe of town on the way to Seaforth and Boulders Beach. I can't quite decide whether it's more...more
Simon's Town has such a Victorian atmosphere, redolent of Empire and firm conviction that God is an Englishman (and probably an Anglican to boot) that it comes as a surprise to see a signpost for a mosque off the Historic Mile.Most people wouldn't associate South Africa with Muslim culture, but in fact Islam is the second most popular religion in...more
There are a multitude of trips that you can do from Simon's Town harbour, from whale watching tours (in the whale season between April and November) to trips to Sea Island.This is also the point of departure for the water taxi to Kalk Bay.Other more energetic pursuits which depart from the harbour include sea kayaking.more
When I fell desperately in love with my husband well over a decade ago, little did I suspect that he would turn out to be a tweezer-wielding nerd!In case this conjurs up wholly unrealistic metrosexual images, I should add that he is a third generation philatalist, and that he has assured the next generation of stamp collecters by getting our...more
Of all the gorgeous buildings in Simon's Town, I think that the British Hotel is my absolute favourite.This glorious building dates back to 1871 and, for me, epitomises the very best of Victorian colonial architecture. The balance and proportion of the building is just exquisite, and the three level arrangement of verandah and balconies, whose...more
The Prince Alfred building is one of the few surviving pre-Victorian buildings in Simon's Town and dates back to 1802, which means that it predates the transfer of the Cape Colony from Dutch to British control in 1814.Interestingly, although the architecture is much simpler than the ornate Victorian style of most other buildings on the Royal Mile,...more
By far the best view of Simon's Town is from the Red Hill Road, which is a left turn from the coastal road heading north, located about 1km out of town.In order to accommodate the steep gradient, this section of the road incorporates a series of hairpin bends (switchbacks) and also carries quite a lot of traffic. There is a vantage point just below...more
I had always assumed that the remains of the aerial cableway that are still visible on the mountain behind Simon's Town was a precaution to ensure the safe storage of munitions for the dock yard away from the dense settlement of the narrow coastal strip.However, in researching this tip, it appears that I was entirely mistaken. The cableway (more...more
Simon's Town is the home base of the South African navy, which is often in evidence conducting its routine manoeuvres in False Bay.The photo shows three vessels (the corvettes, I think?) that we watched from the vantage point at the top of Red Hill up the mountain from Simon's Town on our last trip. These are pretty big ships, so the fact that they...more
I was taught never to play with my food, but inspired by an e-mail link sent to me by Gerald_D in response to a forum discussion, I couldn't resist!My kids and I spent a hilarious half hour constructing these little darlings from boiled eggs, slivers of raw carrot and black olives, held together by bits of toothpick. Not only fun and aesthetically...more
(work in progress)As you might expect, Simon's Town is not short of places to eat seafood, from fairly upmarket sushi restaurants to more affordable fish and chip joints.On our most recent visit (March 2012) we had a fish and chip lunch at the Salty Seadog at the Simon's Town harbour, which used to be the fish market in town. It's a pleasant spot,...more
I often think that the Boulders Beach Cafe is a strong contender for my favourite restaurant in the world. Everything is right about it - from the interesting and delicious food to the ambience to the stunning view from the elevated terrace out across False Bay. Whenever I'm there, I make a point of smugly calling my parents in the (usually grey...more
the menuDEEP-FRIED CALAMARI R55 Calamari rings dusted with Raja curry powder, then deep fried. Served with garlic mayonnaise, rocket and tomato salsa.MILD TOM YUM BROTH R50 With prawns, lemongrass and fresh herbs.CHERMOULA PRAWNS R180, Grilled in olive oil, garlic, chilli and smoked paprika Served on Moroccan aromatic cous-cous timbale and...more
Seafood Tempura R48 (a goujon of line fish & 2 prawns in a tempura batter, served with a citrus mayonnaise)Cape Malay Chicken Curry R70 (Cape Malay curry served with lemon scented basmati rice, poppadoms and sambals)Kingklip on the Spit R160 (A Marlin specialty - Wrapped in bacon and grilled on a skewer with a choice of lemon butter, chilli or...more
(work in progress)South Africa is notorious for its lack of public transport, so it is a rare pleasure to be able to report on a functional public transport link that's also of use to the tourist (particularly those on a limited budget).The Metro rail network links the Cape Town CBD to a string of small stations along the False Bay coastline, of...more
The Mellow Yellow water taxi must simply be the coolest way to get between Kalk Bay and Simon's Town (or vice versa) and you've just got to love a service provider who warns you of possible slight delays due to whales!In pursuit of my personal mantra to never travel the same way twice if at all possible, I would suggest that you get the water taxi...more
Wooden animals, gemstone eggs, beadwork - the usual curios that you find elsewhere on the peninsula. But it is such fun to meander past the tables, pop into some of the coffee shops, and view the ocean at the same time. Small wooden animals for our Xmas tree cost us under R10; gemstone eggs with a kitsch CT carving cost us R20. The perfect place...more
(work in progress)Well, actually it's all three ...One of the charms or challenges of travelling in South Africa (depending on your perspective) is that we are a country that has more than one official language. In fact, since the transition to democracy in 1994, we actually have 11 - which is a bit too inclusive to be practical in my opinion - and...more
(work in progress)Finding parking is always a challenge along the False Bay coastline - particularly in peak season - as the towns have developed as ribbons along the narrow coastal strip of flat land between the mountains and the sea. There is limited street parking along the main road in Simon's Town, but this fills up quickly, so you need to get...more
(work in progress)The Boulders may be a designated nature reserve, but that only restricts people entering penguin nresting areas, and doesn't prevent the little darlings going walkabout! Penguins have taken up residence most places in Seaforth (the suburb of Simon's Town that abuts Boulders Beach) and although they lie low during the day when...more
Luggage and bags:
Luggage with wheels is always a good idea, wherever you are travelling.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Some ideas:
Light coloured clothing that doesnt absorb the sun as much as dark clothing.
Long-sleeved shirts and trousers will help protect you against the sun and possible insect bites.
A cap/hat that covers your head and neck.
Comfortable sandals and tackies/trainers/sneakers.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sun screen (at LEAST Factor 35 I would say), headache tablets, and usual little things like some plasters for blisters, cotton wool, germolene etc.
Photo Equipment: Your camera, with charger, and an appropriate plug extension/adaptor.
Miscellaneous: Have a map of the area handy, plus a local bird, flower and tree book. For this you also need a pair of good quality binoculars
There are plenty of Chacma baboons to be seen on the road to Cape Point, but it is not often that you would see them foraging and behaving naturally. It is far more likely you will see them when they try to steal your food, chew your windscreen wiper to get you to squirt them to get water, or raid the bins.
Baboons Matters take you on walks to some natural baboon troops, where they explain the pressure that these wild animals face as a result of urbanization. Using the money they raise, they monitor the troops and try to keep them out of the villages where they cause damage, raid houses, and are as a result exposed to damage themselves (shot, hit, etc.)
Many of the buildings here are national monuments, beautifully preserved.
I always take time to walk along the street, visiting the second hand furniture shops and the art galleries, sitting down for some coffee at the local coffee shop or having some fish and chips at the harbour.
This photo os lattice work on a balcony is absolutely stunning, and there is plenty of this to be found in historic Simon's Town :)